So, Cornell Technion opened up this week. While the opening entailed press releases, ribbon-cutting, politicians and media attention, it should come as no surprise as it was completed right on schedule. Of course that fact may actually be the biggest surprise of all!
Amidst the news hoopla, and there was a lot of it from all angles (see links below), was the standard local one as to how this would affect the local community adjacent to the campus: Long Island City. All interviewees laud the potential of the proximity to the new campus, and the hyperbole is justified. Unfortunately what they don’t realize is the huge gulf between “as the crow flies” and reality. While a new ferry is nice, it is far from a game-changer. The fact is that the visceral connection to Cornell Technion so desired by all increases exponentially with a pedestrian bridge.
Of course the timing of the opening happens to overlap with the recent announcement by the city of the development winner of the Water’s Edge site and it’s subsequent community review. While a local opposition group to any building on this site has sprung up, my initial reaction to that demand is that it’s not only unreasonable, but ex- a financial meltdown, is also unrealistic (more on this another time possibly). Instead, they should channel their energy towards a cause that is attainable, timely, and truly transforming.
It’s not only activist groups that should be pushing this. If you’re SilverCup, Plaxall, or any other nearby land owner, there is no better way to add value to your holdings than linking them to the new tech campus. This goes for those land and apartment-building owners further away from the waterfront too((In fact, on an absolute basis, no one would benefit more financially than Water’s Edge selectee TF Cornerstone. Whatever they’d have to kick in for the bridge would yield an incredible return on all their LIC properties values)). With those groups on board, politicians and the LIC Partnership won’t be far behind and then you can get the City’s ear.
Now that Cornell Technion has been completed and is in the limelight, remember that opportunity knocks only once. If you want to use the leverage of the Water’s Edge development site review to build a bridge to Cornell Technion you get one chance – this is it.
Long Island City Prepares For Boom With Opening of Cornell Tech Campus – “Suna is developing prime real estate in the shadow of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge. He said with the new campus opening up so close he imagines turning the empty lot into a world class hub to accommodate the needs of the students and faculty”
The Views (Real and Virtual) From Cornell Tech – “This is where apps are born, robots get their brains, and malicious hackers are warded off”
High Tech and High Design, Cornell Technion’s Roosevelt Island Campus Opens – “which officials hope will encourage the growth of the New York City tech sector”
Out-of-Control Gentrification Is Helping Create NYC’s Subway Crush – Growth at What Price?: “Stations with the biggest jump in ridership are in the city’s hottest neighborhoods”
A Rail Solution For Queens Growing Economy – The LIRR’s Lower Montauk branch would deliver communities from a transit desert
Long Island City Building Boom Sparks Price Hikes – a forest of rental towers in this once gritty Queens neighborhood is helping stoke demand for buying condos
LIC Condo Sales Are Hot – over 75% of condos in The 120-unit Harrison in Court Square have been sold and secondary prices are up 80-100% in the last six years
Artbook Opens Expanded Book Space at MoMA PS1 – “In the fall, Artbook @ MoMA PS1 opens its new children’s book area…”
Two Astoria Subway Stations to Close for 8 Months – technically the 36th Avenue station is in LIC