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NYU to fix up much-maligned Downtown office building • Brooklyn Paper

NYU to fix up much-maligned Downtown office building

After: NYU wants to transform the gritty MTA offices at 370 Jay St. into a research facility by 2016. This rendering shows what would be the Center for Urban Science and Progress — the school’s latest program in Downtown Brooklyn.

NYU will transform a decrepit eyesore at 370 Jay St. into a cutting-edge science facility that will revitalize the neighborhood and cement Downtown as the nation’s next big college town, borough officials say.

NYU-Poly will build a flashy and futuristic research center at the site near Willoughby Street, where a run-down, city-owned Metropolitan Transportation Authority office has sat nearly vacant for years, stalling development in the neighborhood, Downtown boosters say.

The school will partner with the city to build its Center for Urban Science and Progress — a branch dedicated to designing safer and more energy-efficient cities using technology — that will be open to students by 2017.

Community leaders hailed the news, saying the project will attract brilliant minds, create jobs, and further bolster Downtown’s reputation as an academic hub when it joins institutes of higher learning including Long Island University, City Tech, Brooklyn Law School, not to mention neighboring schools like St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.

“This is a game-changer for Brooklyn,” said Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Downtown).

NYU, which recently announced plans to drastically increase enrollment, will pay $50 million to remove MTA equipment from the site.

After converting the office building into academic labs, NYU will then lease the building from the city for $1 per year and partner with renowned academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Toronto to share the facility.

The massive project, which contains one third as much space as the Chrysler Building, would bring more college kids to Downtown than Cambridge, Mass., according to city officials.

“Brooklyn is indeed College Town, USA!” said President Marty Markowitz. “It will be an intellectual hub.”

Plans for the world-class research lab come after NYU-Poly last year signed a 20-year lease with Forest City Ratner for space in Metrotech Center — a campus of 11 mixed-use buildings between Flatbush Avenue Extension and Jay Street.

The growing university already owns academic buildings at 6 Metrotech and 5 Metrotech and leases space on the sixth floor of 15 Metrotech and on the ninth and 10th floors of 2 Metrotech.

On Monday, Mayor Bloomberg hailed the school’s Brooklyn-centric expansion as an economy booster that will bring jobs and brilliant minds to the area.

“We see the promise of Downtown Brooklyn,” he said. “This is an incredibly valuable and attractive location.”

Here’s what the eyesore looks like now.

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