Economic development planners in New York, NY seem to have stumbled onto just the right solution to kick-start the Big Apple economy – a huge public-private project that creates massive infrastructure and jobs and makes NYC more competitive globally.
NYC is converting a hospital slated for closure on Roosevelt Island into a state-of-the-art engineering and applied sciences campus. Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) are supporting the project to the tune of $100 million.
NY State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s newly constituted economic development council has also listed this as a ‘priority project’ that will be given extensive state support and expedited approvals. The Roosevelt Island site will be made available to the winner of a competitive process that involves Stanford, Cornell and 25 other reputed colleges and universities.
The campus, along with other sites across NYC, will collectively be known as Applied Sciences NYC, and will open in phases starting in 2015. Its economic impact is slated to be huge:-
- $1 billion in private capital investment on the site,
- $6 billion in economic activity spread across the five boroughs,
- 400 new companies created as a spinoff from the school,
- $1.2 billion in direct and indirect taxes for the City, and
- 7,700 construction jobs and 22,000 permanent jobs for New Yorkers.
All this growth is not just an offshoot of a plan to improve education. The RFP specifically asked for proposals that would focus on fields in the applied sciences that can be commercialized and would create jobs.
The research to be done, says the RFP, should “lead to the formation and expansion of companies in and attraction of companies to New York City in industries that demonstrate the most potential for growth.”
Mayor Bloomberg and the NYCEDC have attracted praise for this plan from the likes of Google which recently spent $1.9 billion to buy the building housing its NYC operations and 2,000 employees, and from President Clinton who until recently had his office in Harlem.
“Engineering and the Applied Science are our past, our present, and increasingly our future,” said Google vice president of engineering Alfred Spector. “Google is in New York City because of the draw of the city and the talent, and we support the City’s initiative to make New York an even more vibrant center of engineering and the applied sciences.”
Speaking at an event to promote his new book Back to Work, President Clinton said that it was “a heck of an idea, it’s the way the world should work, I think it’s wonderful.” He said he hoped that a New York based educational institution would win the bid.
The winner will be announced next month, but regardless of whether NYU, Cornell, Stanford, Columbia or Carnegie Mellon ends up with the winning proposal for Applied Sciences NYC, a couple of winners have already been declared – NYCEDC and the NYC economy.