Chula Vista UniverCity
A rendering of the Think Campus at Millenia Office building. Photo credit: Millenia Office

The city of Chula Vista broke ground Monday on the $96.4 million first phase of UniverCity at Chula Vista, located in the Millenia master-planned community.

The project is intended to add state-of-the-art office space and the first new city library since 1995, as well as leaving space for the city’s first four-year university, a long-time goal of city leaders.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity for higher education and business partners, and for our entire community,” Mayor John McCann said. “Our vision is to provide access to quality higher education and teach the latest, most effective curriculum to bring high paying jobs to our area.”

Of the $96.4 million price tag on the first phase, $30 million is coming from the state, administered by the California State Library.

Sen. Steve Padilla, D-Chula Vista, a former Chula Vista Mayor and member of the City Council, worked with Assemblyman David Alvarez, D-Chula Vista, to secure approval of a Surplus Land Act exemption the 383-acre site to be able to use the land for higher education and employment-related development.

“Today marks an important step toward our goal of bringing a four-year university to Chula Vista,” Padilla said. “This project has been something I have been committed to for decades. This community deserves the economic and academic opportunities that will be created here.”

This initial phase includes construction of the 168,000 square-foot Think Campus at Millenia Office building, with construction expected to be complete in fall 2025.

Planned to anchor that new building will be Chula Vista’s largest public library. At 60,000 square feet, it is “envisioned to include community meeting spaces, a passport office, and a business incubator that provides resources and support for small businesses,” the city statement reads. It will replace a smaller facility in Otay Ranch Town Center.

“I am proud to be part of this project and in helping secure $25 million in state funding,” Alvarez said. “I will continue to find new opportunities for educational growth with the goal of a university in Chula Vista.”

The other $5 million was secured by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. The long-term plans of the project include more than 12 million square feet of available development space across three locations in the city, two in Millenia and the third that previously surplus land 383-acre site at Hunte and Eastlake Parkways.

CBRE, Chula Vista’s broker, is now seeking qualified tenants in various industries. Higher education partners are also engaged to support the vision and mission of the development, the city statement reads.

Chesnut Properties is the developer of this phase of the UniverCity at Chula Vista, along with general contractor McCarthy, and architectural firm Gensler.

City News Service contributed to this article.