Iowa Avenue building

UCR buys office building

Some off-campus employees will be moving to the new Iowa Avenue site

September 6, 2023
Author: Imran Ghori
September 6, 2023

UC Riverside has purchased an office building near campus where it will consolidate employees currently working in leased space.

The purchase, which closed Aug. 25, is part of a shift to move employees from leased offices to university-owned buildings that is expected to provide substantial savings. It also allows the university to move them from multiple office parks into one shared building.

The two-floor building on Iowa Avenue has 50,055 gross square feet, with 47,948 in office space, arranged in four suites. Some of it is occupied by existing tenants so UCR will have about 15,000 square feet available initially. As tenants leave or leases expire, UCR can expand to the rest of the building as space is needed.

The two-story office building is located north of campus on Iowa Avenue. (UCR/Imran Ghori)

UCR will start moving employees into the new building in November. Real Estate Services and Business and Financial Services will be among the departments that will work out of the building, with others to be determined later this fall.

The campus will be giving up some of the leased space it occupies at the University Village shopping center when those leases expire at the end of November. Other leased space on Chicago Avenue and Meridian Parkway will be vacated as those leases expire in the next year or two. UCR will also be leaving the IntelliCenter Building on University Avenue, where UCPath is located, by the end of the year.

“We are taking advantage of a market where office space is at a low price, and we are moving away from leasing off campus to owning the facility and thus saving money,” said Gerry Bomotti, vice chancellor and chief financial officer.

UCR paid $9.2 million, or $163 per gross square foot – plus the parking and land around the building -- lower than it would cost to build a new building or what the university is paying for leased space, he said. 

With the savings on lease costs and the income from the existing tenants at the Iowa Avenue building, UCR is expected to pay off the debt for the purchase and be financially ahead in about nine years, said Thomas Toepfer, executive director of Real Estate Services.

Toepfer said the new building offers many advantages to UCR with its location, size, and amenities.

The location at the Grove Business Park is about 2 miles north of the campus. It borders the Bourns Technology Center where UCR’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology, or CE-CERT, is located.

An office suite at the Iowa Avenue building. UCR plans to repaint the office put in new carpeting before employees move in this fall. (UCR/Imran Ghori)

Built in 2007, the Iowa Avenue building is a Class A design, representing the newest and highest quality designed specifically for office use, Toepfer said. It features large windows that allow for lots of natural lighting, an elevator, a break room, and conference space.

The business park has a large parking lot with plenty of spaces that will be free for employees. Employees can also easily connect to public transit with the Metrolink Hunter Park station a short walk away. A new bus route on Riverside Transit Agency, which UCR employees and students can ride free, also offers a direct connection from the Hunter Park station to campus.