With Big Apple-sized ambition, Stanford submitted today its proposal to build a $2.5 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot tech campus called StanfordNYC, responding to Mayor Bloomberg’s request for proposals to turn New York City into the world’s next great high-tech hub. Stanford is proposing a “world-class applied science and engineering campus” on Roosevelt Island, with an emphasis on turning research in engineering, technology, and entrepreneurship into viable businesses. The campus would be at the graduate level only.
So how would all of this come to pass? Here’s how Stanford breaks it down in its 600-page proposal:
- An initial $200 million committed by the university, including a combination of startup costs and an initial endowment to support research on the campus.
- A $1.5 billion, 10-year fundraising campaign to finance the new campus and build the endowment, provided that Stanford is selected by New York City.
- A ten-acre campus, to be opened in 2016.
- 200 faculty members and more than 2,000 students.
- An accelerated campus launch in 2013, in partnership with City College of New York, where Stanford would locate its academic program while the new campus is built.
- Up to $100 million forked over by New York, as well as access to city-owned land.
If all of this did happen according to plan, Stanford expects some wild results, including the creation of 7,000 construction jobs for New York and over a 100,000 new jobs created within the first 20 to 30 years of the campus. Stanford’s chief competitor is Cornell, which has also submitted a proposal for a Roosevelt Island campus. The deadline for submissions is October 28, and while Stanford expects to hear an answer from the city by the end of the year, the mayor’s office has stated that a decision will likely come in 2012.
This proposal is unquestionably bold, and the job numbers are preliminary at best. But is it quixotic? Stanford’s administration certainly does not think so, and it is ramping up the heat against Cornell to compete for the city’s attention. Cornell cited its already-strong connection to New York through its medical campus as one its big cards, whereas President Hennessy, a native New Yorker, told the New York Times, “We know how to get young people involved in start-ups. Cornell’s disadvantage is all its start-ups put together are smaller than Google.”
Stanford is already a global research institution, and as a student studying abroad in Madrid, I can confirm that its brand has already reached some very far corners of the world. How much more of a presence do we need? StanfordNYC is an intriguing concept, but I would like to see and hear more from Stanford’s administration about why it would be the best use of a major chunk of Stanford’s resources in the upcoming decades. The proposed campus may be far, but the money and manpower will hit pretty close to home.