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UB Looking to Expand Downtown, Big Time

The University at Buffalo is pushing to purchase a well-kept, low rise housing project in the shadows of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  Over time, the 15-acre McCauley Gardens site would be used to relocate the university’s medical schools and 13,000 students and staff downtown.  Bounded by Harriett Tubman Way to the east, Virginia Street on the north, North Oak Street on the west and Goodell Street on the south, McCarley Gardens was built in 1978 and has 150 townhome units in 23, two-story buildings.

The Buffalo News has the details on the proposed move:

While it could take decades, university officials envision moving all health-related fields from the South Campus to downtown, including the schools of medicine, public health, nursing, dental medicine and pharmacy.

Such a build-out also would mean the need for other facilities, including housing, dining and retail.

A burgeoning health sciences campus could ultimately draw 13,000 students, staff and faculty downtown.

If the land deal with St. John Baptist Church, which owns the 15-acre parcel, goes through, about 150 tenants of the subsidized McCarley Gardens apartments would be displaced.

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Tenants would be offered the opportunity to move into new townhouses planned for the Fruit Belt neighborhood.  That project carries a $60 million price tag but not all of the residents are pleased:

Some residents said they were reluctant to move into the Fruit Belt, a 36-block community bordering the medical corridor that has long been plagued by vacant and run-down properties.

Longtime McCarley resident Kimberly Henderson said she is worried about crime and drugs in the Fruit Belt. “It’s not a place where you want to raise children,” she said. “The simpler solution would be to just give us vouchers and have us move wherever we want to.”

“It cannot be done to the people, it has to be done with the people,” said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, D-Buffalo, who has been involved in the discussions.

The future of the South Campus is unclear.  UB has plans to backfill the South Campus, post coming soon.

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A pair of the recently completed 28 townhomes built by St. John’s Church in the Fruit Belt neighborhood.

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