NYC has historically been associated with Wall Street and media. The US tech sector is thought of mainly as either a California or a Texas thing. New York tax revenue was disproportionately from Wall Street . Dependence on Wall Street became problematic for New York on both a city and state level. But in recent years, tech sector investment has come to New York various big ways. The main areas to now be receiving tech sector investments and attention in New York are the Albany area, the New York City area, and the Finger Lakes Area.
The first major new tech sector investments came to the area of Albany, NY , the state capital. Albany is in the Upper Hudson River Valley. New York State invested considerable sums of money into funding a nanotech center at the University at Albany, one of the flagship SUNY Campuses. RPI at Troy, the area’s other major university, also set up its own nanotech center. As the research into nanotechnology continued, New York State incentives helped companies relocate to this area. Companies like Samsung, IBM and Intel collaborate with SUNY Albany in tech researcher, as well as invest in areas facilities. The area is now called Tech Valley.
New York City’s tech investments began under Mayor Bloomberg. Bloomberg wanted to diversify the city away from dependence on Wall Street. Tax incentives were given to tech company who were interested in having NYC operations. Google was one of the early companies. It made huge headlines when it purchased the Port Authority Building, a building which covers an entire Manhattan block. At that point in 2010, Google already had 2000 employees in NYC. After Bloomberg awarded 11 acres of land plus 100 million in city money to Cornell University to create a new graduate school of applied engineering and science with Technion University of Israel, the Cornell tech school became temporarily housed in Google’s NYC headquarters. It will be several years until enough construction occurs for the first buildings of Cornell’s NYC Tech School to be operational in 2017.
Other major transactions have recently happened. The city sold the old MTA building at 370 jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn to New York University. NYU will operate its school of Urban Science out of this building. DUMBO, short for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a former industrial area of Brooklyn that lately has attracted a number of creative and tech companies. This sector is only going to get bigger in that area. A consortium led by tech investor/real estate developer Jared Kushner is purchasing the Watchtower properties from the Jehovah Witness church. These properties will be leased out to tech companies. Even the South Bronx, an area associated with poverty and crime has gotten tech investment. Fresh Direct, an online grocery based out of Long Island City, NY, has grown too big for its Queens location. It is relocating its headquarters to the South Bronx .
The Finger Lakes area of New York also has its tech sector investments. Because of Cornell University, some comparatively recent engineering graduates have already opened up tech companies in the area. As the DemocratandChronicle reports:
“The examination of entrepreneurship is happening in Ithaca, as well, Collins said. That includes a joint application to New York state for funding to start a Southern Tier technology-transfer hub with Binghamton University and Corning Inc., and work on a business incubator in downtown Ithaca with Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College.”
Cornell University is teaming up with other area universities such as Binghamton University to foster an environment that spins off more tech companies and that fosters more innovation. The effects of this will counter the industrial collapse the Finger Lakes have had from the 1970s-1990s, and will move the region forward.
New York highlights how in order to economically diversify, a state or even a country needs a combination of government investment, corporate investment, and academic investment/collaboration.