Google kickstarts CornellNYC Tech school with free space

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New York’s bid to build an applied sciences university is off to a much faster start than expected thanks to a free donation of temporary space by Google (s goog), which is offering 22,000 square feet of space in its New York headquarters to the CornellNYC Tech university. The space, which is valued at $10 million, becomes available on July 1 and will allow CornellNYC Tech to begin offering courses this fall as opposed to waiting for the completion of its new school on Roosevelt Island, which is expected to open until 2017.

Google’s CEO Larry Page appeared with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Monday to announce the news. Under the agreement, CornellNYC Tech will get five and a half years of free space or until the completion of the Roosevelt Island campus. The school will have the option to expand to 58,000 square feet as it grows over the course of the next five years.

This should ultimately help address New York’s engineering talent crunch, providing a pipeline of students that can work in the city’s growing number of startups. The university will start this fall semester with a small number of grad students and processors, who will be coming down from Cornell’s Ithaca campus. The first full class of students will enter next year.

Cornell and Technion, an Israeli technology school, won the bid in December to build the engineering and applied engineering university, which is expected to cost $2 billion. The campus will eventually support about 2,500 graduate students and 280 faculty members. Bloomberg hopes that the campus will help seed hundreds of start-ups and will lead to $23 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

Google’s donation of space underscores again how vital it has been to the New York tech community. Before Twitter, Facebook (s fb) and eBay (s ebay) started putting down engineering roots here, Google plunked down almost $2 billion in 2010 for a massive building in the Chelsea neighborhood with almost 3 million square feet. For Google, it’s a nice gesture to show how it wants to be a good corporate citizen. But it also makes it easier for Google to pick off students from that new university and it keeps it competitive with all the other big Valley companies who will be ramping up recruitment in New York.

Image courtesy of Rachel Sterne.

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