UC Berkeley is taking another step forward in addressing the crisis of available and affordable housing for current students. Construction will begin later this month on the Albany Village Graduate Student Apartments, a community that will be across the street from the existing University Village family housing in the city of Albany, about three miles from campus. The new apartments, at the corner of Monroe and Jackson streets, are anticipated to open for fall semester 2024 and will house 761 graduate students – all in single-occupancy bedrooms at below-market rates.
The apartments will triple the existing supply of university-owned housing for single graduate students. “This project is a significant step forward because it gets us more than 25% of the way toward having enough capacity to guarantee all entering graduate students one year in below-market university housing,” said Kyle Gibson, director of communications for Capital Strategies.
The goal of providing one year of housing for graduate students was set in 2017 in a report by the chancellor’s Housing Task Force. The report also set goals of two years of housing for entering first-year students and one year for transfer students. Meeting these student housing goals will require more than 8,000 new beds, essentially doubling existing campus housing.
As of August 2022, there are six student housing projects in various states of development and construction. “Combined, these six housing projects will create enough beds to achieve almost half of our goal,” said Gibson. “To fully achieve our student housing goal of 8,000 new beds, the university must, and will, build on every piece of property we own that is relatively close to campus and suitable for housing. That includes some sites currently being used for other purposes, such as parking lots, as well as the Clark Kerr campus, where development is restricted until after 2032 by legal covenants.”
Single-occupancy bedrooms and outdoor spaces to relax and socialize
The Albany Village Graduate Student Apartments will have 761 single-occupancy bedrooms in a mix of studios and one-, two- and four-bedroom units. Fully-furnished apartments will feature large windows that allow abundant natural light into bedrooms and living spaces. Each apartment will include a full kitchen with major appliances, as well as an in-unit washer and dryer.
Beyond their apartments, students will discover spaces for social interaction and well-being, including lounges and meeting rooms. A series of outdoor courtyards will provide more than 55,000 square feet of space for passive, social and active uses. Students can lounge and explore gardens with native plants and lush trees, host barbeque gatherings and outdoor movie nights, and take advantage of recreational spaces on new multi-use lawns and terraces.
The new housing will be well-served by public transportation. A new transit plaza will be added along Monroe Street, directly in front of the apartments. There, students will be able to easily catch a direct ride to campus on AC Transit. As the apartments are a few miles from campus, the project will also include 167 spaces for residential parking.
Integration with adjacent University Village and the city of Albany
This project will realize the third phase of the 2004 University Village Master Plan, which called for developing student housing on this 3.8-acre site of university-owned land. Previously implemented phases of the master plan redeveloped the existing University Village family housing, built a new senior living facility and constructed community-serving retail buildings, including a Sprouts grocery store, along San Pablo Avenue.
The site for the Albany Village Graduate Student Apartments is currently overflow parking for University Village and contains small structures used for storage by campus units. A small community recreation building on the site, Apparatus Bay, will be relocated as part of this project.
Construction of the apartments will not alter the borders of the Gill Tract Community Farm or the Rausser College of Natural Resources’ growing fields, which are to the north, on the opposite side of Village Creek.
For construction updates and additional information, please visit the UC Berkeley Capital Strategies website.