NEW YORK CITY-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on Thursday issued conditional approval for the proposed Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island by Cornell University and the New York City Economic Development Corp., according to an announcement. In developing his Uniform Land Use Review Procedure recommendation, Stringer secured commitments to pursue several modifications to the project, which include construction mitigation, the creation of a community advisory committee on open space, expanding the hours of the campus open space, expansion of the red bus line, and commitment to study co-generation and pedestrian access to the Queens Borough Bridge.
“Educational institutions, such as Cornell, play an instrumental role in nurturing the city’s intellectual capital that is vital in maintaining a competitive advantage over other cities,” says Stringer in his report detailing his recommendation. “Retaining individuals who advance knowledge not only cements our status as a leader in the world economy, but also creates a more livable city.”
Adds Cornell President David Skorton in the announcement, “Cornell Tech will help drive economic development in New York for years to come, but we know the campus will only be a success if we are good neighbors. We are grateful for the Borough President’s support, and are committed to addressing the matters he raised as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that this campus respects and partners with the Roosevelt Island community.”
As it stands, according to Stringer’s report, the proposed plan is as follows: phase one will include 790,000 square feet, including 200,000 square feet of academic uses, 300,000 square feet of residential uses for graduate students and faculty, 100,000 square feet for corporate co-location facilities and 170,000 square feet for an executive education center with a hotel and conference facilities. For phase 2, Cornell would need to construct a minimum of 1.8 million square feet (up to a maximum of 2.1 million), according to Stringer’s report, with a minimum of 620,000 square feet of academic campus and 108,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space. The proposal also includes an amendment that suggests the project will include up to 500 parking spaces, though that’s not a requirement. Phase two “would need to be completed” by 2037, the report says.
Modifications by Borough President Stringer include an agreement to mitigate construction and limit noisy deliveries; to have independent monitoring and air quality monitoring and pursue a construction remediation plan when soil issues arise.
Additional modifications by Stringer include increased Red Bus service on the island; programs to encourage its employees to use mass transit; study pedestrian access improvements to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge; ensure the proposed open space on the campus remains open until 10 p.m., disallow private café seating, include the community in the project’s design and study the parking situation to ensure the best possible options are available.
In December, Community Board 8 voted to conditionally approve the proposed actions based on similar issues of concern. The project will continue to move through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure; the next step will be a review by the City Planning Commission and then final review by the City Council.