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Plan Unveiled for Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A master plan to fully develop the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus was unveiled to business leaders, health care professionals, government and community leaders Thursday. Medical campus officials say the plan is to develop a world-class urban center for clinical care, scientific research and medical education.

The campus encompasses 100-acres of land in downtown Buffalo bordering Main Street, North Street, Michigan Avenue and Goodell. Alex Krieger, head of Chan Krieger Associates, an internationally-known urban design firm, helped develop the plan. Krieger says the master plan would create Ellicott Street as the "common address" for new buildings and outlines future development to improve Michigan and the Fruit Belt neighborhood.

Krieger says the campus is not being constructed from scratch. It includes existing institutions like Roswell Park.

"This is a very large project involving three of the five institutions," Krieger said. "It is largely funded and the designs are fairly well advanced. So this is not something that is being thought about or might happen if this plan is implemented. We've been actually running full speed to catch up with this particular initiative."

UB, Roswell Park, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research, Kaleida Health and the Buffalo Medical Group are founding members of the campus.

Ground was broken in September for the Buffalo Life Sciences Complex. That will be the heart of the campus along Ellicott and Virginia and include UB's Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics. Thomas Beecher, chair of the medical campus board of directors, says the plan also recommends investing $7 million in infrastructure improvements over three to five years.

Beecher says while the campus will add to the local economy, it's really "all about science."

"Probably more important is the impact of healing. This will be a place where many come for healing," Beecher said. "They do now and we hope there will be more coming here in the not to distant future. We hope there will be more clinical participation down here. Therefore more opportunities for patients to visit."

Beecher says local medical research is reaching far beyond Western New York with thousands of patients already visiting the medical campus each year.