Applications open for new student housing complex

Housing applications for the new Martinez Commons are now being accepted for the fall of 2012.
Eugene W. Lau/Staff
Housing applications for the new Martinez Commons are now being accepted for the fall of 2012.

UC Berkeley students can now apply to live in a new housing complex near People’s Park that is currently under construction and is expected to open in the fall.

Maximino Martinez Commons, a complex built for 416 students, will offer priority to continuing sophomores and upper-division students and will open at 2538 Channing Way — the former site of the Anna Head West parking lot — facing the park and the Channing-Bowditch Apartments.

Housing applications opened online Wednesday, and the deadline for continuing students to submit housing applications for the next academic year is Feb. 15.

Construction on the commons began in September 2010 and is expected to conclude by the start of the fall semester’s move-in weekend, according to Christine Shaff, communications manager for the campus facilities services department.

The complex will offer 98 double-occupancy residence hall rooms, as well as 52 multiple-room apartments. According to the UC Berkeley housing website, 2012-2013 rates in the commons are $9,916 for single-occupancy apartment rooms and $14,169 for double-occupancy residence hall rooms.

For “financial aid purposes,” according to the website, the apartments will be considered off-campus housing, whereas the residence halls are officially designated on-campus housing.

Shaff said the project’s budget — which was originally approved by the UC Board of Regents for almost $70 million — has stayed financially on track, with the construction timeline going smoothly.

According to Chris Harvey, director of capital projects for Residential and Student Service Programs on campus, security was a priority in the planning.

“The UCPD developed the security plan for the entire site, including the number and placement of blue phones, security cameras, gates and emergency phone locations,” Harvey said.

According to Harvey, a demand study was done to evaluate needs for sophomores and upper-division students, leading to the ongoing development of additional campus housing. The new residence hall will give priority to second-year sophomores, whereas the apartments will house sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Harvey added that the campus real estate department is currently looking into other potential housing sites, including a property at the corner of Channing and Ellsworth Street.

The commons are named in honor of a campus staff member who passed away in 2003. Residence hall floors will come with a shared kitchenette in the common area, while apartments will be equipped with full kitchens.

According to the Res Hall Facebook page, housing spots for the entire complex will be based on a lottery system.

Shaff said the complex is expected to be ready by the fall semester, adding that “any project has its different challenges, but this one is on track.”

Marty Takimoto, director of marketing communications for the programs, said he expects the new complex to alleviate needs for second-year students looking for more spacious and private on-campus housing.

According to Takimoto, freshman applications for the commons will not be accepted this year.

“We anticipate that because this is going to be our first new university housing option in 10 years and because of its proximity to campus, that it will be very popular,” Takimoto said.

Amy Wang covers academics and administration.

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  • Dude

    If the University had the balls to actually do something about People’s Park – and were backed by a City Council that wasn’t absolutely insane and believed in economic progress versus keeping Berkeley a regressive impoverished and blight-ridden dump – then expensive “security” measures for this facility wouldn’t be so essential.

  • Dude

    The Berkeley tradition for selecting absolutely horrible sounding names for its housing facilities is alive and well, I see.
    On another note, very pleased that the University is prioritizing housing. 

  • Writing Critic

    This article contains poor quality writing and organization.

  • Abc

    Read this first as “anal head”.  Probably would have had more applicants with the typo.

  • Guest

    Lol, live next to people’s park, there’s only a 60% chance you’ll be robbed at gunpoint.

    Thank you berkeley liberals for this neverending public blight.

    • Wunderschonen

      I’m a Berkeley Liberal and I take no credit for this blight, in fact I’d prefer that the park be bulldozed over and the space made into something useful. Liberals are not necessarily radicals, just like all conservatives are not necessarily Fundamentalists.

      It’s an interesting thought though… Conservatives value capitalism and free enterprise, but would they call the epicenter of smoke shops: Telegraph Avenue a success? But then again I’m going off topic and that’s only relevant insomuch as we’re discussing Berkeley’s “blight”.