Berkeley Brower Center / Oxford Plaza

Client: City of Berkeley

The City of Berkeley has promoted the revitalization of downtown Berkeley through a series of planning and development efforts. In 2000, the City sought to transform the downtown Oxford parking lot into a vibrant mixed use development. Seifel advised the City throughout the developer selection, negotiation and development process to redevelop the city-owned, 1.14-acre site, located directly across from UC Berkeley’s Campus.

Seifel evaluated developer submittals and advised the 12-member Selection Committee. Each developer was evaluated for responsiveness, team expertise, relevant experience, proposed design concept and financial terms. Seifel performed due diligence on the development proposals, including construction costs, financing, market rental rates and operating assumptions. Seifel also recommended the format and content for developer interviews and helped facilitate the committee’s selection process.

After City Council endorsed the Selection Committee’s recommendations, Seifel advised the City on negotiations with the chosen development team (ECB/RCD). Building on prior real estate and financial advisory work for the City, Seifel provided recommendations on various financial and operational aspects of the disposition and development agreement to help achieve an effective public-private partnership. Seifel also worked with City staff and the development team on financing strategies for the project, including HUD Section 108 and BEDI programs, New Market Tax Credits, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax allocation bond funds. Seifel helped the City and development team to secure more than $30 million in funding. Seifel also prepared financial analyses on the public parking component, projecting long-term revenues and operating expenses.

The award-winning David Brower Center/Oxford Lot features 97 units of affordable housing, a 50,000-square foot LEED Platinum-certified environmental center and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail, all above underground public parking. Given its walkable, transit friendly location near BART, the City significantly reduced the on-site parking requirements for housing and waived them for commercial development.

The project has helped revitalize downtown Berkeley and has become an international destination for visitors from around the world, while also helping the City meet its critical need for affordable housing. The project also garnered the San Francisco Business Times’ “Best New Green Building Award” (2010), the Association of Bay Area Governments’ “Building a Better Bay Area Urban Design Award” (2009) and the US Green Building Council’s “Green Team Award”
(2009).

More on the David Brower Center is available here. Information on the developer team is available here and here.