MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Marquette University has announced it is purchasing several properties in downtown Milwaukee -- and we're told there are plans to buy up more.
The university is calling it a major purchase -- expanding the university beyond its current borders. The 2.3-acre parcel cost more than $5 million, and is the equivalent of three city blocks.
A major part of the purchase is a 132,000 square foot office building near 8th and Michigan. It is vacant, after its former tenant, UMB Fund Services moved out this summer.
"We look at it as a once -in-a-generation opportunity. Whenever you had a campus that is in the middle of a downtown area, landlocked, you want to be able to have seven additional acres. It's quite an addition for Marquette," Marquette University Senior Director of University Communication Brian Dorrington said.
At his inauguration on September 19th, Marquette University President Michael Lovell announced that seven acres in all would be purchased soon.
A Marquette University spokesman says MU bought the acreage now because it is available. The current owner, Towne Reality, offered to sell it.
As for what the land will be used for, that hasn't yet been determined.
"One of the first things we're going to do as a university is to be able to have discussion with our faculty, staff and students to determine what the best uses would be for us as a university," Marquette University Senior Director of University Communication Brian Dorrington said.
This isn't the first time Marquette University has purchased land in an effort to expand the university. For two decades, the university has been buying up buildings, homes and businesses in an effort to grow and improve the area.
What will happen just southeast of the university with its most recent purchase has no timetable for development.
A Marquette University spokesman says the university likes to partner with the city of Milwaukee and local businesses -- so expanding into downtown Milwaukee is a natural thing to do.
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