Placement of Student Housing Crucial to Lexington

Lexington Skyline | photo by Jeff Rogers |

Report calls on UK to build housing that benefits downtown Lexington

By Linda B. Blackford, 5.17.12,

The University of Kentucky is preparing to replace and greatly increase its student housing, and where that happens is crucial to the well-being of Lexington, according to a new report.

Much of UK’s student housing is located away from walkable commercial corridors, and a better solution would be to create mixed-use spaces closer to the core of downtown Lexington, concluded Omar Blaik, an expert in town-gown communities.

Blaik has written a $45,000 study on the problems and promise of the community bordered by UK, Transylvania University and the new Bluegrass Community and Technical College location on Fourth Street…Read more at


Omar Blaik, president of U3 Ventures, and Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting bask in a beautiful day in Midtown Detroit at the Avalon Bakery on Tuesday. They are working on Midtown's resurgence. | KATHLEEN GALLIGAN | Detroit Free Press

Omar Blaik: Universities and Communities Working Together

Bluegrass Community Foundation, 7.14.11

As Lexington and the Anchor Institutions have grown over the years it has impacted the Universities, the city, and the region. It is time for us band together and recognize we are interdependent and look at how we can move our economy, sustainability, community, regional health, and Anchor Institutions toward excellence. A first step it to hire Omar Blaik of U3 Ventures, a consultant, to help us with a road map for success.

Anchor institutions, better known as higher education institutions and healthcare facilities, are an often-overlooked as an integral part of communities and regions they occupy and vice versa. These institutions, which hire and employ thousands and purchase hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services annually, can have an important economic and physical impact on their surrounding neighborhoods and host cities. In addition the health and economy of the host communities and neighborhoods impact these institutions. Working together benefits everybody.

Lexington and its anchor institutions – The University of Kentucky, The UK Healthcare campus, and Transylvania University and BCTCS- are inextricably linked to each other and the fate and destiny of all are critical to each other’s success. While these anchors and the city are geographically linked, they have neither unlocked the potential economic opportunity, nor developed a sustainable physical connection associated with a truly integrated campus and community.

Omar Blaik, President and CEO of U3 Ventures have a track record of turning ideas into reality for campuses and communities across our country. U3 Ventures proposed to start working in June 2011 with the City of Lexington and its anchor institutions to define and implement a strategy that will leverage the institutions’ economic impact and improve the quality of life for all residents. They envision this engagement as a long-term partnership that begins with the first phase being a thorough analysis of the local context, and a definition of the potential impact of coordinated economic development strategies.

Our community is ready to move forward with this progressive proposal. To do so we need your help. Please join the University of Kentucky, the Blue Grass Community Foundation, and Transylvania University, BCTCS, citizens across Lexington and the region as we join together in supporting this effort .

With your contribution our future starts today. This link will allow you to make an on-line contribution or get information for sending a check through Bluegrass Community Foundation. All contributions are tax deductible and any amount will be appreciated.

For More Information,

“Penn Offers Example of Effective Town-Gown Integration,” 3.18.11.

“Town and Gown III: The University-Neighborhood Connection”, by Omar Blaik, 2.16.11, 2011 Lafayette Seminar in Public Issues

2011 Lafayette Seminar “Town and Gown III: The University-Neighborhood Connection”, 2.15.11,




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