UB Buys First Property Needed for New Med School

The University at Buffalo today announced the purchase of land at 960 Washington St., the first of needed to make way for construction of the new $375 million University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The lot is one of three properties, located at the southeast corner of Main and High streets, which UB hopes to acquire by the end of the year for its historic project to relocate the medical school from the UB South Campus to the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“In moving our medical school downtown, where it will be ideally aligned with local hospitals and other key life sciences partners, UB is staying true to our roots in more ways than one,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.

“Building healthier communities has always been a vital focus of our academic mission — from our early days as a small private medical school serving the City of Buffalo in the 19th century, to our 21st century role as a major public research university that enriches the quality of life both locally and globally.  The acquisition of this land is a timely and important next step as we move forward with this critical next phase of UB 2020.”

UB planners have selected HOK to design the state-of-the-art medical school and biomedical sciences center. Ground will be broken for the new UB facility in September 2013. One of the world’s leading architectural firms, HOK has a global portfolio of health sciences facilities and academic buildings and an international reputation for sustainable design.  HOK is currently finalizing the design for the building that is projected to be the largest new building to be built in Buffalo in decades.

The $375 million project, funded in part by NYSUNY 2020 legislation signed into law last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, is a key component of the UB 2020 plan for academic excellence, which is intended to benefit students, faculty, staff and the Western New York community. The new medical school will sit at the corner of High and Main streets, in the center of the region’s emerging biosciences corridor, a short walk from hospitals, research centers and incubators that nurture new bioscience start-up companies.

The acquisition was executed by UB Foundation Services Inc. (UBFS).

“This is an exciting step in an effort to create a world-class medical school on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  We are proud to facilitate this purchase on behalf of the university and its medical school,” said Robert Denning, chairman of the UBFS board.

UBFS paid $1.2 million to acquire the parcel from Evergreen Real Estate, whose partners are developer Michael Joseph and businessman Kevin Brinkworth, which has owned the property since 2005. Real estate firm CBRE Buffalo worked with the UBFS to broker the property transaction.  The property, also known as 23 High Street, was the site of the German American Brewing Company Building, a 12-story structure that had been converted to apartments and demolished a decade ago.

960Washington.JPGThe University at Buffalo Foundation noted that Joseph served on its board from 2002 through 2008, prior to when UB began contemplating relocation of its medical school to the downtown site.

FNUB Inc, an affiliate of the University at Buffalo Foundation, is continuing negotiations on other properties to accommodate the first phase of the medical school project.  Separate discussions continue between UB and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority regarding the Main-Allen Transit station, which the university would like to incorporate into the medical school building.

The first phase of the medical school is expected to open in 2016.

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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