Rockefeller University will build a life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus, part of the mayor's push for new public health spaces.
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Rockefeller University will build a new life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus as part of a citywide push to make New York the "public health capital of the world," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
The $9 million grant to Rockefeller will help it convert some of its existing academic research labs into a new incubator for life-science companies, dubbed the Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics.
City officials said the 26,000-square-foot facility will be the first of its kind among the Upper East Side's collection of biomedical institutions, and will link up with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weil Cornell Medicine to conduct research.
The facility has been years in the making, according to City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who began meeting with Rockefeller University to discuss the incubator space shortly after taking office in 2014.
""Biotech will own the future and if we learned any lesson in 2020, it is that New York City needs to become a hub for this industry as soon as possible," Kallos said in a statement. "These biotech centers will create thousands of good-paying jobs and have the potential to be crucial in discovering life-saving cures and treatments for diseases right here on the Upper East Side"
The city funding will cover only part of the cost of the new labs and Rockefeller will need to raise the rest, Kallos's office said.
The combined $38 million in grants announced Thursday are part of LifeSciNYC, a $500 million initiative launched by the de Blasio administration in 2016 to grow the city's life-sciences industry over the next 10 years.
De Blasio's administration has also backed a controversial proposal to greatly expand the New York Blood Center on East 67th Street, which officials said would help the city recover from the coronavirus pandemic by adding thousands of square feet of new lab space. Some neighbors, however, have opposed the plan due to its size and impact on the surrounding blocks.
Rockefeller University, whose York Avenue campus stretches between 63rd and 68th streets, opened four new buildings on a platform above the FDR Drive in 2019.
One of the nation's most prestigious research institutions, Rockefeller's faculty have won 26 Nobel Prizes.
"The combined research strengths of three world-leading biomedical institutions provides an unparalleled foundation to ensure the success of the new Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics," Rockefeller President Richard P. Lifton said in a statement.
"By consolidating existing collaborations and providing much-needed biotech incubator space into the bargain, this new center will focus the boldest biomedical science in the world on solving today's most challenging medical problems – while also growing the fast-emerging biotech sector in New York City."