UC Berkeley will begin construction in late 2017 on an approximately 10-story hotel on University Avenue and Oxford Street, located across from campus in Downtown Berkeley.
According to Rajiv Parikh, associate vice chancellor for real estate, UC Berkeley hopes to open the hotel in 2019, but developers are still in discussion with campus to finalize plans. Parikh explained that there are a couple reasons why the campus has decided to venture into the hotel industry — such as providing more places for visitors to stay and making a profit.
“One is that there is a sense that the campus and the surrounding area could use more hotel rooms to serve the people,” Parikh said, adding that the hotel would allow “the campus to make some revenue with the ground lease structure and help with budget issues.”
The campus’s official proposal for the building stated that the hotel will have approximately 200 bedrooms and stand at a maximum of 115 feet tall. Additionally, the hotel plans include accommodations allowing visitors to use parking spaces at a nearby parking facility owned by the campus.
The hotel will be constructed on a parcel of university-owned property, which is currently occupied by three local businesses — Mike’s Bikes of Berkeley, Brazil Cafe and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. These businesses currently have leases with the university, which will expire in August 2017.
Nate English, sales manager of Mike’s Bikes of Berkeley, said he knew the store would be relocating within the next one to three years. According to English, the store plans to look for a new location within Berkeley but has not yet begun the search.
Parikh explained that there are no plans to remove the businesses before the end of their lease but that there are further plans to meet with them to discuss the hotel project.
According to campus spokesperson Roqua Montez, the campus decided to enter the hotel industry in order to contribute to the city’s economy and participate in the robust Downtown area. Currently, the campus is still in negotiations with a prospective hotel developer and has not finalized the details of the project.
Ricky Devilla, property evening supervisor for Hotel Durant located on Durant Avenue and Bowditch Street, said the opening of the campus’s new hotel would not affect their business significantly. Devilla explained that Hotel Durant has a history with the city of Berkeley that has produced many longstanding relationships with parents of students.
With this project, the campus would be constructing its first-ever hotel. Bob Lalanne, campus vice chancellor of real estate, explained that many other campuses — such as UCLA — own hotels in order to support themselves.
“It’s a venue that will be made custom to Berkeley’s needs,” Lalanne said. “It will become another wonderful community space for the campus because it is a UC Berkeley hotel and conference center.”