The MTA’s gritty building at 370 Jay St. could be transformed into a glassy research center under New York University’s latest expansion plans for Downtown Brooklyn.
On Wednesday, the elite private school presented its proposal for a new applied sciences school that would be housed in the long-vacant transit authority eyesore near Willoughby Street.
The new “Center for Urban Science and Progress,” would be a partnership with tech giants such as IBM and would focus on making cities safer and more energy efficient.
“We want Brooklyn to become the epicenter for projects that relate to the future of cities,” said Paul Horn, senior vice provost for research for NYU. “This location would ultimately reenergize an underutilized building and generate a new economy for New York.”
NYU’s planned graduate program — which would include a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon and other universities — is in response to the city’s request for proposals for a brand-new engineering school.
In July, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he would offer free real estate at Governors Island, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Roosevelt Island for a state-of-the-art dream campus — for which Stanford and Cornell are drafting plans.
But NYU is high on Downtown, proposing a school that fits in with its existing Polytechnic campus in Metrotech Center — a group of 11 mixed-use buildings between Flatbush Avenue Extension and Jay Street.
If the city picks NYU, it would move into a 60,000-square-foot space at 1 Metrotech Center as soon as fall, 2013. Then the university would refurbish 370 Jay St. and turn it into a research lab and startup space by 2016.
NYU’s proposal comes on the heels of the MTA’s announcement that it would finally sell or lease its long-vacant offices above the Jay Street subway station — a massive building that city boosters pushed the cash-strapped agency to sell for years.
NYU believes it is just the entity to revive the neglected block — and Downtown itself.
Earlier this year, it announced it would expand its NYU-Poly campus by moving into floors at 2 and 15 Metrotech Center. The engineering school already owns academic buildings at 6 Metrotech and 5 Metrotech, a residence hall on Johnson Street, and admissions offices on Bridge Street.
The Center for Urban Science and Progress would be tied to five cities on three continents. In Brooklyn, it would bring in 50 researchers and faculty members, 400 master’s students and 100 post-graduate students.
“This is the start of something pretty exciting,” Horn said. “I just hope we can get the city to agree.”
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