University explains NYC withdrawal

Jan. 1, 2012, 3:00 a.m.

Stanford University responded to questions about its Dec. 16 withdrawal of StanfordNYC, an ambitious $2.5 billion proposal to build a graduate school of applied sciences and engineering in New York City, in a press release published on Tues., Dec. 27.


Three days after Stanford retracted its application to develop the 1.9 million square-foot campus, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he had chosen Cornell University’s proposal to build facilities on Roosevelt Island with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.


Stanford’s withdrawal was unexpected to some, as Stanford was seen as one of two main competitors, along with Cornell, for the bid in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s competition to make New York the next hub of technology and innovation.


“During the negotiation process the city introduced additional requirements that increased the risks and costs for Stanford and decreased the potential benefit,” the press release stated.


“Some critical new matters were introduced in the process of the negotiations that were not included in the RFP  [request for proposal] and not known to us before the StanfordNYC bid was submitted at the end of October,” the release continued, commenting on why the University had not withdrawn its application sooner.


According to the release, Bloomberg News and The New York Times, some of these additional matters included city building regulations and timeline penalties that the University was not comfortable with.


“Ultimately, we decided we could not accept the level of risk that the city wanted us to accept,” the release said.


Stanford spent $3 million on the proposal in ‘due diligence’ towards a project that ultimately could have cost up to  $2.5 billion. These initial costs included fees for architects and attorneys.


Cornell will spend at least $2 billion to build a 2.1 million square-foot campus that will accommodate up to 2,500 students at a time. Cornell does not expect to complete the campus until 2043, but students will begin taking classes in pre-existing facilities starting next year.


The press release shot down any notion that the decision to withdraw was influenced by Cornell, “Stanford’s withdrawal was the result of our own negotiations and had nothing to do with Cornell’s bid.  Prior to our decision, there was no suggestion on the city’s part that Stanford’s bid was not the front-runner in the competition.  In fact, all evidence available to us indicated the contrary.”


Stanford stated its commitment to continue with Stanford@CCNY, its partnership with the City College of New York (CCNY) to develop a joint degree program in technology and entrepreneurship.

–Kristian Davis Bailey

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