Congressman Higgins Calls on UB to Play a Role in Statler Reuse
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is urging the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) to increase the University’s footprint in downtown Buffalo and suggesting they start by demonstrating their commitment to the city’s core and assuming responsibility for reuse of the Statler Tower.
In a letter to University President John Simpson the Congressman envisions the former Statler as the new home of UB Law School. Higgins writes, “The relationship between the University and its city is symbiotic. For the University to thrive the City must be strong, and for the City to succeed the University must be a great university…UB’s $1.3 billion annual budget and its spinoff are a significant component of metro Buffalo’s $39 billion GDP. With the possible exception of the Power Authority, no other state agency has the same level of impact on Western New York as UB.”
Higgins believes, like the Medical Campus, SUNY’s only law school should be located in the city’s law hub, “The present availability of the Statler…presents the State and the University with a serendipitous opportunity – the good sense of locating the law school among the region’s courts and related offices – literally across the street from the new $132 million federal courthouse – is self evident.” Higgins also pointed out that the top 43 largest law firms in the region, employing over 1,200 attorneys, are all located in downtown Buffalo.
“UB has the skills and the resources to be a part of the solution. With the relocation of the Law School they bring youthful energy and vitality to the urban core as well as an opportunity for their students to live, work and learn where all of the action takes place,” said Higgins. “In addition to providing an education center the Statler could provide residential opportunities for the Law School’s 57 faculty members, 740 students and dozens more support staff. “
“I understand they have taken a look at this in the past, but they need to look again. The University has an obligation to the City from which it gets its name,” added Higgins. “UB is an ideal anchor tenant and has the opportunity to do the right thing at the right time for the benefit of the University and the entire region.”