Board approves purchase of new headquarters saving public funds in future

09.12.19

Board approves purchase of new headquarters saving public funds in future

The BART Board today approved moving the agency’s headquarters to an Oakland building it will buy to save millions in the long-term and to create greater efficiencies.

With today’s action, BART is scheduled to move into 2150 Webster Street in Spring 2021. The lease at its current headquarters, 300 Lakeside Drive in Oakland, expires in July 2021 and the cost of leasing the space is set to increase by 60 percent.

“The 2150 Webster building will keep our headquarters in Oakland, still be near 19th St. BART Station, but will have the advantage of a ground-floor board room that is more publicly accessible,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty. “It will also spur BART administrative staff to downsize their footprint and become more productive through modern, collaborative work practices.”

BART currently is leasing 369,000 rentable square feet of office space consisting of 14 floors with its Board room in a separate building.  2150 Webster is 244,000 square feet with ten floors. It will have fewer private offices and more conference areas and work spaces. 

The $142 million purchase of the building with closing costs and $85 million in interior construction would be financed by a 25-year sales tax bond. BART stands to save at least $210 million in public funds over the 25-year period by purchasing this building compared to staying in its current location.

Issuing the bonds does not require voter approval and will not create new taxes or fare increases.  The purchase of this building doesn’t utilize funds that otherwise would be used to operate the system.

BART staff recommended the move after launching a robust process in September 2017, including a third-party study, competitive process with multiple bidders, and comprehensive financial analysis.   

BART’s administrative headquarters have been located at 300 Lakeside since 2003, when the agency was forced to move to a leased space after the original headquarters building it owned at Lake Merritt Station was determined to be seismically unfit.

“BART has a rich history in Oakland and has called it home since the day they opened for business,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Owning a building in Oakland will keep their workforce centrally located and close to many of their critical facilities.”  

Most of BART’s approximately 4,100 employees work in stations, on trains or in the rail yards and maintenance shops.