Former University of California Press building bought for $4.8 million

Jessica Gleason/Staff

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The building formerly home to the University of California Press was sold Tuesday after being on the market since November.

The UC Press building, located at 2120 Berkeley Way in Downtown Berkeley, was sold to Hedgemon Real LLC for $4.8 million — $500,000 above the original asking price, according to UC spokesperson Brooke Converse.

UC Press, the University of California’s publishing house, had resided in the three-story, mixed-use building for nearly 30 years. It recently moved its publishing operations to its new location at 155 Grand Ave. in Oakland.

The publishing house was founded in 1893, when the University of California was just 25 years old. According to its website, about one-fourth of the authors published through the UC Press are affiliated with the university.

The press prints approximately 200 new books and 40 multi-issue journals each year, and is one of the six largest university presses in the United States — and the only one of those six to be at a public university. As the nonprofit publisher for the University of California system, the mission of UC Press is to disseminate scholarship of enduring value to multiple audiences, according to its website.

The recently sold building is located just a couple blocks from campus and the Downtown Berkeley BART station. According to a release about the sale, the building contains private offices, a conference room, an elevator and central heat.

Hedgemon Real LLC could not be reached for comment on the purchase.

When the university owned the property, it was exempt from paying property taxes on the building as a California public school, but according to City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, now that the building has been sold to a private owner, the city will receive tax revenue from it.

He said in a statement that he is waiting to see what the building’s new owner has planned for it.

“The sale is a sign that Downtown real estate has become more lucrative as we become more of a vibrant destination,” Arreguin said in a statement.

East Bay-area real estate agency Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services handled the sale. The building first went on the market in November 2013, but no bids were received. According to Lori Rosenthal, a real estate agent for Gordon, the building went back on the market in July and received three bids in a competitive sealed bid sale.

Michael Caplan, the city economic development manager, said he was hopeful about what will be done with the building after the sale.

“They will do a great job in repurposing the building for a new generation of users,” he said in an email. “New investment in this building is yet another positive sign of Downtown Berkeley’s continuing revitalization.”

Contact Cassie Ippaso at [email protected].