Blake House, the Northern California mansion that is intended to be the official residence of the UC system president, may be coming back to life.
Because of its rundown condition, UC executives in 2008 stopped living in the Mediterranean-style mansion in the unincorporated Contra Costa County neighborhood of Kensington. With a financial crisis for the university at the time, nothing much was done to fix up the 13,200-square-foot house, which is surrounded by 10 acres of gardens.
Next week, however, the UC regents are expected to consider a plan that could start the ball rolling for a major renovation and a return to the tradition of presidents living there. According to an agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting in San Francisco, the regents will decide whether to spend $620,000 from a privately funded endowment on seismic improvements, roof repairs, other maintenance and architectural and engineering reports.
If a full renovation of the 1920s structure is approved later on, the cost could range from $3.5 million to $6 million. Officials say that could turn out to be a wise investment since the price of rental housing for UC presidents and holding functions at other locations would exceed the renovation costs in 15 years. Incoming UC President Janet Napolitano is expected to follow the example of current President Mark G. Yudof in residing elsewhere in leased houses paid for by the university, at least for now...