Developer Grosvenor Americas has submitted an application for a $150 million, 12-story development at 1951 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley with 156 apartment units and retail on the ground floor.
The proposed 120-foot-tall building on Shattuck at Berkeley Way would, if approved, take the place of the one- and two-story buildings on the block, currently home to local businesses including Berkeley Vacuum, the Missing Link annex and the Cutaway hair salon. The application was filed with the city on June 29, though the details were not online at press time.
The project would be located just north of the approved, but not yet built Acheson Commons, and across the street from Berkeley Way West, a UC Berkeley project. UC Berkeley’s schools of education and public health and its psychology department have moved into the latter building, with work ongoing to finish other parts of the structure.
The real estate developer purchased the building at the end of 2017 from the Nasser family, which had previously submitted plans to build a similarly sized structure with 92 condos on that site, called L’Argent. While no sales price was disclosed, the property was listed at $13.4 million.
Under the new proposal, the residences in the building would include 22 studios, 70 one-bedroom apartments, 59 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom apartments, according to Steve Buster, senior vice president for development for Grosvenor Americas.
There would be about 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail fronting on Shattuck, Buster said. The other floors are devoted to apartments, with a five-foot setback off Shattuck after the seventh floor, he said. The building would have balconies and a roof deck for the residents with a dog run, as well as lots of windows.
As presently imagined, there would be a parking garage one floor below grade with 100 parking spaces and bike storage. Solomon Cordwell Buenz, or SCB, a Chicago firm, designed the building.
“Grosvenor designs buildings specifically for their neighborhoods,” Buster said. He pointed to a recently completed 33-unit luxury condo building in San Francisco’ Jackson Square, 288 Pacific, as an example. Buster said 288 Pacific was designed to fit in with the historic brick structures in the area.
If approved, the 1951 Shattuck development would be one of the tall buildings, standing between 120 to 180 feet tall, that were approved by voters during the Berkeley Downtown Area Plan process in recent years.
“We (Grosvenor) fell in love with this location,” Buster said. “It’s a perfect spot for urban infill development,” noting that it’s two blocks from a BART station and in the heart of downtown.
Buster said the developers are targeting people who live and work in Berkeley, as well as families and people who want to downsize, and professionals who want to be able to take public transit. The location clearly has a very high walkability score, meaning easy access to coffee shops, restaurants, transit and shopping.
John Caner, chief executive of the Downtown Berkeley Association, is upbeat about the proposed project.
“If you’ve seen their work in San Francisco and elsewhere, they do beautiful work,” Caner said, speaking about the developer. “Grosvenor is a great partner to have in the downtown to be building housing targeted more toward empty nesters and young professionals. The building will add to a robust mix for the downtown.”