Anchor House: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the timeline for the project?

The project will begin construction in November 2021, in order to move the first resident students into the building for the fall semester 2024.

How will UC Berkeley pay for the cost of the building?

The University of California owns all the land on which the project is proposed to be built. All costs for the project design, construction, and furnishings will be paid by a philanthropic foundation that will gift the completed building to the university.

Will a private entity own or manage the building after it is built?

UC Berkeley will own and operate the building after it is completed. The project’s donor will fund and build the project and will gift it to the university upon completion. This is not a public-private partnership (P3) project.

Will the project primarily house in-state students?

Yes, it is expected that the vast majority of students living at Anchor House will be Californians who transfer to UC Berkeley from community colleges and other colleges.

Will the building be exclusively reserved for transfer students?

No. While transfer students will be prioritized for residence and be the majority occupants in the building, other junior and senior students will also be residents. The goal is not to have this building exclusively house transfer students, but to help them successfully integrate into the larger UC Berkeley community.

How tall is the building?

The building will be 14 stories above street level and approximately 180 feet above the sidewalk on average, with 2 basement levels below grade. The site slopes heavily from the northeast corner to the southwest. At the mid-point of the block along Oxford Street, the building roofline is approximately 165 feet above the sidewalk, with rooftop equipment, architectural screening and enclosures, and parapet walls extending in varying places above the roofline up to a maximum of approximately 190 feet. The project is in downtown Berkeley where there are many buildings of similar height, a few that are taller, and many of them constructed in the last decade. The project’s height and design are in keeping with the downtown area.

How many beds? What’s the unit mix?

The project plans call for 244 apartments, providing 772 beds in individual bedrooms. There will be 47 studio apartments, 30 two-bedroom apartments, 3 three-bedroom apartments, and 164 four-bedroom apartments, distributed approximately evenly on floors 4 through 14.

What will be the cost for a student to live in this building?

Anchor House will offer student housing at a rate similar to that of other campus housing.

Who will qualify for the scholarships to be provided by the building?

Pell Grant-eligible transfer students would be selected for scholarships on a basis of academic and personal achievement. These students would pay their own self-help contribution portion but each receives a scholarship in the amount of $14,221. There is also the goal to award 50 of the scholarships every 10 years to transfer students through the Fiat Lux Scholarship Program. The Fiat Lux program focuses on students from underrepresented populations and first-generation college students.

Who decides who gets the scholarships provided by the building?

Scholars are selected by the Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Honors, and Financial Aid in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admission:

  • New and continuing scholars are identified by May of each year to support the yield and enrollment goals of the campus.
  • The candidate pool will draw from California students transferring to UC Berkeley from California community colleges.
  • Funding available by June 30th is paid the following academic year, beginning in August.

How much retail will be in the building and what type of tenants are targeted for the building?

There will be approximately 15,000 square feet of retail/commercial space planned on the ground floor. The goal is to seek local tenants who will help add to the experience in the neighborhood and building.

Will the project remove any open space or parks?

No park or open space will be removed for the project. The existing site is composed of buildings or parking pavement. The project will provide all new sidewalks, improved street lighting, bike racks, and sidewalk corner modifications to enhance pedestrian safety. Nature and landscaping are incorporated throughout the building design. Within the project, there will be a large landscaped central courtyard, a rooftop vegetable garden, and multiple terraces and balconies in the corners and middle of the building.

What about the 1921 Walnut Street apartment building?

After careful consideration and analysis, it became clear that in order to make the Anchor House project work, and to maximize its benefits for Berkeley’s students, the entire square block would need to be utilized. The inclusion of the 1921 Walnut site enables the university to add 75 beds to the building, providing urgently needed housing for an additional 7,500 students over the course of the building’s anticipated, 100-year lifetime.

There are eight apartments at 1921 Walnut, all of which are unoccupied. Every household received relocation assistance from the university equal to, or in excess of what they would have received had a private developer purchased the property. These benefits included help with locating comparable and available housing that is nearby and maintains their standard of living, and generous assistance packages whose value can easily reach six figures.

What about the University Garage?

The University Garage at 1952 Oxford Street is a City of Berkeley Landmark and eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. Actions involving historical landmarks and resources require analysis as prescribed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to study potential impacts from such actions and to recommend mitigation measures if applicable. The Environmental Impact Report prepared for the project performed such analysis and the University of California Regents have approved all actions involving the University Garage including the appropriate mitigation measures.

Is this a City of Berkeley Project?

This project is under the jurisdiction of the University of California in its capacity as a state agency. The University of California Board of Regents is the entity that approves the project and UC Berkeley issues its building permit. The street improvements and utility connections work outside of the footprint of the building and within the City’s right-of-way will require a construction permit from the City of Berkeley.

Will there be noisy pile-driving operations?

No, the building is designed without piles in its foundation, so there will be no pile driving operations.

Where can I find out more information about the project?

Information about the Anchor House project is available on the UC Berkeley Capital Strategies website at https://capitalstrategies.berkeley.edu/anchor-house.