Well, that's a shame! For weeks Stanford and Cornell were the presumed neck-and-neck frontrunners to build a high-tech applied science campus in the city. But today the left coast institution sent out a press release announcing that it was withdrawing from the process immediately. Why? Because the school suddenly feels that "it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity."

"I applaud the mayor's bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality," Stanford President John Hennessy said in the release. "Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York, and we are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals." He continued that by withdrawing he hoped "the city can move forward with its selection process and meet its tight timelines for the completion of the project."

The city, for its part, is pretending it doesn't mind the loss. Deputy Press Secretary Julie Wood says that, "This competition is about changing the future of the City’s economy, and we are thrilled that we have a number of proposals that we believe will do exactly that. We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up."

Just last month Bloomberg, whose made this project one of his third-term babies, told people that, "Stanford is desperate to do it—I’m not exaggerating." Apparently they weren't that desperate.

Stanford's exit makes Cornell the presumed frontrunner for the city's free real estate and $100 million in infrastructure help. Though there is still always the chance that Bloomberg and co. will pick NYU's downtown Brooklyn landgrab or Rockefeller University's Midtown proposal. The mayor's office says they hope to announce the winning proposal soon.