UC Berkeley and SKS Partners unveil $2B R&D space hub at NASA Ames
The University of California at Berkeley and SKS Partners unveiled a $2 billion research and development hub at the NASA’s Ames Research Center.
The Berkeley Space Center at NASA Research Park has been proposed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. The proposed center will sit on 36 acres on the former Moffett Field air base, tapping the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich ecosystem for innovation. The aim is to create 6,000 jobs. Go Bears.
San Francisco-based SKS Partners is an investor in and developer of commercial real estate properties, with over 10.5 million square feet of office, R&D, medical office, life science, mixed-use and multifamily projects. This is the kind of project that could breathe new life into Silicon Valley.
With a focus on interdisciplinary research and development, the center intends to foster collaboration between the private sector, academia, and government agencies when it comes to exploring space. The joint venture is dedicated to identifying, incubating and launching technological breakthroughs across a diverse set of fields including astronautics, quantum computing, climate studies and the social sciences.
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The Berkeley Space Center will be designed to create a collaborative environment that enables the expansion of knowledge frontiers and the development of groundbreaking technologies. The project is expected to generate substantial employment opportunities, with over 6,000 advanced research and development positions.
Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement, “Berkeley Space Center will help lead the state’s space tech development by bringing together top space leaders in academia, government, and industry to foster new technologies and breakthroughs.”
The proposed master plan for Berkeley Space Center includes 1.4 million square feet of Class-A office and research and development space, wet and dry labs, conference facilities, academic buildings, and retail amenities. The plan also incorporates approximately 18 acres of open space, providing outdoor working areas and a central green area for community gatherings and exhibitions. Future phases of the project may include short-term stay facilities, student housing, and faculty housing.
The proximity of Berkeley Space Center to NASA’s Ames Research Center offers numerous advantages to its users, including access to world-class research and development facilities. NASA’s Ames Research Center is well-known for its aeronautics and exploration technology research, featuring the world’s largest wind tunnel and advanced computing capabilities.
“We are thrilled by the prospect of new collaborations that can speed the translation of discoveries by our world-class research enterprise across a wide range of disciplines into the inventions, technologies, and services that will advance the greater good,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, in a statement.
The partnership between UC Berkeley, SKS Partners, and the development team, which includes global design firm HOK and urban design firm Field Operations, aims to make Berkeley Space Center a global innovation leader. The project aligns with UC Berkeley’s mission of education, research, and public service and fulfills NASA’s nearly 20-year vision for an interdisciplinary innovation hub at NASA Research Park.
Berkeley Space Center’s development reflects a commitment to environmental sustainability, with plans to pursue rigorous building certifications, use alternative low-carbon energy sources, divert on-site waste, retain stormwater, and utilize recycled water. Furthermore, the center aims to prioritize pollution-free mobility and implement phytoremediation to heal groundwater aquifers.
“Berkeley Space Center aspires to establish new standards for how buildings are designed, constructed, and operated to minimize the carbon impact,” said Dan Kingsley, managing partner of SKS Partners.
The environmental entitlement process for Berkeley Space Center has started and is expected to last two years, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in 2026. CBRE has been selected to market the R&D space for lease.
UC Berkeley’s investment in the project, totaling approximately $1 million, includes salaries for faculty, staff, and students working on the project, as well as academic planning. In return, the university expects to receive annual revenues of at least $40 million from various sources, including grants, research funding, philanthropy, industry partnerships, fees, and real estate revenue.
“For NASA, this partnership has the potential to advance world-class research in aviation and space, thus helping improve life here on Earth,” said Eugene Tu, center director at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in a statement. “More importantly, Berkeley Space Center could also help inspire the next generation of explorers through future collaborations with the University’s students, faculty and partners.”
If the project is approved, Berkeley Space Center would likely incur annual expenses of approximately $750,000 to support the salaries of faculty, staff and students working on the project and at the site.
The development team of Berkeley Space Center has a growing list of ambitious environmental sustainability goals, which at present installation and use of alternative low-carbon energy sources, such as photo-voltaic panels for power generation in place of natural gas, diversion of the majority of on-site waste, on-site treatment and retention of stormwater, use of recycled water for both landscaping and within buildings themselves, and multiple modes of movement and transportation to and within the site, with a focus on pollution-free mobility. It will also have phytoremediation, whereby Berkeley Space Center’s landscape design and maintenance will heal groundwater aquifers.
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