Haas Institute recommends nonprofit partnership to manage Berkeley Global Campus development

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A study released by the UC Berkeley Haas Institute on Thursday night recommends that UC Berkeley consider partnering with a Community Development Entity to manage and finance the Berkeley Global Campus development.

A CDE is a nonprofit with the primary mission to provide investment capital to a low-income community or low-income people. In Richmond, the money could help fund affordable housing and workforce development, as opposed to being returned to shareholders in a typical private development model, according to the report.

The report says the CDE model is the same as a private-public partnership, but also has potential access to tax credits, reinvests its revenue in the community it serves and has a minimum 20 percent of its advisory board from the focus community.

UC Berkeley views the report as a helpful set of recommendations, but the BGC is at too early of a stage to select a development agency, said Ruben Lizardo, director of local government and community relations at the chancellor’s office.

The Structuring Development for Greater Community Benefit report is supported by a grant from the California Endowment, a private health foundation. Authors of the report include a graduate student, a Haas coordinator and a developer.

“(The use of a CDE is a) possible win-win because it meets the campus’s need for high-quality development and the community’s need for responsible development,” said Eli Moore, a program manager with the Haas Institute and co-author of the study.

The development of the global campus is estimated to cost $1 billion to $4 billion over its 40-year build out, according to the study. UC Berkeley is considering public-private partnerships in which it leases the land to a developer, but it currently has little experience using this model.

“Most of the capital campus projects — the big construction projects — in the last decade have been built with a mix of funds,” said Christine Shaff, spokesperson for the campus real estate division. This includes donor funds, foundation funding, state funds and federal funds.

Sarah Brundage, a second-year graduate student of public policy who co-authored the report with Moore and developer Joseph Recchie, finds it beneficial that the campus is considering the report.

“There’s the opportunity for Berkeley to be a trailblazer for a new campus financing model,” said Brundage.

The establishment of a CDE will need representation from the community and city of Richmond and will have to meet the campus’s expectations, according to Brundage.

David Sharples, director of the Contra Costa chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, based in Richmond, supports the CDE financing model.

“We want to make sure that the people of Richmond benefit from the Berkeley Global Campus through good paying jobs, affordable housing and economic opportunities,” he said.

Contact Pamela Larson at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @PamReporting.