Today at Crain’s New York Business Conference, Mayor Bloomberg announced his long-awaited Request for Proposals for a NYC engineering campus.
More than a dozen schools around the world expressed initial interest; now they’re officially invited to submit their plans. Bloomberg is offering them one of three possible locations for the facility: Governors Island, the Navy Yard and Roosevelt Island.
The city will provide real estate at “virtually no cost” plus up to $100 million in infrastructure upgrades. In exchange, the selected school must build a world-class campus.
“The fact is, New York was Start-up City before there were start-ups,” Bloomberg says.
“When I created Bloomberg LP in 1981, no one called us a start-up. But that’s what we were. We had an untested idea that relied on untested technology developed by a one-time engineering student and a few computer scientists. Of course back then, they weren’t called scientists. They were called nerds. But I could never have built the business without them.
“Unfortunately for our city, my company was more the exception than the rule. During the 1980s and 90s, Silicon Valley – not New York – became the world capital of technology start-ups. And that is still true today.
“But if I am right – and if we succeed in this mission – it won’t be true forever.
“We understand that we will not catch-up to Silicon Valley overnight. Building a state-of-the-art campus will take years – and attracting a critical mass of technology entrepreneurs will take even longer. But – as with everything we have done – we are taking the long view.”
Bloomberg estimates that a NYC engineering school could result in 400 new companies and more than 22,000 jobs in its first 30 years.
“We know that until we do more to attract world-class engineers and scientists, there will be barriers here that lead entrepreneurs and investors elsewhere and that block out the jobs of tomorrow we need to remain the world’s greatest city,” he says.
“We cannot allow that to happen. To create more middle-class jobs, more living wage jobs, more jobs that close the income-gap between the rich and poor, we cannot cling to the past. We must reach for the future – just as New Yorkers have always done.”
The proposals will be due on October 28th and a school will be selected at the end of this year.
Schools will be judged on the following:
- Develop research that will 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.
- Create construction and permanent jobs and generate tax revenue.
- Develop a financially self-sustaining campus.
- Contribute to the diversification of New York City’s economy by expanding its applied sciences sector.
As of now, Stanford and Cornell seem to have the best shots. RFP guidelines can be found on NYC.gov. Here’s a copy of Bloomberg’s entire speech.
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