Stony Brook to develop $700M Governors Island climate campus 

Expected to open in 2028, hub includes 400K sf “living laboratory”

Stony Brook University president Maurie McInnis and Governors Island
Stony Brook University president Maurie McInnis and Governors Island (Stony Brook, Getty)

Plans for a long-gestating development on Governors Island are coming into focus as Stony Brook University as named as head of a consortium that will deliver a campus focused on climate change. 

The $700 million campus on the 172-acre area will include a 400,000-square-foot hub dedicated to climate solution research and training for green jobs, the city announced. The center will be designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The campus will include two classroom and research buildings on three acres of undeveloped land, as well as the utilization of some of the preexisting buildings on the island. Existing public amenities will not be affected.

There will also be student and faculty housing on the island, along with university hotel rooms. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025 and the campus is expected to open in 2028. 

Other members of Stony Brook’s consortium include IBM, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pace University, Pratt Institute and Boston Consulting Group. Previously allocated city capital funding will pay for $150 million of the costs, while the Simons Foundation will provide $100 million and Bloomberg Philanthropies will cover $50 million; the consortium will raise money for the remainder.

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The city had been hunting for ideas for the island for two decades, since the federal government transferred control to the city. 

A condition of the transfer was that the city couldn’t use it for commercial housing purposes; the City Council rezoned the island in 2021 to pave the path for yesterday’s announcement.

The Trust for Governors Island, the nonprofit that manages the island, revealed a plan in 2020 for a 4.2 million-square-foot mixed-use project as part of the city’s efforts to fight climate change. 

The city has already faced legal challenges regarding the development of the island. In December, a judge dismissed a challenge from a coalition that argued the serenity of the island will be impacted by new construction. An appeal remains possible.

Holden Walter-Warner

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