Campus News

Partnership connects students with real estate professionals


Published November 8, 2018

headshot of Ernest Sternberg.
“Support from Blue Cardinal Capital is helping us bring professionals with some of the most sophisticated and innovative ideas about real estate investment to campus. ”
Ernest Sternberg, professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning

UB real estate development and urban planning students are exploring the effects of market and technology innovations on the built environment, thanks to support from a Buffalo-based real estate private equity firm.

A series of curricular and extracurricular activities in the School of Architecture and Planning is sponsored by Blue Cardinal Capital, a real estate private equity firm focused on unlocking the advantages of second- and third-tier real estate markets in the United States and Canada.

These activities are designed to create opportunities for interaction and collaborative work among students, faculty, alumni, the Blue Cardinal Capital team and other practitioners.

Programming support from Blue Cardinal Capital will create powerful teaching and research opportunities at UB, according to Ernest Sternberg, professor of urban planning and associate dean of strategic initiatives in the School of Architecture and Planning. Sternberg helped found UB’s master of science program in real estate development in 2015.

“Our programming is meant to bring research and best practices together with experienced professionals. Support from Blue Cardinal Capital is helping us bring professionals with some of the most sophisticated and innovative ideas about real estate investment to campus,” Sternberg says, adding, “We are grateful that the firm has taken an interest in our education and research programs.”

Robert Richardson, managing partner of Blue Cardinal Capital, says the firm’s aim is to invest in both the talent and knowledge that will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry.

“The growing demand for real estate professionals and Blue Cardinal Capital’s expansion plans make it extremely important to nurture the next generation and encourage them to engage in the local real estate community,” says Richardson, a former M&T Bank executive who formed Blue Cardinal Capital in 2017.

The exploration of innovation started this semester with a colloquium series featuring national experts in real estate development and related professions.

Twenty experts have come to UB to address the implications of technological and economic innovation for real estate development and cities. Topics include autonomous transportation, the sharing economy, the future of retail, emerging construction methods, green infrastructure, solar energy-related development, smart buildings and innovation districts.

Sternberg says the conversation has been provocative. “How might we change the design of our cities and streets — and homes — as driverless cars are introduced? How must buildings adapt to rising temperatures and extreme weather events? And how might artificial intelligence change the way we work, and how workspaces are designed? These are major trends that will change the very nature of how we plan, design and build communities,” he says. “The colloquium series probes these questions and provides a critical lens into the way our profession will need to respond.”

Future activities include seminars and studios that focus on innovation, a student ideas competition and periodic workshops for industry professionals. Publications co-developed by the school and Blue Cardinal Capital will extend this exploration in key professional and academic forums. Further enhancements to the student experience will include Blue Cardinal Capital support for scholarships, mentoring, skills development and career preparation assistance.

“Our firm is proud to support the real estate program at the University at Buffalo,” Richardson says. “The school’s focus on innovation and emerging trends in real estate aligns well with our investment philosophy and underscores the macro trends that are shaping the real estate investment industry globally.”