Taller buildings, open spaces on the cards for downtown

The downtown plan establishes a new Commerical-Downtown Mixed Use zoning district, which permits a number of taller buildings

After seven years of trying, including an approved plan that was then rescinded in 2009, a Downtown Area Plan for Berkeley (DAP) looks close to passage.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, the plan was open for public comment. The council will hold a special meeting next at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with the plan the only item of business, and, from the tenor of both public comment and councilmember remarks this week, it looks likely to pass.

The plan brought to the council (alert: the plan packet is a massive 1,204-page, 173MB PDF) follows the 64% approval by voters of the advisory Measure R in November, 2010. It includes up to seven tall buildings, open space and green building requirements, and a so-called “green pathway” to streamline the permit process (details are at the foot of this story). What the plan does not yet include are details on the Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and related impact and in-lieu fees that will be part of the DAP implementation. According to the presentation on Tuesday, those elements will come to council this spring.

A clear majority of the several dozen people who spoke on Tuesday night supported the plan. But there were a number of dissenting voices who criticized the tall buildings, the streamlined green pathway, and the absence of detail on SOSIP and fees, among other things.

Up to seven tall buildings could come to downtown if the Downtown Area Plan for Berkeley is passed

“I want to thank the Berkeley public who overwhelmingly voted for Measure R and set us down the road for real change,” said Mark Rhoades, former city planning head and now a developer. “With this plan we have at least the promise of more environmental sustainability, more equity and more economic vitality.”

John Caner, Executive Director of the Downtown Berkeley Association, called for supporters of the plan to stand before his remarks. Several dozen people stood, holding green signs urging approval of the plan.

A focus on gum stains

“We’re focused on gum stains and graffiti and hanging flower baskets. We are creating that baseline pedestrian experience, that’s going to make downtown welcoming and vibrant,” Caner said, speaking of the ongoing $1.2 million clean up that is going on downtown after local property owners voted for a Property Based Business Improvement District (PBID) last June.

“But the other part of this is the land use environment,” Caner continued. “We’ve got to get that opportunity to bring in new investors to bring people to live, work and play down here. The downtown area plan is absolutely critical for that.”

“The chamber is so proud to be part of this time in Berkeley, where the university, and the city and the Lab and the downtown and the chamber and all these people who back in my time were at each other’s throats, are after the same thing, which is an exciting, healthy, vibrant, interesting downtown,” said Polly Armstrong, co-CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and a former councilmember. “This plan is not perfect, but it’s so much closer than we’ve ever been able to get.”

In contrast, a number of speakers condemned the plan. Zelda Bronstein took the microphone wearing an outsized pair of green-tinted spectacles, recalling that the great and powerful Oz had forced his citizens to wear such glasses, which was the only reason why the Emerald City was that color.

A clean-up operation is already under way downtown

“It’s a trick, it was a trick in Emerald City, and it’s a trick here,” Bronstein said. “Unlike the people of Emerald City, I’m hoping the people of Berkeley can see through the green-colored glasses. It wasn’t the case in Measure R — money talks. I’m hoping it will be the case in the future.”

Gene Poschman said the council had passed plans for five areas of the city over the years, but none of them had really been implemented. There was neither the staff nor the financial resources to do so, he said.

“We have now had five marriages between council and area plans, each one a triumph of hope over experience. This one is a triumph of cynicism over honesty, certainly over experience,” Poschman said.

Details of the DAP

The DAP originates from work by the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission, which worked from 2005 to 2009 on a plan. That was approved by the City Council, but then rescinded. Measure R in 2010 was the response: the advisory measure passed in all the city’s precincts, and provided direction for the new DAP. Last year, the Planning Commission approved the DAP. It will be examined by the City Council in its special meeting next week.

The plan calls for a new C-DMU zoning district, which replaces the current C-2 district (see map at the top of the story. A larger version of the map can be seen here). The C-DMU district sets development standards, specifies upper story setbacks, has open space and green development requirements, and a special process for taller buildings.

Perhaps the most contentious parts of the DAP are the provisions for tall buildings. Four buildings up to 120-feet (two reserved for UC Berkeley) are allowed, and three buildings up to 180-feet are permitted. The seven permitted tall buildings compares to the 12 allowed in the 2009 DAP (including two up to 225-feet), which was rescinded.

To receive approval, the five non-university taller buildings must show “significant community benefits beyond what is otherwise required”, and provide affordable housing, social services, green features, open space, transportation demand management, job training and employment opportunities. The plan also requires upper story setbacks for the buildings and width restrictions for buildings over 120-feet tall.

