Vice Chancellor for Real Estate Bob Lalanne resigns, position eliminated

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Vice Chancellor for Real Estate Robert Lalanne, who oversaw construction, development and maintenance of campus property, resigned Monday.

Lalanne, who assumed the position in January 2014, led the renovation of Bowles Hall as well the construction of Jacobs Hall and Maxwell Stadium Parking Garage, according to a campus news release from Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy.

The position of vice chancellor for real estate will be eliminated, and the campus said in the release that it will announce new plans to manage the campus’s real estate holdings shortly.

During the last two years, (Lalanne) has come to know the campus culture and needs regarding physical assets,” Biddy said in the release. “Noted for his focus on the big picture, Bob has been a great resource in identifying opportunities that are consistent with our values and that optimize our resources.”

The position was developed by outgoing Chancellor Nicholas Dirks when he first arrived on campus in 2013 as a way to integrate multiple existing positions that oversaw maintenance and construction.

Campus spokesperson Roqua Montez said in an email that Lalanne’s resignation was “his choice” and that his departure does not signal a shift in strategy to reduce the campus’s structural annual deficit of $150 million.

“A comprehensive review was carried out on the central campus to determine the existing condition, as well as the maintenance and renewal needs, of all campus facilities,” Biddy said in the release.

In his role, Lalanne oversaw the campus real estate portfolio, which includes properties in Richmond and Berkeley in addition to the campus. In December 2015, construction began on the first university facility in Downtown Berkeley — Berkeley Way West, which will replace the seismically unsafe Tolman Hall. In August, the campus announced that it planned to construct a hotel on property in Downtown Berkeley. 

The position of vice chancellor for real estate oversaw the Berkeley Global Campus, a project initiated by Dirks in October 2014, which was indefinitely suspended in August. Lalanne also helped launch the development of Albany Village senior housing and retail that is expected to bring in $1 million annually in ground lease payments.

The vice chancellor for real estate position is the second initiative started by Dirks to be eliminated. Andrew Szeri, the former vice provost for strategic academic and facilities planning, resigned in June and oversaw the Office of Strategic Initiatives, which was dissolved earlier in the year.

Lalanne is the eighth high-level administrator to resign — or announce their intent to resign or retire — in the past year, including Dirks, former provost and executive vice chancellor Claude Steele and former vice chancellor for administration and finance John Wilton.

Prior to his appointment, Lalanne was the founder of The Lalanne Group, a Bay Area real estate development company. He is a 1978 graduate of the campus College of Environmental Design.

Contact Austin Weinstein and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks at [email protected].