UW-Madison Looks To Real Estate Development As Potential New Revenue Stream | Higher Education


Kris Olds, a professor of geography and urban planner at UW-Madison who studies universities and cities, was an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia in the 1980s when this transformation was initiated. The development of residential neighborhoods not only generated income for the university, but also made the neighborhood safer, more vibrant and more aesthetic, he said.

The endowment has grown to C $ 1.5 billion over the past few decades, although Olds and others have noted that each institution’s real estate market is unique and will produce very different levels of return.

“This is absolutely no way to make a quick buck,” said Olds, who led the Revenue Innovation Task Force. “It takes decades” to ensure that a university’s real estate strategy supports its broader missions and also aligns with city goals.

Potential ideas

No specific project or plot of land has yet been approved. UW-Madison officials may bring some initial ideas to the regents in December for approval.

Above ground parking lots are ripe for redevelopment, Cramer said. There may be fewer of these needed in the future, given how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the possibility of remote work and the planned bus rapid transit system of the city ​​will allow more employees to travel without a car.


Sara H. Byrd

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