Setbacks for smaller buildings

Setbacks are also required for smaller buildings. For buildings over 45-feet tall, a 20-foot setback is required when abutting side or rear residential lot line. A 10-foot front setback is required when confronting a residential lot. Along Shattuck south of Durant, a 15-foot front setback is required where the building exceeds 65-feet tall.

The plan requires upper story setbacks and width restrictions for buildings that are over 120-feet tall

The basic open space requirement is 80 sq ft per dwelling. The DAP also specifies standards for Privately Owned Public Open Space (POPOS): 1 sq ft per 50 sq ft of commercial floor area. POPOS can be used to reduce the residential requirement, and an in-lieu fee for SOSIP can reduce open space requirements.

The green building requirements of the DAP state that new construction of more than 20,000 sq ft be LEED Gold or equivalent. The green building standards are not required for renovations. The other main green requirement is for parking transportation demand management, which includes bus passes for employees and residential units, car-share parking spaces, and parking spaces leased or sold separate from the unit.

A green pathway

The green pathway establishes a streamlined permit process for projects that exceed the green building requirements and that include “extraordinary public benefits”. Buildings that meet this standard that are 75-feet tall or less would have no public hearing, additional specified upper story setbacks, and Landmarks Preservation Commission and Design Review Committee review within time limits. Buildings over 75-feet are offered Zoning Adjustments Board approval within time limits.

The green pathway is not available to properties that the LPC determines are a historic resource. If a project is adjacent to a historic resource, the applicant must analyze conformance with standards for review by the LPC and DRC.

One area to be decided is the distribution of potential increased revenues generated by future development. Several councilmembers on Tuesday night said they thought additional revenues should be kept for downtown improvements, rather than the city’s General Fund. Interim City Manager Christine Daniel said on Tuesday that the council should consider carefully whether all revenue — including potential new property taxes — should be earmarked for downtown, or just the fees associated with the DAP.

The big clean up of downtown Berkeley begins [01.10.12]
Downtown PBID passes overwhelmingly [06.29.11]
Council tackles housing development downtown [10.12.11]
Measure R: Future direction of Berkeley’s downtown? [10.20.10]

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  • Zelda Bronstein represents the most broken part of Berkeley.  She was there at the Startup meeting on Monday and had nothing but contempt for businesses that she doesn’t like.  I’m tired of the broken, broke, crime-ridden Berkeley.  We’ve had it for 40 years.  Money talks?  Of course it does.  Empty pockets, whining about diversity and so-called blue collar jobs achieve nothing.  Let’s move on.

  • Chrisjuricic

    I rarely go downtown if I can help it for a variety of reasons– mainly parking difficulties and parking meter prices which I find outrageous. As it stands, my wife and I plan to leave the country on a ‘pre-retirement’ plan for one year overseas. Upon our return, if it is Berkeley, it will depend on available work for us, housing costs, etc. Does downtown Berkeley have a grocery that is decent? No, just TJs and Safeway. We will look in west Berkeley more than likely, close to University/San Pablo or near to BB West.

    I’m turning into a biker more than a driver for all the good reasons and practical ones. Will be curious to see how the plan rolls out when we return.

  • Bruce Love

    That’s a bunch of BS.   Zelda rose to speak about West Berkeley zoning as it related to some of the topics discussed on the stage.   Very quickly a loud minority of jackasses in the audience began to heckle her in the same reactionary way you are doing here.   The moderation from the stage in response was, in my opinion, not well handled.   It was truly a low point of the evening and I am ashamed for those of my fellow Berkeley residents in the audience who behaved so rudely, so anti-intellectually, so childishly.

    Zelda was one of three speakers so poorly treated by a bunch of jerks in the audience on that very topic — which is rather remarkable given the large number of jobs and the very broad, experience-based perspective those folks were representing.

  • TizziLish

    Zelda Bronstein served on this city’s planning commission for a number of years. She represents an important, valuable perspective shared by many.

    CaptFuzz, you say ‘let’s move on’. Do you sincerely believe four twelve-story buildings and three eighteen story buildings amount to moving in?  Do you sincerely believe the quality of life for all of Berkeley will be improved if well connected developers, who seem able to persuade city staffers and politicians to give them all kinds of fee waivers and zoning variances and who seem disinclined to enforce rules (look at the Gaia building and its failure to deliver what it promised when Kennedy got the variance to build two extra stories . . . he did not deliver what he promised but he got his building built and then sold, he made his money, the city did not get what we were promised).  

