UConn's Board of Trustees has approved the school's plan to move a satellite campus from its current location in West Hartford to downtown Hartford.
"This is a historic day for Connecticut, the city of Hartford, and for UConn," UConn President Susan Herbst said at a ceremony on Tuesday.
The board approved the plan Tuesday afternoon shortly before Herbst signed a development agreement for the project.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said it was a long time coming.
"Quite frankly, it was talked about for too long and too little action was taken," Malloy said.
UConn trustee Tom Ritter said that the move was supposed to happen in 2000 but that the university had some negotiating to do first.
The cost of the project is at least $70 million, but UConn will have a more finely tuned number for its next trustees meeting in June.
The school hopes to open its classrooms in what was the Hartford Times building by the fall of 2017.
The campus would be home to about 2,300 students and about 250 faculty members. Spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz says the school also has a deal with nearby parking garages, and is in talks with Connecticut Transit about establishing a pass that would allow students to ride the bus for free during the school year.
The school plans to sell its current campus in West Hartford.