Richard T. Reinhard, long-time executive director of Buffalo Place Inc., is resigning his position effective in September to accept a year-long fellowship to Harvard University.
Reinhard has received a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Eleven of 86 applicants were accepted into the program.
Established in 1970 by financier John L. Loeb, the program offers postprofessional awards for independent study at the Cambridge, Mass., institution.
The Loeb fellowship program is open to midcareer professionals from both the private and public sector and includes among its more than 200 alumni architects and landscape architects, urban designers, housing specialists and community advocates.
"This is a great opportunity for me to learn more about planning, architecture, design and the environment," Reinhard said.
"This is the Harvard Graduate School of Design reaching out to the nonarchitectural community and is a very prestigious award," said Robert Shibley, head of the University at Buffalo's Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning.
"(The Loeb Fellowship program) is a strong outreach to help make great places happen," Shibley said. "Rick is being rewarded for his very innovative work at Buffalo Place, which has been acknowledged nationwide."
Reinhard, 39, has been executive director of Buffalo Place, the not-for-profit organization created to manage and promote downtown Buffalo's 24-block transit mall, since 1987.
The Syracuse native generally is credited with playing a major role in making Main Street more worker- and visitor-friendly.
Through his work and in cooperating with other organizations, a number of major downtown events were initiated or saw tremendous growth, including A Taste of Buffalo, the Gus Macker three-on-three basketball tournament, Thursday at Buffalo Place, the Farmer's Market and First Night.
During his tenure, Buffalo Place Inc.'s budget has grown to $1.5 million from $900,000, with special district charges generating 75 percent of the total.
"Rick is a titanic worker; he knows everyone downtown and has a great rapport with them," said Stuart Hunt, Buffalo Place Inc.'s chairman. "It certainly will be a big job to replace him."
Reinhard came to Buffalo in 1987 after serving 3 1/2 years as chief executive officer of the 500-member Central Richmond Association business association in Richmond, Va.
Prior to that he was project director for one year for the West Houston Association, an area improvement organization in Houston, and before that worked three years as a reporter at the Syracuse Herald-Journal.
"Harvard's gain is Buffalo's loss," Mayor Masiello said. "Rick has been a tremendous asset to the city and one of Buffalo's greatest allies. And I still feel he will be part of Buffalo's future."
Reinhard left the door open to returning to the Queen City. "I would love to come back to Buffalo; I love the city and while I'm at Harvard I'll have an opportunity to work on a project or two relevant to Buffalo, although I don't know right now what they might be," he said.