CornellNYC Tech Update: NYC’s Biggest Tech Development Begins

Encore: June 27, 2012

The Cornell-Technion campus on Roosevelt Island won’t be operational until 2017, but Cornell is moving full steam ahead with plans, with students arriving in New York in the fall.

The highly anticipated CornellNYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island doesn’t open until 2017, and the city’s lengthy Land Use Review (ULURP) process has yet to begin. But those are details. Cornell is moving full steam ahead with its plans to develop an applied sciences campus intended to support the future of technology in New York.

Last month, Cornell President David Skorton announced the school won’t wait for the facilities to be ready to start working with its graduate students. Through a partnership with Google, a small number of students and faculty will hold classes at the Internet giant’s New York headquarters, beginning this fall.

Google has handed over 22,000 square feet of its Chelsea building rent-free to CornellNYC Tech, which will grow to 58,000 square feet over the next five years. The graduate students who will attend are already studying computing and information technology at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. The application process for new students has yet to be formalized.

In addition to attending school at Google, these students will have a chance to work on their entrepreneurial skills with Twitter’s former chief technology officer. Greg Pass was recently tapped to serve as CornellNYC Tech’s founding entrepreneurial officer.  His other credentials include co-founding a search start-up called Summize, and a degree in computer science from Cornell. His job will be to develop a collaborative relationship between the school and leading tech companies in the city.

Cornell also recently named Thom Mayne of the firm Morphosis as the architect who will design the first academic building for the Roosevelt Island campus.  The 150,000 square-foot building that will house the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute will be a “net-zero” structure, meaning that it generates as much energy as it uses. The building will most likely incorporate geothermal and solar power. Mayne and his firm Morphosis have designed other notable academic buildings, including Cooper Union’s 41 Cooper Square in Manhattan’s East Village. The first drafts for the CornellNYC Tech design won’t be available until November 2012.

In the meantime, Roosevelt Island residents are joining forces. They’ve created a group called Silicon City to work with Cornell to make sure that infrastructure and transportation needs are met before hundreds of students descend on the island.

Roosevelt Island, two miles long and narrow, will soon be home to students focusing on technology. AP /Mark Lennihan

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named the company Greg Pass co-founded as Summarize; the name of the company was Summize.

For more technology news, watch “MetroFocus: The Tech Economy,” airing on THIRTEEN on June 30 at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and July 12 at 8:30 p.m.; on WLIW at 5:30 a.m. on June 30; on NJTV on July 1 at 5:30 a.m. and July 2 at 4:30 a.m.

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