Capturing the Spin-Off: Higher Education as a Catalyst for Downtown Revitalization

October 10, 2013
The Study at Yale, New Haven, CT

ULI Boston's Connecticut Committee Presents:
Capturing the Spin-Off: Higher Education as a Catalyst for Downtown Revitalization

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Over the last several years, a number of Connecticut's public universities and community colleges have constructed facilities in downtown locations in a quest to increase enrollment and serve a broader range of students by offering affordable access to higher education. Attracted to transit hubs and walkable urban centers, institutions such as Housatonic Community College (Bridgeport), Capital Community College (Hartford), Gateway Community College (New Haven) and UCONN (Hartford & Stamford) have now developed downtown campuses, primarily within a Special Services District or Business Improvement District.

Downtown campuses generate critical masses of students, faculty and support staff, that are believed to create economic opportunities for the host municipality and adjacent businesses. In addition to the economic potential, bustling sidewalks are a critical component of place making and contribute to a vibrancy that can be seen and felt. Downtown campuses can also generate additional demands for transit, safety/security, and ancillary services.

Our panel will explore real and perceived impacts of academic institutions developing in downtowns with the intent of identifying realistic pathways for advancing economic spin off and working collaboratively through day-to-day operations.

Speakers and Panelists

  • Elaine Clark, Vice President for Real Estate, Facilities and Infrastructure Planning, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
  • Laura Cruickshank, Master Planner & Chief Architect, University of Connecticut
  • Win Davis, Executive Director, Town Green SSD, New Haven
  • Sandy Goldstein, President, Stamford Downtown Special Services District



Speaker Biographies:

Elaine Clark was appointed Vice President for Real Estate, Facilities and Infrastructure Planning for the Board of Regents for Higher Education in March 2012. Elaine and her staff oversee real estate transactions as well as capital planning and construction for the 17 public colleges and universities comprising the Connecticut State College and University System ("ConnSCU"). Prior to her arrival in Connecticut, Elaine served on the President's Cabinet at the University of Maine in Orono, as Executive Director for Facilities and Real Estate Planning (2006-February 2012); and as Director of the State of Maine's Bureau of General Services which managed construction of all governmental facilities, including public schools, throughout the State of Maine (1998 through February 2006). Prior to that, she headed up the Property Law section of the Maine Department of Transportation's legal division, where construction became the focal point of her work. Elaine is an attorney licensed in three states and serves on several not-for-profit boards.

Laura Cruickshank, AIA, University Master Planner and Chief Architect, joined UCONN in February 2013. Ms. Cruickshank is responsible for the immediate and long-range planning and development of the Storrs and Regional Campuses and the Law School. She has oversight of planning, design and construction in the development and management of the University's Capital Improvement Plan, UCONN 2000 and Next Generation CT programs.

Prior to joining UCONN, Laura Cruickshank was the Yale University Planner and directed planning and design on the Yale central campus. Ms. Cruickshank led Yale planning for the new Yale-NUS College in Singapore representing the University in the planning, design and construction of the new liberal arts college. She collaborated with an international team of architects, and partnered with professional and administrative colleagues from the National University of Singapore.

Ms. Cruickshank received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1975 and her Master of Architecture degree from the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning in 1980. She holds architectural registration in Connecticut and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Society for College and University Planning. She has served on private boards and public commissions including the General Services Administration peer review for the design of the new campus for the Department of Homeland Security.

Winfield Davis is the Executive Director of the Town Green Special Services District, in New Haven, CT. Since joining the Town Green District in 2001, he has created and implemented a number of public space programs and improvements to enhance the Downtown New Haven user experience. A lifelong resident of Greater New Haven, Win earned bachelor's degrees in History and Psychology from the University of Vermont. Win is a recipient of the New Haven Business Times "Forty Under 40" award and a graduate of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Greater New Haven program, for which he was selected as class speaker. He received a Rising Star Award in 2012. In 2008, Win participated in New Haven winning the "All America City" award. Win currently serves on the board of the New Haven Parking Authority, New Haven Festivals, Inc. and Liberty Community Services. He is also an active member of Downtown Wooster Square Management Team, Friends of the New Haven Green, and works with The Group With No Name (TGWNN).

Sandy Goldstein is President of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, a corporation responsible for the revitalization of Stamford Downtown. She works with stakeholders to position the downtown as a strong retail, dining, entertainment and residential destination. She currently serves on numerous Boards of Directors including Old Town Hall Redevelopment Agency, the Stamford Partnership, Board of Trustees of Ferguson Library, Tully Center Community Advisory Board, the Mill River Collaborative, the Stamford Police Foundation, the Stamford Chamber of Commerce and she is Vice Chairman of the Stamford Center for the Arts. She is the author of numerous articles on urban planning and a guest speaker and lecturer on urban revitalization throughout the region.

Sandy has an MS in Management from the Wagner School at New York University. She is the recipient of many community awards including the Ferguson Library's Lillian Moran Community Service Award, the Hannah G. Solomon Community Service Award, the Stamford Festival of Arts' Woman of the Year Award, and in 2012 received the Stamford UConn's Town and Gown Award.

Robert J. Sitkowski, RA, AICP, LEED AP serves as an Attorney within the Office of the General Counsel. Prior to joining the University, he was in private practice, where he focused on the legal aspects of sustainable development. He has significant experience in evaluating, drafting, and implementing land development regulations, and in representing developers, landowners, municipalities, and advocacy groups in land use matters. He is also a registered architect, a certified planner, and a LEED AP, earning a Bachelor of Architecture in Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Bob has written and presented extensively on land use law topics at regional and national meetings and symposia. He is the co-author of From Sprawl to Sustainability (American Bar Association, 2010), a past recipient of the "New Leaders of the Law" award presented by the Connecticut Law Tribune, a founding member (and present Executive Committee member) of the Form-Based Codes Institute, and a past winner of the American Planning Association's R. Marlin Smith Writing Competition.