Carnegie Mellon University

Dear Members of the University Community:

As part of the university’s master plan, we have been examining ways to create more flexible space for research and creative pursuits — in particular, space that supports new collaborations among our faculty, students, and partners outside the university. Many of you have reaffirmed this goal in different venues, including our strategic plan town hall meetings. At the same time, a growing number of industry, government, and nonprofit partners have expressed an interest in opportunities to work with our researchers and students here in Pittsburgh.

I’m writing to you today to outline an exploratory step we are taking to meet these needs and seize an important opportunity for the university. Today, the university will begin seeking developers who want to partner with us on a major, mixed-used development on land the university owns on the south side of Forbes Avenue, near Craig Street.

Located next to the museums, this development could include research space for faculty and students, space for external partners, labs and studios for collaborative industry-academia use, office space, a quality hotel, parking, and some retail space. It would build on the momentum of the adjacent Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center and serve as a new gateway to our campus from the west.

We envision this as a self-sustaining development that would allow us to support these critical goals for our faculty and students without diverting resources from other academic and campus priorities. The process begins with a request for proposals from potential developers, and the project will evolve as we work with campus partners and developers to understand what is possible and evaluate proposals.

With work poised to begin on the new Tepper Quad — offering space for innovation and entrepreneurship, global connectivity, and interdisciplinary collaboration — and work already underway on the expansion of the Cohon University Center, the renovation of Hamburg Hall, and construction of Scott Hall, we can begin to see a transformation taking place along Forbes Avenue.

President Suresh has talked about the opportunity to harness this new infrastructure, together with the university’s historic strengths in research, creativity and entrepreneurship, to create a new innovation corridor — one that could rival the major hubs of innovation around the world, and make Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University a magnet for talent and an axis for ideas that have global impact. We envision an ecosystem of innovation spaces and activities that facilitate the structured and spontaneous interactions of diverse cohorts spanning industry, academia and community, and integrating all pertinent areas of expertise; from business, policy and technology to arts, sciences and humanities. You will hear much more about the innovation corridor, including the gateway project, in the weeks and months to come.


Farnam Jahanian
Vice President for Research and Provost-designate