    Zelda Bronstein does know about the broken politically-connected city staff and politicians that seem influenced by cocktail parties and campaign donations and jobs for relatives of staff and politicans, willing toi sell the whole city down the river for drinks and jobs for relatives. That is the broken part of Berkeley she wants to avoid.

    How will have seven high rises packed into a tight part of Berkeley improve the whole city? Ultimately, if residences are built in those high rises, they will fill up with students who tax the city’s resources. If those buildings are office towers, there is great risk of UC Berkeley taking them over and removing those properties from the tax  base. UC Berkeley does not pay its fair share for city amenities:  it makes a token payment but it packs the city with students and workers using our city amenties. Creating lots of denser, mostly-student housing is not necessary a good way to move on.

    Zelda Bronstein is not a career politician.  Look at the story on Berkeleyside.  It states that Mark Rhoades — former city planning head — is now a developer. How much you wanna bet Rhoades is going to be first in line to get fee waivers, zoning variances and score the development rights to some of the high rises in this plan?  Do you think it is a good way to move on that former public servants use their connections, gained while serving the public, to take advantage of their connections to city staffers and leverage their personal influence to cause changes that will alter the entire character of the city forever?  

    Zelda does not represent the broken parts of Berkeley. She is opposed to the broken-down old way of doing business personified by our mayor and his wife, our former mayor — talk about career politicians and their cronies!!!  And it looks like we’re gonna be stuck with developer loving Bates for another election!!!

    It is a fantasy to believe that packing in more residences will improve the downtown and create a better city, unless the open space is meaningful, a contribution that the whole city can share.  Look at the LIbrary Gardens building — take a look at their ‘open space’. It is a fenced off area that literally no humans use, a token open space with a lovely, artsy fence. It could be an open plaza. The developer of that building got benefits when he was developing the building by agreeing to open space and then he puts in a useless open space.

    My biggest concern about changes downtown involve binding obligations to developers to provide affordable housing.  I don’t want all the new housing coming to downtown to end up being student housing where young adults are happy to double up, and triple up. And look, students are slowly moving into Oxford Plaza, even though public funds were used to build that apartment building for the workforce. Four students just moved into a three bedroom apartment:  three of them are full time students, all of them unrelated so they aren’t a family but one of them has a full time job so those four kids were able to take advantage of a precious affordable housing unit — a three bedroom apartment — intended for working families. It’s not right to rent properties built using public subsidies to create affordable housing to rent a family-sized apartment to a bunch of undergrads.

    Ack.  Money does talk. Should it?  No. The real community should. Thank you, Zelda  Bronstein, for sticking you neck out on behalf of the greater good.

  • TizziLish

    Thanks, Berkeleyside, for covering the downtown plan city council meetings. I am avidly interested.

  • TizziLish

    Hey, Berkeleyside, I hope one of your fine journalists is able to find out where next Tuesday’s city council meeting will be. Will it be open to the public? Where exactly will it be? And When?

    I am surprised Berkeleyside did not discuss the way this new plan, which manipulatively interprets the language of the supposedly ‘voter-approved’ plan, is being rushed through to make it very hard for activist citizens to get another voter referendum on the ballot. Read the Daily Planet’s editorial about this latest civic chicanery. Bates and Rhoades — the former city planning commissioner — are shamelessly manipulating their power and connections to impose lasting change on this city without meaningful citizen input. It’s just not right to ramrod such changes through.

    And shame on the way the few folks who spoke against this back-room dealing were treated so disrespectfully. I am disappointed that Berkeleyside did not include, in their story, how folks speaking out against the plan implemented by the rich and powerful were treated to disrespectful jeering by the crowd.

  • Next Tuesday’s meeting is at the Council Chambers, as usual:


    The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

    TizziLish, I was at the council meeting. As often happens in public comments, there was a little applause and a very tiny amount of expressed disapproval for speakers on both sides of the issue. There was nothing that could remotely be termed “disrespectful jeering”. You may be confusing this with Bruce Love’s comments about the response to Zelda Bronstein at the Berkeleyside Forum on Monday night.

  • Josh

    It’s great that you are biking! There is a certain irony in complaining that parking is too expensive and that there are not enough parking spots. The cheaper parking is, the more people use it and the fewer spots there are available. Short of creating another parking garage there is not too much we can do to manage supply. It is best to set parking rates at an appropriate level to discourage people from leaving there cars all day, etc. 

