However, Area Residents Worried About Noise From Long-Term Construction

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new development on Roosevelt Island promises to turn New York City into tech central.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, plans were made public Monday for the Cornell University Roosevelt Island Technology Campus and Office Complex.

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Some residents said Monday they were excited, but others were concerned about the years of construction ahead.

The newly updated plans have been called the technology future for New York City. Housed on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech will be part graduate school, part office park for tech companies on the cutting edge.

“We have been talking with the community throughout this process, but now we have something very tangible where we can sit down and get input,” Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove said.

But reaction has been mixed, since current construction projects on Roosevelt Island already have been a distraction.

“Sometimes, like, I go out to take a walk, and all of a sudden you hear [construction noise],” said Roosevelt Island student Drew Vogel, “and you have to shout just to talk to your teacher or whoever is with you. It can get annoying.”

Some residents said they are concerned the noise and nuisance will get much worse.

“Just getting around on the island, it’s going to slow everything down,” said Roosevelt Island resident Andrea Gambardella. “Even now, with the streets being paved daily, it’s tough.”

The state-of-the-art facility will feature energy-efficient buildings that also generate their own electricity through solar panels, geothermal walls, wind power, and even tidal power harvested from the East River.

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But before construction can begin on the existing building, a long-term care facility on the site will be vacated and demolished – a loud process that is not considered eco-friendly.

But Cornell Tech officials said there was no other option.

“We did look at renovating the building. It’s too small, and it just can’t be re-configured,” said Andrew Winters, director of capital projects and planning for Cornell Tech. “But we are looking at a scenario where we’re going to demolish the building and actually use it to raise the level of the site. It allows us to build the site up and get out of the flood plain.”

It is also expected to reduce the number of trucks on the island by more than 30 percent.

Planners said they know there will still be a disruption to life on Roosevelt Island, but some people have said it will be worth it.

“I think in the long term, it’ll be better for the island; better for the area, bringing technology here,” Steven Vogel said.

“You’ve got to continue to grow, and you’ve got to continue to advance, and construction is just part of the process,” said Staten Island resident Mark Morrill, who works on Roosevelt Island.

People will have a chance to ask questions about Cornell Tech next week at the first of many public forums.

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