It’s been some time since we last heard about Cornell’s forthcoming 12.5 acre tech campus on Roosevelt Island, but the plans moved forward today as Mayor Bloomberg officially signed off on a transfer of the prized land to the university. Now that Mayor B. and Cornell President David Skorton have finally put the lease into writing, it’s just a matter of building that 2 million-square-foot sustainable campus. If all goes as planned, construction will begin in 2014.

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Over the last couple of years, the Cornell Tech campus has been making its way up the city planning chain by gaining the approvals of Community Board 8 and the New York City Council. Mayor Bloomberg says the new campus will double the masters and PHD engineering student body at Cornell Technology. With the 99-year lease signed, the university can finally start break grounding for the new Roosevelt Island campus. Mayor Bloomberg was asked several times what would happen after 99 years and when pondering how to respond said, “I don’t want to be blasé or wise-ass about it, but I did think to myself, ‘I don’t care.'”

The crown jewel of the ambitious plan is an energy-neutral academic building designed by Morphosis architecture firm. One of the facility’s most prominent features is a photovoltaic canopy that spans the entire rooftop, which hopefully can produce enough energy to make the entire complex independent from the electrical grid.

Groundbreaking is expected to begin in January and the campus will be completed in phases with the first one scheduled for completion by 2017. Construction of the entire 2 million-square-foot facility will give 2,000 students and nearly 280 faculty and researchers to learn and work at the campus, which is projected to be completed by 2043.

+ Cornell Tech

+ Morphosis Architects

+ Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP

Images © Morphosis