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UC Berkeley reveals plan for $2B space innovation center at Moffett Field

An artist’s rendering shows NASA’s Ames Research Center and Moffett Field. | Source: Field Operations and HOK

The University of California Berkeley announced a partnership with a private developer and NASA on Monday to build a new $2 billion, 36-acre research and development center at Moffett Field in Santa Clara County.

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Branded the "Berkeley Space Center," it will be built within NASA's Ames Research Center and is envisioned as a place "dedicated to identifying, incubating and launching technological breakthroughs" in fields such as astronautics, quantum computing, climate studies and social sciences, according to the announcement.

The plan calls for 1.4 million square feet of Class-A and R&D space, a conference center, academic facilities and retail shops, along with roughly 18 acres of open space and student and faculty housing.

"This planned expansion of Berkeley's physical footprint and academic reach represents a fantastic and unprecedented opportunity for our students, faculty and the public we serve," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ. "This is a prime location and a prime time for this public university."

So far, the university has invested about $1 million in the project, including for faculty, staff and student salaries and some "academic planning" activities, according to the announcement.

If approved, Berkeley Space Center would need an estimated $750,000 annually to operate but planners say it could bring in "at least $40 million from multiple project-related sources, including grants, research funding, philanthropy, industry partners, fees and the income earned from the real estate revenue."

It's also expected to create 6,000 R&D jobs and other employment opportunities, planners said Monday.

A spokesperson for the project said the $2 billion price tag has been committed over the next 10 years from various private funding sources.

"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. "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."

The partnership includes UC Berkeley, NASA, developer and real estate investment firm SKS Partners, architecture and design firm HOK and urban design and landscape architects Field Operations.

The project's entitlement process has already started, and construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2026.

Most of the project approvals are within NASA's purview.