UC, Developer Extend Downtown Hotel Talks By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday April 15, 2005

UC Berkeley’s plans for a hotel, conference center and museums complex aren’t dead, merely delayed, said Kevin Hufferd, the university’s project manager. 

On Sept. 1, 2003 the school entered into exclusive negotiations with Carpenter & Co., a leading hotelier, to build a high-rise hotel and a conference center at the northeast corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. 

When the exclusive agreement ended, the two sides agreed to another six-month extension, which ended last month. A second six-month extension allows the parties to continue their talks for a second full year. 

The university eventually intends to build a museum complex and parking structures as well in the two-block parcel it owns between Center Street and University Avenue and Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street. 

“We’re moving along and progressing nicely,” Hufferd said. “We’re continuing to look at a basic array of feasibility issues.” 

He said, “The process involves doing urban design work on a two-block area and working on issues of bulk and scale. We’re also examining the recommendations of the UC Hotel Task Force, including the possibility of daylighting Strawberry Creek.” 

The task force was created by the city Planning Commission after news of the university’s plans broke. Composed of commission members and community representatives, the panel formulated proposals to help mitigate the impact of a 12-to-14-story hotel and other uses in the heart of the city center. 

“I’m pleased. We’re moving forward,” Hufferd said. “People have been patient and curious, and hopefully they will bear with us as we formulate our plans for the site.”