Filed on Jun 26th 2012 in Archives
“You Have to Think Big” Bugliarello’s Vision for MetroTech Center
For over twenty years, NYU-Poly has played a central role in the transformation of downtown Brooklyn from a neighborhood stricken by violence and poverty to a bustling center of commercial, technological and academic activity. This transformation was in large part due to the ambitions of George Bugliarello, former president of NYU-Poly from 1973 to 1994.
George Bugliarello assumed the role of president at one of the most turbulent moments in the history of Polytechnic and the city of New York. In the early 1970s, New York City was plagued by crime and on the brink of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Poly was relying upon emergency state aid and suffering from high administrative turnover and low morale among students, faculty and staff. Intent to improve Poly and the community around it, George Bugliarello proposed a 20 year plan prioritizing both fundraising and the revival and expansion of Polytechnic’s campus. Central to this was the creation of Metropolitan Technology Center (MetroTech Center), a 16 acre, 4.7 million square foot urban knowledge park. Modeled after Silicon Valley, MetroTech was to be a center for research and development focused on attracting service industries looking for less expensive office space outside of Manhattan.
George Bugliarello worked in collaboration with New York City officials, including Mayor Ed Koch and Borough President Howard Golden, and private commercial real estate developer Bruce Ratner in order to entice commercial businesses to relocate to downtown Brooklyn. For its part, the city of New York offered reduced taxes and a dedicated police presence in the neighborhood. These efforts in addition to the areas close proximity to Wall Street and abundance of public transportation, attracted a number of commercial and service driven tenants to the area, including National Grid, JPMorgan, Verizon and FDNY/EMS headquarters.
Though MetroTech was first proposed by George Bugliarello to the Polytechnic Board in 1975, it wasn’t until over a decade later in 1989 that construction began on the first MetroTech Center building. Bern Dibner Library for Science & Technology was the first Polytechnic building completed at MetroTech in 1992 (see construction photos in the 20th Anniversary slideshow). The final building, 12 MetroTech, was completed in 2004. The association between Polytechnic University and New York University has led to new momentum to expand upon MetroTech with the i2e Campus Transformation, a project to renovate and rebuild the NYU-Poly campus.
To learn more about George Bugliarello and his vision for MetroTech, check out our new exhibit in the lobby of Bern Dibner Library or the NYU-Poly Archives and Special Collections to view the George Bugliarello archival collections.