Regents to approve naming of new Ross building

By Sam Gringlas, Daily News Editor
Published October 13, 2014

The University’s Board of Regents will convene Thursday at the University of Michigan—Flint’s campus to approve a handful of proposals, including the naming of the new Ross School of Business academic Building for University alum and real estate executive Jeff Blau.

In a communication to the regents, Business Dean Alison Davis-Blake and Douglas Strong, interim executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote that Blau had made a $5 million donation to the school, on top of a previous $4 million gift in 2006.

The 104,000-square-foot academic building will be constructed on the corner of East University Avenue and the Monroe Mall, on the site of the school’s former Computer and Executive Education facility. The new building is part of a $135 million construction project, which is aiming to add additional office and classroom space and create a cohesive look for the entire Business School campus.

The project is largely funded by a gift from real estate mogul Stephen Ross, a University alum who made a record-breaking $200 million donation to the University last fall. The gift was to be evenly split between the namesake Ross School of Business and the Athletic Department. Last spring, the University’s regents voted to name the rename much of south campus the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus.

In September, the regents approved the construction of a $168 million South Campus athletics facility, funded in part by the Ross donation.

Blau is a 1990 graduate of the Business School, a current member of its advisory board and the CEO of Related Companies, the real estate firm Ross founded. In a September 2012 talk in Ann Arbor, Ross announced plans for Blau to succeed him as the company’s chief executive.

According to the regents’ communication, Blau has agreed to “release” the University from its previous agreement to name the school’s auditorium after him, which will occur on the first day of classes in fall 2015. In exchange, the new academic facility will be named Jeff T. Blau Hall.

The University is in the middle of the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign, which is aiming to raise $4 billion over the next few years.