The mission of the UWM Real Estate Foundation (REF) is to develop and hold real estate for the benefit of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Our first two projects, beginning in 2005, were to build additional residence halls for UWM students. By 2010, we had opened two new facilities, RiverView Hall and Cambridge Commons, housing over nearly 1,200 students. This met the University’s goal of being able to require that all freshmen reside in University supervised facilities.
In November 2012, Michael Cudahy donated the Cozzens Cudahy Research Center to the REF for the benefit of UWM students, faculty and staff. The REF owns and maintains this building which is home to university research labs and educational and community outreach programs. We also assisted the University in the purchase of a new Chancellor’s residence, which is critical to the campus fundraising efforts.
Our largest project currently under development is the UWM Innovation Campus. The REF purchased 88 acres of the Milwaukee County Grounds for the development of this “third generation” research park that will offer a venue for UWM to collaborate with the Academic Medical Center located across Watertown Plank Road and provide space for private research intensive companies that will provide opportunities for our faculty and students. The first two buildings are scheduled to open in 2014. The first building will be owned and operated by the REF as an Innovation Accelerator where faculty will have facilities to work with private sector partners. The second building is being developed by the Zilber Property Group as the Wisconsin headquarters for ABB, Inc., a global engineering company.
Public/private partnerships are the key to public higher education growth in the 21st century. I am honored to serve as Chair of the UWM Real Estate Foundation and to have the opportunity to leverage the power of these partnerships for the future of Metropolitan Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin.
Bruce T. Block, Ph.D