HOUSTON – The University of Texas closed on the purchase of 100 acres near the Astrodome – the first of several land acquisitions for its proposed Houston research campus.
The university plans to buy a total of 332 acres, about a mile south of Loop 610 near the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and West Bellfort.
The Houston campus is part of an ambitious vision by UT Chancellor William McRaven, a former Navy admiral who commanded the special ops raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
The 100 acres, located west of Buffalo Speedway and north Willowbend Drive, was purchased from Buffalo Lakes Ltd., a group led by Houston architect John Kirksey. The site is 3.5 miles south of the Texas Medical Center and – importantly – not far from the terminus of Metro light rail.
“The concept to expand UT’s footprint in Houston is part of Chancellor William H. McRaven’s vision and strategic plan, which he presented to the UT Board of Regents in November 2015,” the University of Texas said in a statement. “His ambitious plan includes eight Quantum Leaps—bold initiatives that will leverage UT’s size, scale and intellectual capital to provide the citizens of Texas with the very best in higher education, research and health care.
“McRaven is currently forming a task force composed primarily of Houstonians that will explore opportunities for how the land could be used to develop a higher education innovation, intellectual and idea hub that could ultimately increase Texas’ national and international competitiveness. The task force will focus on ways to significantly increase research funding and educational opportunities in nationally-emerging fields and will be asked to avoid recommending programs or initiatives that duplicate what other Houston institutions are already providing,” the University said.
“The UT System recognizes that Houstonians—the people who know their city best—are best positioned to determine how the land is ultimately utilized. While this will be a decades-in-the-making endeavor, UT System leaders are confident that the acquisition of this land is an opportunity to act boldly and strategically in the best interests of Houston and the entire state of Texas,” the University said.