Seismically unfit UC Berkeley building scheduled for demolition in 2018

Anissa Nishioka/Staff

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The seismically unfit former home of the UC Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies at 2223 Fulton St. is slated for demolition in 2018.

The campus hopes that the soft demolition, including the removal of hazardous material and interior partition walls, will begin before the end of 2017, according to campus spokesperson Roqua Montez. The actual building demolition is scheduled to begin at the beginning of 2018 and will take up to three months, and the estimated cost of the project is about $3.2 million, Montez said in an email.

The demolition was arranged because the building was deemed seismically unfit, and, according to Montez, a retrofitting of the building is not “financially feasible.”

Although the building has been cleared of occupants and content for almost a year, the project was not authorized until recently. Funding comes from the state through its fiscal year 2017-18 budget, which was approved at the beginning of the summer, according to Montez.

Currently, the campus has no plans to redevelop the space, Montez added.

During the demolition, the parking areas to the north and south of the building will be closed, along with one lane of Fulton Street in the northbound direction.

Martin Backstrom, associate director of the campus’s Institute of East Asian Studies, said the institute was housed in the Fulton Street building from 1985 until it was moved in 2014. The institute was then relocated to the Golden Bear Center on 1995 University Ave. and was also given a conference space in Doe Library.

The Fulton Street building also previously housed a unit of the School of Public Health, as well as the Athletic Ticket Office, which has since been relocated to the north side of Memorial Stadium.

Backstrom has been involved with the Institute of East Asian Studies since 2003 and worked in the Fulton Street building before the institute’s offices were relocated. According to Backstrom, the institute occupied three floors of the building, and employees were sad to relocate because of the building’s proximity to central campus.

“The building was not the most beautiful place, but it was still home,” Backstrom said.

Contact Ella Colbert at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @colbert_ella.