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UC Berkeley wants to build a 10-story hotel

A lesson in entrepreneurship could open in 2019

There are certain things a state-of-the-art public university needs: classy libraries, cutting edge science and engineering labs, inviting community and public space, and, it seems, a privately-owned, 200-room hotel.

In a perhaps surprising move, UC Berkeley does indeed want to ground lease some of its property on University Avenue and Oxford Street to developers to throw up a 10-story hotel structure downtown.

The university floated the proposal last December, has considered various developer pitches since February, and according to Berkeleyside, has now negotiated the deal down to one as-yet unnamed party who will most likely get the nod.

The site is two parcels totaling four tenths of an acre, dubbed either 2161 University or 1900 Oxford, depending on which side you’re coming at it from. Of course, it’s not exactly unusual for UC Berkeley to lease some of its land to private interests; the parcels are presently home to three businesses, Mike’s Bikes, the Brazil Café, and an Enterprise car rental hub.

The school even already has a swanky campus hotel of its own, the Faculty Club on Minor Lane, right next to the UC Berkeley "center for entrepreneurship" (which we assume is a coincidence).

But a 115-foot development would, of course, be a much more prominent business presence right next to/on the campus, not to mention putting a new wrinkle in the downtown Berkeley layout and skyline in general. When the leases expire on the likes of Mike’s Bikes and its neighbors in August 2017, they’ll be shown the door in favor of the hotel deal.

The eventual establishment would include restaurants and meeting space, and Cal would like to see it open its doors by 2019.