As the MTA gears up to offload the long-idle Transit building at 370 Jay St., a familiar player in the New York City real estate market has emerged as a leading contender for the space. As The Daily News reports today, New York University is targeting 370 Jay St. as the future home for its Center for Urban Science and Progress. The plan, which would rely on significant contributions from the city, would help push forward an academic revival in Downtown Brooklyn.
Instead of competing with Stanford and Cornell for space on Roosevelt Island, NYU would prefer to overhaul the MTA’s former headquarters across from its Polytechnic campus. “It would make Brooklyn the urban center of the universe,” NYU Senior Vice Provost for Research Paul Horn said to The News. “There’s nothing anywhere near it on this scale.”
Erin Durkin has more:
Mayor Bloomberg is offering a powerhouse academic institution $100 million in construction costs, plus free land, to open the high-tech school. Horn said NYU would forego the land the city is offering on Roosevelt Island or other sites in favor of downtown Brooklyn. “It’s a terrific entrepreneurial center,” Horn said. “There are a lot of advantages to being there as opposed to isolated somewhere.”
[Horn] said NYU could build the center with $20-$25 million of the city money for infrastructure fixes and moving the MTA’s old equipment out of 370 Jay, and spend $450 million overall on a 200,000-square-foot project. It would launch CUSP in space at nearby MetroTech, with classes starting in 2013, then move into 370 Jay after a major overhaul.
The NYU plan calls for 50 faculty members – from civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and other fields – would teach 400 master’s students and 100 Ph.D. students at CUSP. “Improving security, dealing with disasters, a variety of problems that are absolutely critical and things the city will be worrying about anyway – this will have our institute focusing on creating solutions to those problems,” Horn said.
NYU has a reputation for utterly consuming neighborhoods it targets. This plan, though, would remove a blight from the streets of Downtown Brooklyn while delivering dollars to the MTA for its abandoned headquarters. The building will be subjected to an RFP process. I doubt, however, that this is the last we’re hearing of NYU’s interest.