At Moffett Field, working with closely aligned and chosen industry partners, Berkeley has the opportunity to co-create a mixed-use innovation campus – a new community that will explore innovative research, scientific endeavors and academic programs. Berkeley is committed to advancing discoveries in space exploration in associated fields of data science, aero and astronautics, astrobiology, space policy and law. Berkeley intends to teach more Californians about these technologies and prepare the next generation of scientists, academics and professionals.
SKS Partners (SKS) was selected by UC Berkeley in 2019 as its preferred master developer and joint venture (JV) partner to help the campus fully realize the vision at Moffett Field. The team successfully negotiated a long-term ground lease with NASA, including a four-year pre-development term. Starting in 2023, SKS will undertake due diligence to confirm infrastructure, environmental (CEQA and NEPA), and construction requirements needed to fulfill the vision. UC Berkeley and SKS envision a multi-phase development of approximately 1.4 million built square feet on 36.2-acres of vacant land.
Over the last decade, academic incubators have become more prevalent around the country. These are designed to give entrepreneurs facilities to launch high-risk/high-reward ideas. Moffett Field provides a unique opportunity to build off the academic incubator movement by leveraging the resources and talent of UC Berkeley, NASA and private industry in a large-scale development in the heart of Silicon Valley. The project will be attractive to high-profile, cutting-edge companies and entrepreneurs seeking collaboration and opportunities to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.
The development will be anchored by public and private research facilities, new academic programs, housing and retail that forge and support connections between students, faculty, industry partners and NASA. The pre-development phase of the project will allow UC Berkeley and SKS to conduct further due diligence to refine the Project development strategy and obtain regulatory environmental approvals.
JOINT VENTURE STRUCTURE
In order to make the Moffett Field Project a reality, the University of California (UC) and SKS formed a JV. Key terms of the JV are:
The JV will be owned jointly by the Regents of the University of California (Regents) and SKS as managing members.
The JV will be operated to further the university’s educational, scientific and charitable purposes, pursuant to which the LLC will operate in a way that preserves the Regents’ tax-exempt status.
The Regents will make an in-kind contribution, and receive a capital account credit for, (a) access to the development opportunity, (b) the ability of the project to make available opportunities for third parties to collaborate with UC Berkeley through subleases or other forms of affiliation, (c) development services, and (d) the use of UC Berkeley’s name, subject to university policy.
SKS will fund, through its own funds and through third-party capital providers, 100% of the budgeted cash required to be contributed to the JV to fund the development. The Regents have the option to contribute additional funds or receive credit for in-kind contributions already made.
The JV will have an Executive Committee, with two representatives appointed by SKS and two representatives appointed by the Regents. While day-to-day operations are within SKS’s control, major decisions, as defined by the JV agreement, are subject to unanimous approval of the Executive Committee.
In the event that the Executive Committee is unable to agree on certain major decisions, the UC President can act as a tie-breaker, but the university must make the joint venture whole for any adverse economic impacts to the project and will ensure that the university considers any adverse economic impacts to the project.
For its participation in the JV, UC will share equally with SKS in revenue derived from the site, post payment of investment returns to capital providers.