New York’s Governors Island Set to Get $700M Climate Hub

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New York City selected Stony Brook University to create a $700 million center on Governors Island for researching and developing climate solutions, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.

The hub, called New York Climate Exchange, will span 400,000 square feet and have classrooms, laboratories, student and faculty housing, and public exhibition space on the island, located in New York Harbor near Lower Manhattan.

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It’s expected to host up to 30 businesses per year through an incubator program and also train people for green jobs. Once the center is up and running, the city estimates it will serve 600 postsecondary students, 4,500 kindergarten through 12th-grade students, 6,000 workforce trainees and 250 faculty and researchers. Aside from the hub, the exchange would also create 4.5 acres of new open space on the island.

Adams said he expects the center, which will be designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will have $1 billion in economic impact and create 7,000 permanent jobs. Construction is anticipated to start in 2025 and wrap in 2028.

Stony Brook University, part of the 64-college State University of New York network, has its main campus in the Long Island hamlet of Stony Brook. The New York Times first reported news of the selection.

“This first-of-its-kind project will make New York City a global leader in developing solutions for climate change while creating thousands of good-paying green jobs for New Yorkers and infusing $1 billion into our city’s economy,” Adams said in a statement. “Where some people see challenges, New Yorkers see opportunities, and this team and this project are leading the charge.”

The city said the Governors Island campus would become a “living laboratory” aimed at showcasing green building methods and be the city’s first commercial building to use mass timber and have its water needs met with rainwater or treated wastewater. It’s also slated to be New York City’s first all-electric campus with all of its needs generated on-site, according to the city.

The city has been pitching a climate center on a 172-acre plot of land on Governors Island for years, and the site was rezoned in 2021 to allow its construction, the Times reported. The Adams administration announced the three finalists for the project last year, and Stony Brook beat out a bid from a partnership led by the City University of New York and The New School and another led by Northeastern University.

Construction will be paid for with $150 million from the city, a $100 million donation from the Simons Foundation, and a $50 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Stony Brook’s consortium — which includes Pace University, Pratt Institute and IBM — will kick in the rest through fundraising efforts, according to the city.

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at nrizzi@commercialobserver.com.