The Chronicle reports that Oxford University, “the prestigious institution that has educated British prime ministers and other world leaders for over 1,000 years, is in negotiations to open a center for advanced study on the property. The facility – which would convene academic, policy and business leaders around technology issues – would be part of a mixed-use development that would also include 234 units of housing, 47 of which would be affordable, as well as a 150-unit continuing care retirement community and 84 acres of open space.”
After the Marin County Board of Supervisors rejected its appeal to extend a master plan and potentially allow them to redevelop housing and academic facilities on the site in 2017, North Coast Land Holdings struck a a deal with Olivet University, a private Christian university, to lease most of the 120,000-square-foot academic campus on the property. The three-year lease allows Olivet to use the academic campus through August 2021 while North Coast Land Holdings, which bought the property in 2014, “works with the local community on a long-term vision for the site.”
That long-term vision has had several iterations as the property owner seeks to identify a redevelopment plan that garners the supporting of the surrounding Strawberry community despite traffic concerns.
The previous master plan allowed the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which had been in Marin since 1959, to have up to 1,000 students and 304 residential units to provide on-site housing for students, faculty and staff, as well as up to 192,600 square feet, nearly 75,000 more square feet than exists there now.
Of the latest proposal, attorney Riley Hurd, who has represented Seminary neighbors opposed to prior proposals, including a new campus for the private Branson School, currently located in Ross, told the Chronicle: “They are willing to accept change, but they want the character of the Strawberry community they bought into to be preserved.” “Instead of trying to do housing, the senior retirement community and an institution of higher learning, the developer should “choose two,” he added. “It’s like the Coco Chanel quote: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,’” he said. “You’ve got too many things going on.”