NYC mayor awards NYU public land

April 24, 2012, 2:45 a.m.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded New York University (NYU) public land in downtown Brooklyn Monday to build an applied sciences campus. NYU is the second winner, following Cornell in December, in the mayor’s competition granting city money to boost the New York’s technology sector.

The announcement comes months after Stanford abruptly withdrew its bid three days before Cornell was announced the winner.

“We are really happy for NYU,” Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said. “It’s a much smaller concept than ours. But it’s something that we supported.”

According to Bloomberg News, Carnegie Mellon University, the City University of New York, the University of Toronto, the University of Warwick, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, IBM and Cisco Systems will all be involved in the consortium with NYU.

The announcement came just hours after The New Yorker published a lengthy piece about Stanford, a significant portion of which covered the University’s decision to withdraw its bid in the New York competition.

“Publicly, the university was vague about the decision [to withdraw], and, in a statement, [President John Hennessy] praised ‘the mayor’s bold vision,’” wrote Ken Auletta in The New Yorker. “But he was seething. In January, he told me that the city had changed the terms of the proposed deal. After seven universities had submitted their bids, he said, the city suddenly wanted Stanford to agree that the campus would be operational, with a full complement of faculty, sooner than Stanford thought was feasible.”

Stanford’s general counsel and lead negotiator Debra Zumwalt told The New Yorker that the city added “many millions of dollars in penalties that were not in the original proposal, including penalizing Stanford for failure to obtain approvals on a certain schedule, even if the delays were the fault of the city and not Stanford.”

“I have been a lawyer for over thirty years, and I have never seen negotiations that were handled so poorly by a reputable party,” Zumwault added.

The New Yorker piece presented some of the first new information to come out regarding Stanford’s bid since January.

According to Lapin, Stanford has not been able to release its $2.5 billion proposal, which cost the University $3 million, to the public because the mayor’s office and the New York City Economic Development Corporation said the competition was still ongoing.

“In the interest of transparency, we should be allowed to share our proposal,” Lapin said. “It’s not a situation that’s competitive with anything else still being proposed or negotiated. Were very frustrated that the city doesn’t want our proposal to be seen.”

In a Monday press release, the mayor’s office wrote, “Collectively, these institutions along with other potential winners will further strengthen New York City’s global competiveness.”

This could potentially mean that the city will continue the competition, despite already selecting two winners. By continuing the competition, New York may be able to prevent Stanford from releasing its proposal because of previous non-disclosure agreements between the two parties.

“We remain frustrated at the delays which are now many months beyond their original intended announcement date,” Lapin wrote in an email to The Daily.

Billy Gallagher is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. He has previously worked at The Daily as editor in chief, a managing editor of news, news desk editor, sports desk editor and staff development editor. He is a junior from Villanova, PA majoring in Economics. He is also a writer for TechCrunch.

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