David Stone
Nearing completion, Cornell Tech's Graduate Hotel, left, and neighbor conference center sponsored by Verizon.
Nearing completion, Cornell Tech's Graduate Hotel, left, and neighbor conference center sponsored by Verizon.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Three years ago, we reported that it was official. A deal was signed for Graduate Hotels to open a Roosevelt Island facility in 2020. Details demonstrated by Graduate's Tim Franzen in 2016 evolved into concrete plans. For the community, the change will be radical.

Get the Bigger Picture Daily: Roosevelt Island News

In what's become a tradition, an article in Forbes, last week, gets a number of things wrong about Roosevelt Island but reminds us of Cornell Tech hotel details sure to alter community life.

First, unless your vision includes the idea of a rooftop bar and a full service restaurant attracting traffic to Roosevelt Island, rub your eyes and imagine again. It's coming, this summer. 

Since winning the contest to build here, Cornell Tech has taken pains to blend with the existing community. The innovative campus extended its university roots from Ithaca, welcomed a local task force, accepted suggestions readily and set up a steady flow of information.

Donating time and materials to PS/IS 217, the Senior Center and the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, Tech made itself a home among friends.

SPONSORED: Click for Fresh Weekly Menus
SPONSORED: Click for Fresh Weekly Menus


But the Graduate Hotel promises change arguably more impactful than any before.

No business, other than Airbnb-style offerings, has ever opened hospitality rooms for travelers and visitors on Roosevelt Island. By the end of summer, 224 will welcome them on 17 floors.

"We want our hotels to be vibrant social spaces, like a community living room," Franzen told the Task Force in October, 2016, and you can take a look at a model, right here.

The lobby, too, will be Roosevelt Island/Cornell Tech themed with a projected gift shop and lounge.

Many details remain unknown, especially about the Verizon-sponsored conference center simultaneously being built next door. But all that, along with job openings and ribbon-cutting events, will roll out as warm weather blankets New York in the next several months.

We will keep you all posted.

Reporting by David Stone