During a recent tour of D’Youville’s future Pharmacy Program building*, I couldn’t help but envision what the neighborhood would look like in years to come. D’Youville’s campus is in the midst of adding a state-of-the-art academic and lab facility that will (Fall of ’10) attract top-notch faculty (starting with a Dean from Pittsburgh). As a matter of fact, Don Keller (photo right) clued me in that D’Youville has spent over $70,000,000, over the last ten years, on buildings including a library, a gymnasium, and apartments (lead image). Not only is there a building going up that will one day house a new pharmacy program, there are infrastructure improvements being made to Porter and Fargo that should contribute nicely to the dynamics of the neighborhood. Keller also told me that, like Canisius College, D’Youville offers incentives to its professors who are considering purchasing houses in the neighborhood. That’s good for the city on an ongoing basis.
I’m happy to see the continued growth of the D’Youville Campus as it extends out to Connecticut Street. Although there will be plenty of amenities inside the pharmacy building to keep the students busy, including a two-storey atrium, a computer lab and second-floor café, the students will be constantly coming and going adding needed life to the area. The influx of new students will also serve to alleviate the huge shortage of pharmacists – the first class will begin occupying the building in fall of ’10.
So with all of the recent investments, the new builds and the infrastructure improvements, my question is, “What direction will D’Youville go in next?” That was what I was pondering as I stood on the roof of the building’s seventh floor looking down Porter Avenue. I then looked out over in the direction of the Peace Bridge and recalled all of the vacant and decrepit-looking lots on Porter Avenue (formerly Duty Free). How is it that these prime parcels are so underutilized when just a couple of blocks down is a growing college looking for land? The land in question is owned by Duty Free I am told. So why is it that Duty Free relocated closer to the bridge years ago and the property sits vacant to this day? When will this land be freed up so that we can put it to better use?
If there is a larger conversation to be had, maybe it should emanate from the monthly meetings that D’Youville hosts. That is where the community has a chance to discuss the issues at hand. Hopefully as the infrastructure improvements on Porter Avenue move forward, all of the other pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. After all, if there are bike lanes and traffic calming features added to Porter, more and more students will be heading down to the waterfront… while some may even pass the old and new Duty Free lots as they come and go from Canada.
Designed by Cannon,
Construction Manager – Savarino
Ross Nostro – Project Manager (photo left)