By Linda O’Flanagan
The city took another small step in its efforts to turn New York into a science hub this week with a deal to turn an empty MTA storage facility in downtown Brooklyn into a Center for Urban Science and Progress.
A jubilant Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz beamed: “This world-class campus will create thousands of jobs for generations to come and give Brooklyn yet another name: College Town, USA!”
The new campus will house some 530 graduate and doctoral students and become a petri dish of new businesses, ultimately bringing billions of dollars into the local economy, according to analysts.
“Over the next five years, 370 Jay Street will be transformed into a cutting-edge center for research and science that will give another huge boost to our city’s economy,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“With the addition of this new campus, Brooklyn will be one of the most dynamic environments for entrepreneurs anywhere in the country.”
The City signed a deal with the MTA and a consortium of academic institutions and private tech companies that will help create the science center. Led by NYU and NYU-Poly, the facility will focus on research and development of the technology that will shape tomorrow’s world. The partnership includes City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well IBM and Cisco.
NYU named Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist who has served as Undersecretary of Energy for Science, as CUSP’s inaugural director.
CUSP comes on the heels of the partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technologyto build a science campus on Roosevelt Island.
As part of the agreement with the City, NYU has identified 370 Jay Street, a 460,000 s/f City-owned office building as its preferred location for CUSP. After undertaking a six-month due diligence process to confirm the costs associated with renovation work and the timing of relocation of MTA and NYPD operations, NYU will begin work on the building, which has been vacant for more than a decade.
The redevelopment is expected to be complete by 2017. CUSP will begin operations by leasing and renovating 60,000 s/f in Downtown Brooklyn for Phase 1 of its program, which will accept its first class in September of 2013.
Approximately 150,000 s/f of the 370 Jay space will be designed for classrooms, offices and laboratory space, with an additional 40,000 s/f for the creation of an incubator for businesses spun off by CUSP research. The remaining space may be for future expansion.
If, after the six-month diligence period, NYU determines that redeveloping the 370 Jay Street site is not feasible, it will establish full operations of CUSP in alternate space in Downtown Brooklyn.
The City has allocated up to $15 million in benefits to NYU. Students, faculty and alumni will also be eligible for startup funding from NYU’s Innovation Fund, which has a goal of raising $20 million through philanthropy by fiscal year 2018.
According to a new economic impact analysis conducted by the Economic Development Corporation, CUSP will generate more than $5.5 billion in overall economic activity over the next three decades.
It will create 2,200 construction jobs and 900 permanent jobs and generate nearly 200 spin-off companies.