The University at Buffalo's master plan will mean a significant investment and presence in downtown Buffalo, officials say.
Robert Shibley, UB professor of architecture and urban planning, said the long-range program to increase the physical reach of the university and boost enrollment will include development surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
"This is not about moving pieces around on the game board. This will be new development," Shibley said.
UB's plans are expected to boost its economic impact in the entire region from a current $1.5 billion to more than $2.1 billion during the next 15 years, officials say.
"We are one of the bigger economic games in town," Shibley said, and it's a role that will increase.
Last June, UB opened its $200 million Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, joining Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Center for Genetics and Pharmacology and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute on the new medical campus.
While additional investment in educational facilities is likely, UB's enhanced downtown presence also will include ventures to support UB students, faculty and staff involved in the medical campus, Shibley said.
"We'll need to develop residential space, parking and services -- for example, a mixed-use complex with parking and apartments for docs on the top floor. It won't just be labs or classrooms," Shibley said.
He said UB most likely will invest within a four- or five-block radius of the medical campus, roughly the area bounded by Michigan Avenue and Main, High and Goodell streets.
While no specific plans have been made public, Shibley said UB has "several potential acquisitions and leases in play."
Shibley presented an overview of UB's evolving master plan Wednesday to the Buffalo Place board of directors. The long-range planning effort aims to increase enrollment at UB to more than 35,000 over 15 years from from a current 25,000.
He noted that the university has earmarked $400 million for overall development in the next five years. The lion's share of specifics will become known in May 2008, when a final draft of expansion efforts is expected to be completed.