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The University at Buffalo Medical School began its official return to downtown Buffalo today in a ceremony presided over by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The governor said the ground-breaking signals a major economic rebirth in the city and region.

With several hundred guests looking on, Cuomo joined SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, UB President Satish K. Tripathi and most of the area’s political, educational and business elite to sink ceremonial shovels into the construction site at Main and High streets on the booming Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“It just makes so much sense,” Cuomo told guests gathered under tents at the site. “It’s exciting to watch it; it’s exciting to be part of it. You can have a great idea, but then you have to get it done.”

The $375 million project, which will incorporate Metro Rail’s Allen/Medical Campus Station on its ground floor, will serve as an integral part of a Medical Campus projected to employ about 17,000 people in future years when all its components are completed. The governor and a host of other officials at today’s ceremony expressed nothing but optimism over the role the new facility will play as a key aspect of the Medical Campus.

“It’s also a return to our proud roots,” Tripathi said, referring to the former UB Medical School locations in the city not far from the new building. “The city is part of our history and a key to our future.”

The two L-shaped buildings – connected by a glass atrium – give the medical community a chance to better align and improve scientific research, medical education and patient care among the different institutions and health related professions.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com