De Blasio Initiative Framed by Cornell Tech Success

Roosevelt Island's Cornell Tech Inspires LifeSci NYC

Updated 3 years ago David Stone
Bill de Blasio in 2013
Bill de Blasio in 2013
Photo Credit: Kevin Case / Creative Commons CCO 2 License

Still six months away from opening its new world class technology campus on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech inspires an initiative from another mayor. Bill de Blasio yesterday announced LifeSci NYC, and once again, our community sits squarely on the track of the future.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke down barriers in making way for the innovations that energize Cornell Tech. Now with walls knocked down and a clear path, Bill de Blasio aims to make his mark in biotechnology with LifeSci NYC.

This time, we won't have to wait and see if the winds of change are blowing in the direction of Roosevelt Island. They are.

The de Blasio administration will invest $100 million to kick start a new biotechnology campus in either the Upper East Side, aligned with the medical corridor already growing in place, or just across the East River channel in Long Island City. In either case, we sit in the middle of a promised economic and scientific blossoming that will bring 16,000 new jobs as research committed to making lives better and healthier is birthed and grown to maturity in New York City.

LifeSci NYC will "spur new, good-paying jobs and establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation. New Yorkers hoping to secure a career-track job in a growing industry and struggling with the rising cost of living will have access to 1,000 paid internships, new training programs and job placements in a field with average salaries of $75,000," the mayor's announcement said.

It continued, "The City will develop a new 'Applied Life Sciences Campus' mirroring (the) successful Cornell Tech model."

Not only is the Roosevelt Island campus making news as home of the world's largest passive house and with its aggressive wedding of business and academia, it's basic business model attracts impressive followers.

De Blasio pressed the case beyond the likely benefits of expanding medical research.

“We have to break the vice grip of stagnant wages and the ever-rising cost of living in this city," he said. "That’s why we are giving thousands of New Yorkers a foothold in the 21st century economy through paid internships, training and career-track jobs.”

For Roosevelt Islanders, there's even more. If a campus is built on the Upper East Side, it will incubate new labs and businesses in Western Queens, and if LIC is the choice, our community again lies in the middle as stimulus travels across the river and back.

The potential for a housing boom is clear, but so is the likelihood of commuters discovering Roosevelt Island eateries and businesses, just a single subway stop away from work. And, as with Cornell Tech, we should expect some of those jobs to bring earnings home to our community.

Council Member Ben Kallos, whose district includes Roosevelt Island as well as one of the two potential campus locations, said this in a statement, "LifeSci NYC will create well-paying jobs and put New York City at the forefront of the emerging Life Sciences industry. When a new treatment is discovered here in New York City, we must invest in growing that treatment into a company that will create jobs and revenues for New York. The East Side's hospital corridor is ready to leverage this investment to bring progress to our City."

The process of seeking proposals for the campus begins in the spring. The Roosevelt Island Daily will follow up with a series of articles with greater detail on Mayor de Blasio's LifeSci NYC initiative as it progresses.

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