In a surprise move Stanford University announced today that they are withdrawing their bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island. In a statement, the university said that several weeks’ worth of negotiations prompted the Board of Trustees to determine that the East Coast expansion was not in their best interest. “We are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals,” wrote Stanford president John Hennessy.
The $200 million proposal with a master plan by Ennead was largely considered a front runner until this afternoon. The campus developed in a partnership with City College was to build more than 1.9 million square feet on the site now occupied by the Goldwater Hospital that would have brought housing for 200 profs and 2,000 students. While president Hennessy promised an accelerated launch—and a pledge of $1.5 bllion from a ten-year capital campaign—back in October, the plan seems to have fizzeled under pressure from students.
“I applaud the mayor’s bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality,” said Hennessy. “Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York.” The San Jose Mercury News noted that “Hennessy had cautioned that unless Stanford could get guarantees that it could build what it needs to build, plans will be abandoned.”
In a flurry of statements that followed, both the city and City College looked for the silver lining. City College noted that the two institutions established a “strong on-going relationship during this process.” And Julie Wood from the mayor’s office essentially added that the show must go on. “We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up. We look forward to announcing a winner soon.” That leaves the Cornell proposal with a team led by SOM as the only other contender for the Roosevelt Island site.