BERKELEY, CA—Colliers International has recently come to market with a rare, never-before-listed investment opportunity adjacent to the iconic campus of UC Berkeley. The firm says the site might be considered the single most valuable parcel for a mixed-used development in the city.
Bancroft Center, located at 2580 Bancroft Way, stands at the heart of the university’s commercial district. As currently configured, it is a 30,370-square-foot retail center. But it is the project’s potential as a dynamic mixed-use development that could make it one of the most sought-after assets in all of Berkeley, Colliers officials say.
“This site is strategically positioned along one of Berkeley’s main thoroughfares, connecting the UC Berkeley campus to surrounding residential and commercial enclaves serving students and area residents alike,” said Colliers vice president Erik Hanson, one of the brokers marketing the property. “Bancroft Center represents a truly rare opportunity to acquire absolute core real estate in one of the Bay Area’s liveliest 24/7 environments.”
Currently utilized as a retail center primarily serving the needs of the UC Berkeley student population, the property benefits from flexible zoning that allows for a variety of commercial uses, including retail, multi-family, and student housing. In addition, the surrounding area recently benefited from an increase in height limits, setting the stage for a potential redevelopment of the property into a mixed-use project containing high-end ground floor retail with multifamily housing units above.
“This is just an extremely rare combination of an urban infill location adjacent to one of the world’s great universities with excellent in-place income from current tenancy and re-development potential,” said Hanson. “It represents an opportunity for investors and developers to acquire trophy real estate in one of the Bay Area’s most high-profile markets. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often, especially in Berkeley, which has such high entry barriers.”
As designed and envisioned by Oakland-based Lowney Architecture, which the present owner, a private family trust, commissioned to conduct a study on the site’s potential future use, a new owner could re-develop the site into a mixed-use project featuring 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail space situated below four floors of residential housing containing 132 studio and one-bedroom units, Hanson noted.
“The property is currently not entitled so new owners will have excellent flexibility to re-develop the site to their own specifications while collecting passive income from existing retail tenants of the property,” said Hanson. “Whatever course the new owner takes, the site, which is part of the city’s Southside Plan Area, will benefit from recently approved zoning for increased height and higher density use.”
Joining Hanson on the Colliers team from the brokerage firm’s San Francisco office are executive vice presidents Frank Wheeler, Tony Crossley, and Tim Maas, who are working on the retail element of the project; vice president Brandon Geraldo, a multi-family expert; and senior vice president Aileen Dolby, who is the local market advisor.