Housing Master Plan Advisory Group Progress Update

The following update was sent to the campus community on March 15, 2018:

Dear Campus Community,

As co-chairs of the Housing Master Plan Advisory Group, we are writing to provide you with an update on our efforts to expand access to safe, affordable and convenient housing to Berkeley’s students and young faculty members.

In the summer of 2016, then-provost and current chancellor Carol Christ convened and chaired the Housing Master Plan Task Force to respond to the shortage of housing for UC Berkeley students. The task force released this report in early 2017 that detailed campus goals for housing and identified several campus-controlled sites for potential development.

After that report’s completion, we were asked by Chancellor Christ to co-chair an advisory group that would, among other things, solicit and analyze feedback on the report’s recommendations, develop the necessary financial plans for each prioritized site and create a development timeline. While work continues in all of these areas, our year-long efforts to engage campus and community constituencies in meaningful dialog have been wide-ranging and constructive, helping us to advance the work necessary to formulate a comprehensive housing master plan.

Key to our success is alignment with the University of California Office of the President. In conjunction with UC President Janet Napolitano’s system-wide student housing initiative, UC Berkeley has engaged Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a real estate advisory firm to prepare a housing market demand study. JLL will support the campus in issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to eight development firms selected by the University of California as pre-qualified to respond to campus-specific housing efforts.

It is appropriate and necessary to develop a holistic housing master plan from the outset. This is a critical step as there are relatively few campus-controlled sites for housing development, each with inherent tradeoffs.

We are pleased to share updates on progress made to date and preview what lies ahead:

  • David Blackwell Hall – our newest residence hall – will open its doors in August 2018, providing more than 750 beds for incoming freshmen students, along with study and activity spaces. Blackwell Hall will be completed on time and on budget, an example of how public-private partnerships between the University and experienced developers can deliver the facilities critically needed by our students and faculty.
  • Master lease agreements have recently been signed by the campus at privately developed housing projects now under construction. They are projected to expand our inventory by more than 665 beds for undergraduate and graduate students by 2023. The first two buildings are scheduled for completion in the summer of 2018, making 254 beds available for the 2018-19 academic year. Coordinated through our Residential and Student Service Programs, each of these buildings is within a few minutes’ walk or bike ride from campus, or directly adjacent to a BART station.
  • At the Upper Hearst Parking Structure on the northeast edge of campus, the Goldman School of Public Policy is moving forward with an innovative project that will create vital new academic and study spaces for its growing enrollment, maintain as much parking as possible, incorporate much-needed faculty and graduate student housing, and will be available for rent to members of the public. Additional project details will be shared with the campus and at an open house for neighbors in the coming months.
  • Under the leadership of Vice Provost Tsu-Jae King Liu and College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless, the Oxford Tract Planning Committee has completed and posted its reports which can be found here. It provides findings and recommendations regarding the educational, research and participatory programs currently located at the Oxford Tract, and analyzes prospective alternative locations for these activities.
  • Other sites identified in the 2017 Housing Master Plan Task Force under consideration include Channing-Ellsworth, People’s Park, Albany Village, Bancroft-Oxford, Smyth-Fernwald, and the Richmond Field Station.

Housing is critical to the academic, professional and personal pursuits of all members of the Berkeley campus community. We continue to listen and gather feedback on future housing projects from the campus and our neighbors.

We hope and expect to have additional information and announcements related to some of the proposed sites in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we appreciate your support in advancing solutions that enable the campus to address current and future housing needs.

Sincerely,

Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D.
Interim Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Co-chair, UC Berkeley Housing Master Plan Advisory Group

Rajiv Parikh
Associate Vice Chancellor, Capital Strategies
Co-chair, UC Berkeley Housing Master Plan Advisory Group