University acquires key plot of land in medical corridor

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With politics in Albany creating a cloud over the future of UB2020, President John B. Simpson pushed forward Monday afternoon with the expansion of the Downtown Campus. In an announcement with Rev. Michael Chapman, pastor of St. John Baptist Church and president of the Oak-Michigan Housing Development Corporation, Simpson announced the purchase of the McCarley Gardens housing complex for $15 million, which will be used for future construction for the Downtown Campus. In addition, Chapman announced a $500 million East Side development plan, which will “be a catalyst” for economic development and improve the quality of life for residents in one of Buffalo’s poorest neighborhoods. “This will give the university the ability to do the things it needs to do without any costs to taxpayers to build UB2020, to build the downtown academic health center and to move forward in partnership with our community,” Simpson said. “We have a shared vision for revitalization and we agree on how to get it done.” According to Chapman, the urban development project could be the most comprehensive plan currently underway in the country. “We could have just made this a real estate deal,” Chapman said. “But the leadership of St. John’s said that the entire community should benefit from this endeavor. We want the entire community to be blessed by this.” The plan includes $60 million worth of new townhouses for displaced residents from McCarley Gardens. The new homes will be located on High Street. Also, new housing for senior citizens, residential areas for veterans, a youth center costing $20 million, a mental health facility and a business training center will be built as part of the revitalization plan.

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