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April 22, 1998

UC headquarters moves to downtown Oakland

By Terry Colvin
UC Office of the President

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) is moving to a new building in downtown Oakland--just across the street from the site where UC first opened its doors 130 years ago.

Nearly 1,000 UCOP employees will move into the new headquarters at 1111 Franklin St., between 11th and 12th streets, beginning April 25.  For the last 10 years, UCOP has leased space in the Kaiser Center on Lakeside Drive across from Oakland's Lake Merritt.

The new structure, which is being purchased by the university from the contractor-developer for $38.2 million, includes eight stories of office space and five underground. It contains approximately 225,000 square feet of useable office space as well as space for retail services on the ground level.

"This is a significant event in the life of the University of California because we've come back to where we started," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson.

A bronze plaque on the corner of 13th and Franklin, diagonally across from the new building, commemorates the university's founding on March 23, 1868 on a two-square-block site donated to the state by the College of California. The University of California began with 38 students and 10 faculty members.  Today, it includes nine campuses, with a 10th in the planning stages, 170,000 students and 137,000 faculty and staff members.

"I believe the university's founders would be very proud of how far their school has come since it began in downtown Oakland. They launched us with high expectations and we return now as the best public research university in the world with excellence established in every field of study," Atkinson said.

Atkinson said UC is also proud of the role it will play in the redevelopment and renaissance of downtown Oakland. Located one block from the Oakland City Center, the new building has been identified by city officials as a key element in Oakland's redevelopment of its Broadway corridor.

The city estimates that the new UCOP headquarters will generate more than $4 million annually in taxes and parking fees from a portion of the building's parking lot that the city will operate.

The location for UC's central administration was chosen from among 31 proposals received less than three years ago from Bay Area building owners and developers when UC began looking to alternatives to the Kaiser Center. The Franklin Street site was selected because it most closely fit the criteria UC needed for its headquarters--including low long-term costs, a Bay Area location central to public transit and adequate parking. The UC Board of Regents authorized the purchase of the building in March 1996.

"This facility meets our qualifications in every regard," said V. Wayne Kennedy, UC senior vice president for business and finance. "Cost-savings were uppermost in our minds when we set out to look for new office space prior to the expiration of our Kaiser lease, and we've accomplished that goal. We also have the flexibility to grow and contract, as necessary, over the life of the building through the use of leased space."

UC officials estimate that the university will save at least $1 million a year by purchasing the new building and housing the majority of its staff there rather than continuing to lease office space for the entire headquarters. The 10-year lease on UCOP's offices at the Kaiser Center expires at the end of April.

The university will realize the cost savings even though some office-space will continue to be leased in the Kaiser Center. That space will house employees whose duties do not deal with UC's system-wide management, including special research and outreach programs as well as portions of the employee benefits office and computer center. The UC Office of the Treasurer will move to leased offices at 1111 Broadway in Oakland.

Additional cost savings were realized through the development plan and purchase agreement UC reached with Oakland's redevelopment agency and the private developers who built the new office. The Oakland Developments Joint Venture formed by developer Lankford/Hensel Phelps of San Diego purchased the 38,000 square-foot lot from the city, designed the building and constructed it in consultation with UCOP. It will then be purchased by UC in what the building industry calls a "turn-key" transaction.

As part of the financial agreement, the city bought 150 parking spaces in the new building for $3.5 million and will operate a new city parking garage there. The building also has 300 parking spaces in a separate UC-owned garage.

Construction on the steel and gray concrete building was begun in Oct. 1996 and was completed on schedule. The building was designed and constructed to highest safety and seismic standards. Structural architects for the project were Kaplan, McLaughlin & Diaz and the interior architect was Gordon H. Chong and Partners, both of San Francisco.

Amenities for employees include a lunchroom and lounge, bicycle parking and a rooftop garden over a section of the garage. The building has also been equipped with the latest in computer networking, including a videoconferencing room and high-speed Internet and e-mail connections at each desktop.

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