On his weekly radio show this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg described how Cornell University surprised nearly everyone to be named the winner of the city’s competition to build a new high-tech engineering campus in New York.
The mayor acknowledged that, “I don’t think anybody thought they would be the winner. It’s just not the political zeitgeist.” Indeed, as our own Nitasha Tiku wrote in The Observer this week, most people in the tech world assumed that the winner would be Stanford, based if nothing else on their reputation for developing tech companies like Google.
“Cornell’s bid was really phenomenally well-put together,” the mayor told hold John Gambling. “I got a kick out of it. Friday, when Stanford withdrew, and we spent trying to paper the deal–we actually have contracts with performance things. They have to have X number of students and Y number of teachers and z number of square feet by this date and that date and there are real penalties if not. We are putting$100 million of city money in. It’s not just a maybe. Some of the others said, ‘Well, we are not sure,’ and you can’t run a railroad that way.” Read More