New Construction

Construction to Begin on Off-Campus Academic Building at UC San Diego

At UC San Diego, construction is set to begin on a 7-story academic building that will house health and medical programs. The $70-million La Jolla Innovation Center (LJIC) will be located just across the street from the southwest edge of campus. The university cited space concerns within the existing boundaries of its campus, as well as the fact that many of its on-campus buildings require expensive seismic upgrades.

The LJIC is the result of a partnership between the university and real estate investment and development firm GPI Companies. The University of California Board of Regents will purchase the one-acre site from GPI, who will design, finance, build, and maintain the facility. Once complete, the university will lease the space from GPI.

The structure is expected to measure in at 110,000 square feet of educational and office space. It will include five stories of UCSD Health Sciences and Extension programs, two levels of above-ground parking, and two levels of below-ground parking, as well as a ground-floor café open to the public.

“The objectives [of this building] are to take advantage of a site that is underutilized with a now-closed restaurant, keep our researchers in the area they need to be to conduct important research, keep UCSD Extension with a new modern home for their classes and easy access to the VA Medical Center and the campus for administration,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of real estate at UCSD.

The building is set to be about 100 feet tall, which has caused some controversy during the planning process. City land use regulations set a Coastal Zone height limit of no more than 30 feet. “I am supportive of [UCSD’s] long-range development plan and appreciative of their public infrastructure investments,” said San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava. “Developing off-campus property should respect, and not preempt, City land use regulations. Collaborative conversations between the university and City ensures the needs and goals of both can be realized.”

The university has stated in one of the project’s planning documents that, “As a constitutionally established state entity, the university is not subject to municipal plans, policies and regulations of surrounding local governments, such as the City’s General Plan or its Coastal Height Limit Overlay Zone.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].

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