  • MFox327

    “It’s not right to rent properties built using public subsidies to create affordable housing to rent a family-sized apartment to a bunch of undergrads.”
    Why not? Berkeley is a university town, centered around a public university. These are public school students, many of which don’t have very much money, especially with skyrocketing tuition and fees. It makes perfect sense to me for students to want to live close to campus and not spend a lot of money on housing. Such is life in a college town.

  • serkes

    Bruce – that’s only part of the story.

    Zelda rose to speak … and it seemed to me that she had the floor longer than any other audience member before.

    Shortly after Zelda finished, another person got up to speak … and I recall he felt he could talk for a long time, in part, because Zelda did.

    One thing to consider for future meetings – ask the audience commentators to:
    Limit their comments to questions of the panelists, and/or;
    Take1 minute to make others aware of their position and tell them where they can go to get more information.

    I suggest having a sand glass play a pivotal role in future meetings.

    Ira Serkes


    I’m fine with dissenting opinion, asking questions, and providing alternatives.  I personally felt that long commentary from the floor showed a lack of respect to the panelists, sponsors, and audience members .. and that played a very large part in how some people in the audience reacted they way they did.

  • TizziLish

    I live right downtown. I think the Safeway you refer to must be the one near the Gourmet Ghetto?

    The Berkeley Bowl is almost exactly as close to downtown as that Safeway.  I never shop at Safeway. I rarely shop in grocery stores anymore. I mostly buy my food at the farmers markets — all three of the Berkeley farmers markets are a relatively short walk from my home at Kittredge & Oxford.  

    I would love to see a Whole Foods, or whole-foods-like — or maybe, veering into fantasy, a co-op grocery that sold the kinds of foods that Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl sell — located on the retail level of one of these new downtown high rises. That would make an enormous difference. With all the new housing that is about to come downtown, hopefully some grocery business will enter the market.

    I used to live in Minneapolis, which has had an extensive food co-op grocery store system going back to the early seventies. Some of those early hippie, organic food co-ops now have stores that are very competitive with high end stores like Whole Foods but are member-owned. I am surprised that the Bay Area has not evolved that kind of grocery store ecosystem.  Of course, when Whole Foods arrived in the Twin Cities Minnesota market, they wooed lots of employees from those food co-ops. 

  • EricPanzer

    Oh, cry me a river! Zelda could practically be crowned Her Royal Highness of Heckling. The forum audience showed her vastly more respect than she typically shows at City Council meetings. Rather than ask the invited panelists a question, Zelda used her rather protracted time at the microphone to avail the audience of her tired and unwelcome rhetoric. The crowd only grew restless when it became clear she was turning the forum into her own private soap-box. Doug Buckwald took a similar approach, only to be beautifully shut down by one of the panelists. Let’s hear it for no-nonsense Brooklyn!

  • The Sharkey

    Funny, that reminds me a lot of the way you treat Mrs. Menard.

  • Bruce Love


    First, I feel foolish because I should have thought to look for you there to introduce myself in person.   Maybe next time.

    Second, I don’t think her comment was all *that* long and I’m certain that it was the content, not the length, that drew out the shameful audience reaction.  Even if it were the length, that affords the hecklers no good excuse for their pitiful manners.   If we sat down to review the tape I suspect I could point out why I think so.

    Third, as for format  — our kibbitzing would apparently go in opposite directions.   My suggestion would be to go towards more of an “unconference” type of format punctuated by a few brief prepared presentations (are you familiar with what I mean?).  As interesting as the evening was, a weakness was that the panels didn’t have much of substance to say to one another nor all that much in common.  

    Nonetheless, I’m confident that we could could both agree that, additionally, even just a token friendly goat or perhaps lamb in the lobby would have gone a long way towards enlivening the evening. 

  • The Sharkey

    Why would someone who seems so anti-student move into an apartment building in a University town mere blocks away from a UC campus? Seems like a strange choice.

    If you want open space in apartment complexes to be open to everyone, then something needs to be done about the chronic homeless problem downtown. Sure, the Library Gardens plaza could be open to the public – but if it was it would be overrun with homeless camping in it most of the day, the same way they camp out on the library steps a few feet away.

  • serkes

    As long as it’s not paschal, and I’m not it …


  • Bruce Love

    Again, this is a bunch of BS:

    The crowd only grew restless when it became clear she was turning the forum into her own private soap-box

    No, a small noisy subset of the audience behaved very rudely while another part of the audience was interested in what more she had to say as she was wrapping up her comment.

