Update, Nov. 19, 5:58 p.m. We hear from David Stark, executive director of Stiles Hall, a bit more about the organization’s plans and perspective: “We would like to let our hundreds of supporters know that Stiles Hall has been in negotiations on this since its inception. We are excited about getting a new modern space in the development which will continue to be owned by Stiles Hall, independent of the University. They will also give us a nearby space to continue operations for the two years it’s being built. Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Original story, Nov. 16, 2 p.m. The University of California, Berkeley is planning to demolish a small building on Bancroft Way to make way for an 8-story mixed-use project set to house nearly 800 students.
An open house is planned for Monday, Nov. 16, from 6-7:30 p.m.
The new building would feature new ground-floor retail, as well as replacement space for existing programming. About 770 students would be housed in 19 “pods” described as “distinct communities” of 40 students each, most of whom would be in double-occupancy units.
“The primary purpose of the project is to provide incoming first year students state-of-the-art dormitory style residential accommodations,” according to a statement released by the university earlier this month. “Each pod will include a dedicated resident advisor, study lounge, and a pair of gender inclusive bathroom facilities.”
An existing surface parking lot for UC Berkeley affiliates would be replaced by the new building and “related landscape improvements.”
The proposed Stiles Student Housing Project would be located between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue, east of Dana Street and just south of the UC Berkeley campus.
Construction is proposed to begin by winter 2016, with occupancy of the building by fall 2018.
The university says it is following the city of Berkeley’s Southside Plan and the UC Berkeley 2020 Long Range Development Plan and Physical Design Framework for building design and the land use program.
“The University proposes to maximize the development potential of the site by constructing an eight story building. The proposed height and density of the building would mediate between the Telegraph Commercial Subarea at the Bancroft frontage east of the site, and the University’s nine-story residential units south of the project site, consistent with goals of the Southside Plan to build a more cohesive district,” according to the statement.
The university plans to enter into a ground lease with American Campus Communities, a Texas-based university housing development company, to help operate the 183,500-square-foot project. The company was founded in Austin in 1993, according to its website, and “has become the nation’s largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities.”
Stiles Hall is described on its website as a “private, non-profit agency dedicated to serving the broader community while enriching the lives of students at the University of California, Berkeley.” Its mission is to help low-income inner city youth stay in school; engage Cal students in community service; and “promote lasting interracial understanding, especially among future community leaders.”
The two-story building, according to a feature article published in 2009 by UC Berkeley’s public affairs department, is a “mix of student-services center, cauldron of social causes, incubator for campus and community initiatives, and an important contributor to diversity on campus.”
The original building, an 1892-era red brick Romanesque Revival mansion, at one point was the home of the YMCA. It was named after Anson G. Stiles, whose widow Ann donated the building to UC Berkeley. Malcolm X is said to have spoken there.
The UC Berkeley Food Pantry is also located in Stiles Hall.
At Monday night’s meeting, the project design team will be available to answer questions and provide additional information about the building. Materials will be available for review beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a short program at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting will take place in the Unit 3 all-purpose room at 2400 Durant Ave. Way-finding signs will be posted near Durant and Dana.
Do you rely on Berkeleyside for local news? Support independent journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside member for $10 a month or even less, or by making a one-time donation.