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Coalition for Queens supports tech center at Roosevelt Island

TimesLedger Newspapers

After Queens was snubbed last month in the competition to establish a tech campus in New York City, one organization was already planning on how to incorporate the borough into a frontrunner’s plan.

The Coalition for Queens has long advocated for a technology-centric campus to be located in Queens as part of the mayor’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which would give hefty incentives for top-tier universities to build a satellite campus in New York City.

On Oct. 31, the mayor announced seven proposals, none of which were for a location in the borough.

But the coalition, founded by Jukay Hsu, has focused on the start-up businesses that are supposed to sprout from any future university instead of the location of the university.

“Wherever this campus is, it’s about the larger goal about where these tech companies are going to go,” he said. “We want people to know [Queens] is a possibility and we want to let them know they can build here.”

Hsu has been in talks with representatives from CUNY universities about a plan by Stanford University to build a 1.9 million-square-foot campus on Roosevelt Island. The plan is considered a top contender for a gift of city-owned land and $100 million in capital from city coffers, according to Hsu.

Stanford, like the other universities that submitted plans, will partner with another university and has proposed to work with CUNY.

The university currently is planning to specifically form a relationship with City College, a CUNY school in Manhattan, but Hsu wants the university to look toward some of the CUNY campuses in Queens, some of which are closer to Roosevelt Island and already offer technology development and entrepreneurship programs that could be useful in a relationship with the Stanford campus.

He has been in meetings with several university representatives to explore options should Stanford be selected.

“We are starting to have this conversation about what is possible,” he said, stressing that the conversations are preliminary since the winner will not be announced until January.

But regardless of the winner, Hsu and the coalition also wanted to highlight the opportunity for business growth in Queens.

Hsu received media attention last month when he visited the Queens Museum of Art’s panorama of New York City and placed a temporary model of a campus on Willets Point, a site where the coalition would like a campus. But he also placed models over areas like the College Point industrial area, Long Island City and Astoria that he said would be perfect for the businesses that will likely come out of the tech campus.

“I think there are just a lot of good places in Queens,” he said. “One of the main arguments is the potential room to expand.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Concerned Citizen from College Point says:
College Point has enough dumped on them already
Nov. 11, 2011, 5:16 pm

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