January 23, 2014

Cornell Tech Begins Clearing Space on Roosevelt Island

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By SOFIA HU

Demolition of Coler-Goldwater Hospital, which currently sits on the site of Cornell NYC Tech’s multi-billion dollar campus, officially began this week, according to Cornell Tech Vice President Cathy Dove.

Since Cornell signed the lease for the Roosevelt Island property with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in December, workers have prepared the ground, built a fence surrounding the construction site and started the interior demolition of Coler-Goldwater Hospital, according to Dove.

A rendering of Cornell Tech shows what the campus will look after construction is complete in 2037. (Courtesy of Cornell University and Kilograph)

A rendering of Cornell Tech shows what the campus will look after construction is complete in 2037. (Courtesy of Cornell University and Kilograph)

A rendering of Cornell Tech shows what the campus will look after construction is complete in 2037. (Courtesy of Cornell University and Kilograph)

A rendering of Cornell Tech shows what the campus will look after construction is complete in 2037. (Courtesy of Cornell University and Kilograph)

After so much anticipation and planning, Dove said she is excited about the beginning of construction. “The arrival of the first barge was particularly exciting,” Dove said in an email. “Cornell has worked hard to design the largest voluntary barging program in NYC. We are pleased to see it underway.”

The announcement marks another important moment after a series of milestones for the school in 2013, including the start of Cornell Tech classes in Jan. 2013, the launch of several new degree programs and the beginning of collaborations with several developers, The Sun previously reported.

Early electrical work will begin in the next two months, according to a summary from the construction task force, a body responsible for the construction of the tech campus. Construction on the first academic building will commence this summer.

The complete demolition of the Coler-Goldwater Hospital — which is currently on the site of the future campus — is expected to take at least a year, according to Dove.

Despite the recent cold fronts affecting New York City, construction is expected to stay on schedule.

“We believe the schedule is reasonable and do not expect any significant delays that would jeopardize the opening of the campus in Summer 2017. Typical NYC weather should not impact our construction schedule,” Dove said.

Once completed, the campus will place an emphasis on sustainability and the first academic building will generate enough energy to run itself, The Sun previously reported. In addition, the campus will include a corporate co-location, which will house tech companies on campus.

Cornell Tech is documenting the progress of its construction on a blog, so that others can keep track of its progress.

“The purpose of the [website] is to keep the Roosevelt Island community and other interested parties aware of our activities, both current and future. Thus far we have received very positive feedback from those who have accessed the [blog],” Dove said.

In June 2013, Cornell Tech named Forest City Ratner Companies the “master developer” of the first phase of construction, The Sun previously reported. In addition, Hudson Companies and Related Companies will oversee construction on the campus’ first residential building, which is expected to begin in early 2015.

Planners predict that the multi-staged construction project will be complete in 2037, however, the campus will first open in 2017. Until the Roosevelt Island campus opens its doors, Cornell Tech will continue to operate out of space donated by Google’s offices in Manhattan.

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