    Doug Buckwald took a similar approach, only to be beautifully shut down by one of the panelists.

    I think you misunderstand what transpired there.   So, yeah, it would be interesting for you me and ira to sit down and view the replay and chat.

  • Bruce Love

    Strictly for petting purposes.

  • Greg

    Strange.  Though the resulting ‘dialogue’ is often irritating as hell I think the guy more than meets the normal level of civility here.

    Personally I think his apparent refusal to flip the “bozo bit” and be done with it borders on pathological.

  • The Sharkey

    He’s been pestering and knit-picking her as long as I’ve been reading Berkeleyside, and apparently for quite a while before that.

    I’ll only add that I think Ms. Menard has harmful political
    influence well beyond what might be justified by her positive
    contribution while, as neighbors go, she’s extremely influential. She seems, under the surface (to me), neither stupid or a person with necessarily evil intent. And so I try, here and there, to either engage or firmly refute her.


  • concerned citizen

     Those who live in glass houses should not:

    1.  Sell their Windex stock.
    2.  Throw stones.
    3.  Design their own window shades.

  • Guest

     It’s not just students who live in shared housing.  Plenty of Berkeley residents in their thirties and forties, with full-time jobs, live with one or more unrelated people, because that’s what they can afford. 

  • Greg

    Like I said, it strikes me as almost pathological.

    Think of it in terms of opportunity costs and you’ll realize the maxim is wrong:  Sometimes the bit should be flipped.

  • Bruce Love

    Personally I think his apparent refusal to flip the “bozo bit” and be done with it borders on pathological.

    It’s funny.  The true etymology of the term “bozo bit”, in the sense you are using it, is falsely recorded in Wikipedia.  I happen to know the fellow that coined the usage you’re invoking.   I think I may have been in the meeting where he made it up.

    I don’t think there is a bozo in the case at hand. 

  • Greg

    Given I picked it up from a buddy who is ex-BSDi there is a chance there aren’t *that* many levels of indirection between my usage and that one.

    Obviously we have different bozo thresholds.

  • serkes

    When does the bus leave?

  • serkes

    “The crowd only grew restless when it became clear she was turning the forum into her own private soap-box. Doug Buckwald took a similar approach, only to be beautifully shut down by one of the panelists. Let’s hear it for no-nonsense Brooklyn!”

    I completely agree.

    Ira from the mainland.

  • Bruce Love

    “Perhaps” — rms

  • Bruce Love

    Doors close in five seconds.

  • serkes

    I’m too late … did it leave from the old same place?

  • Bruce Love

    “further information now boring…. uh… boarding.”

  • Heather_W_62

    Berkeley wasn’t originally  University town, it grew into a University town. Town and Gown have always been at odds. As a 3rd gen Berkeley person,  I understand the importance, influence and wealth the University brings to our small city, but on the other hand, I’d much rather see development that supports families with affordable housing throughout the city. Not just housing for students and high-density in an already overly congested downtown. We do not have the infrastructure to support the kind of increased density that is being discussed.  Better to start on the infrastructure (better public transportation, easier/cheaper DT parking for starters) than just go with the plan that if you Build It They Will Come… because then we’re stuck with a downtown that no one can enjoy. 

  • MFox327

    “Berkeley wasn’t originally  University town, it grew into a University town.”
    According to wikipedia, that’s not really true. Before the University, Berkeley was nothing but ranches: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley,_California#History. 

    So for all intents and purposes, Berkeley was originally a University town.

  • Heather_W_62

    Tizzie – I don’t know how long you’ve lived in Berkeley, but we had an amazing Co-op for a very long time, with several locations throughout the city.  It’s demise occurred as a result of mismanagement, and most of us lifelong residents were very, very sad to see it go… Andronico’s took it’s place (as Andronico’s bought several Coop locations). I concur that a newly organized cooperative would be welcome.  My memories of the Coop are so fond that I even remember my family’s number: 36756. 

  • Tom Miller

    Tall buildings can be aesthetically attractive, keeping in mind that if downtown Berkeley is to become an environment where humans feel beauty and love to visit instead of the dismal, depressing place it is, major changes are needed, the foremost being vehicle free walking areas, an open stream, the sound of water.  The Mayor and City Council should open a design competition, and see what green designers can imagine, instead of allowing these decisions fall into the hands of developers.

    Tom Miller, President
    Green Cities Fund

  • serkes

    Was just thinking the same thing.  

