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Tuesday, October 03, 2023
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UB Foundation sells historic mansion in downtown Buffalo for $3.75 million

Foundation, administration “working closely” to determine best use of funds

<p>Washington, D.C.-based developer Douglas Jemal purchased the Butler Mansion from The University at Buffalo Foundation for $3.75 million.</p>

Washington, D.C.-based developer Douglas Jemal purchased the Butler Mansion from The University at Buffalo Foundation for $3.75 million.

The University at Buffalo Foundation, UB’s private endowment fund, sold the historic Butler Mansion to Douglas Development for $3.75 million, according to a news release

“The UB Foundation is working closely with the UB administration to determine the best use of the funds to further UB’s mission,” university spokesperson John Della Contrada said in an email. “We will announce the final use once a decision is made.” 

The university had “primarily” used the 23,859-square-foot property for professional development programs for local businesspeople, including those run by UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, according to Della Contrada. UB’s use of the building lessened in recent years as it centralized operations on its three campuses as a part of its master plan

“Rather than have the mansion under-utilized, UB believed it was in the best interest of the neighborhood to attract a buyer who will fully utilize the building and preserve its historic architecture and place in Buffalo’s history,” Della Contrada said. 

Delaware North Chairman and UB Council Chair Jeremy Jacobs donated the mansion, located at the intersection of North Street and Delaware Avenue, to the foundation in 2000. Construction on the building finished in 1899. Past owners include Erie County Savings Bank executive George L. Williams, Buffalo Evening News publisher Edward Hubert Butler Sr., the William C. Baird Foundation and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, according to The Buffalo News

Jacobs is a former foundation board member, and one of his sons, Delaware North CEO Louis Jacobs, is currently serving on the board, according to the foundation’s website. UB President Satish Tripathi thanked Jacobs for his support of UB’s efforts to sell the property in UB’s press release about the sale.

Washington, D.C.-based developer Douglas Jemal, owner of Douglas Development, purchased the property. 

“I pledge to devote every facet of my experience and creativity to re-position this wonderful asset of the city of Buffalo in a way that maximizes its usefulness to the surrounding neighborhood while retaining its stunning architectural beauty,” Jemal said in UB’s press release.

The mansion had been on the market for six months, according to Della Contrada. It was assessed to be worth $3 million, per the Erie County parcel database. 

The UB Foundation owns multiple other real estate holdings throughout Erie County, according to its website. Those properties include the Anderson Gallery, the UB president’s residence, all five on-campus apartment complexes and Greiner Hall. The foundation owns no other mansions, Della Contrada said. 

Grant Ashley is the managing editor and can be reached at



Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 



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