    Downtown Berkeley in large part has simply been uninteresting.  And tall buildings aren’t necessarily bad … boring tall buildings are bad.

    That said, a stroll down Addison Street … day or night … is now a treat.

    The Penney’s Building has a bunch of windows being punched into the 2nd floor – more sun streaming in during the day … and likely light streaming out at night … rather than state of the art blank facade of its old 50’s decor.

    The Downtown Business Association looks like they’re doing a great job making it cleaner

    When I strolled up Center Street to see The Princess Bride, I wondered if it really was inconceivable to daylight the creek and turn it into a pedestrian thoroughfare.  Several years ago the Thousand Oaks School site daylighted the creek and it’s now a joy to behold.


    Having learned the joys of contending in the late 60’s with Pelham Parkway’s twice-a-week-alternate-side-of-the-street parking for my tan ’63 Chevy Biscayne … I could have only dreamed about how easy it is to park in Downtown Berkeley.  

    I go to the Berkeley YMCA several times a week and the Saturday farmer’s market from time to time … it’s rare that I have to go higher than the parking lot’s 3rd floor (and yes, the irony of driving to the YMCA to then spend 20 minutes on a stairmaster isn’t lost on me)

    When we go to the movies at night, I usually park within a block or two (or Durant at the furthest) … the Center & Allston Way garages often have plenty of room and inexpensive rates (though the $5 flat rate for Monday Night was a bit high)

  • serkes

    Just curious – who knows the back story of the perennial parking lot at the NE corner of Oxford & Hearst? The site is at the top left corner of this post’s map.


  • Guest

     Sounds great, but it’s the culture of Berkeley that will have to change before downtown can be anything but dismal and depressing.  Specifically, a critical mass of Berkeleyans will need to stop pretending that it’s okay to step in human excrement every Saturday on the way to the Farmer’s Market (some of you will know the block I’m talking about — Center Street between Shattuck and Milvia), and elect City Council members who agree.

    Otherwise, any new open spaces will simply come to resemble People’s Park within a few months.

  • Zelda Bronstein

    I love Wikipedia, but sometimes it’s inaccurate, and this is one of those times

    West Berkeley–originally called Ocean View–had industrial enterprise before UC was founded in 1868. Go to the History Room in the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library and check out the detailed, pictorial map from the late nineteenth century; it shows a tiny educational facility where Cal stands today, and lines of factories sporting smokestacks along the water.

  • Frank Olken

    I am guessing it belongs to UC.   

  • Guest

     It does, and it’s currently serving a useful purpose as staff parking.

  • Greg

    Now *that*, in its entirety mind you, is a concise declaration of the worldview that largely contributes to someone like me seeing these threads as decidedly one-sided.  

    Of course its absence may go a long way towards explaining why others don’t.

    The imprecise use of language and/or terminology can magnify poor reasoning.  It can even falsely give the impression that someone is incapable of, or unwilling to, grasp the concepts of the topic at hand.

    In my opinion sheer volume and a hyper-authoritative tone compound the problem rather than mask it.

    That is why I ain’t-a unflippin’ that bit any time soon.  I will tip my hat and wish you good luck with it though.

  • Heather_W_62

    The wikipedia article is a little broad. West Berkeley was already a crude town, with taverns and general mercantile some 20 years before U.C. built the first buildings, North and South hall in Berkeley circa 1873. We can agree, though, that the University was a driving force in the growth of the City. 

    Here’s a good article:  


    The entire book is very interesting and worth a read. 

  • Heather_W_62

    The wikipedia article is a little broad. West Berkeley was already a crude town, with taverns and general mercantile some 20 years before U.C. built the first buildings, North and South hall in Berkeley circa 1873. We can agree, though, that the University was a driving force in the growth of the City. 

    Here’s a good article:  


    The entire book is very interesting and worth a read. 

  • Heather_W_62

    Thank you, Zelda

  • guest

    I couldn’t find a record of the current owner (why doesn’t Berkeley have this info on the web like other cities?), but it isn’t owned by the university, unless they just purchased it.  It’s a former gas station, which means that it’s almost certainly contaminated and will cost a lot of money to clean up before anything can be built there.  I remember reading that the city wanted it to be used for housing, but that was a while ago.

  • Hyper_lexic

    Ira – do you (or anyone) know what’s being done with the Penney’s building?

  • JJ

    Remember that it was mainly mismanagement by traditional business “experts” and grow-grow-grow proponents that killed the Berkeley Co-Op Stores.