- 12/04/2014 - Half the Sky's NICHOLAS KRISTOF / A Path Appears
- 11/25/2014 - 'Read and Share' Book Club
- 11/18/2014 - UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies presents REGENTS' LECTURE: LUIS VALDEZ
- 11/13/2014 - Presidential Inaugural Poet RICHARD BLANCO / The Prince of Los Cocuyos
- 11/10/2014 - London's School of Life's ROMAN KRZNARIC / Empathy
Category Archives: Real estate
With Pauline Kael’s former Berkeley home set to be sold, concerns raised over fate of murals by famed SF artist
From outside, the house at 2419 Oregon St. in central Berkeley is an unassuming two-story brown shingle. But to those who know the artistic history of the Bay Area, the home is an important artifact.
The building was once home to renowned film critic Pauline Kael, and it also houses a number of murals by Kael’s friend, the legendary San Franciscan artist Jess Collins. The murals cover the walls of the stairwell, the upstairs hallway, the lower porch and part of the living room. Now the house is due to go on the market, and people are fighting to ensure that the artworks, and the history they represent, be preserved.
Construction work has begun on a new, 43,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at 2441 Haste St. and Telegraph Avenue, the site of the former Sequoia Apartments that burned down in a catastrophic fire in November 2011.
The new structure will include 42 apartments on four stories, and see the return of two popular Berkeley restaurants: Raleigh’s Bar & Grill and Café Intermezzo, which will re-open at street level on Telegraph.
The new building will go some way toward addressing the blight on this particular Berkeley intersection, two of whose corners are vacant lots, with the long-vacant Cody’s bookstore space on the third.
On Wednesday last week, the property’s owner, Kenneth Ent, held an impromptu groundbreaking ceremony with family members and a construction crew to celebrate the beginning of the build. … Continue reading »
After a significant facelift, a new mixed-use development is slated to be built on University Avenue, taking the place of two small shops on the south side of the street west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Plans for “The Overture” were approved 8-1 by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday night after a nearly five-hour discussion focused on a variety of technical details related to the project.
Commissioners had largely positive observations about the idea behind developer Nathan George’s new building, noting that it has an array of amenities, particularly in terms of open space that’s set to include a large gym, communal kitchen, “generous lobby,” courtyard, landscaped roof deck and pleasant seating area for residents. … Continue reading »
At least two measures backed by Berkeley residents appear to have collected enough support to make them likely to be on the November 2014 ballot.
On Tuesday, a group backed by City Councilman Jesse Arreguín turned in more than 3,900 signatures to put a measure before voters that forces higher environmental standards on tall buildings in the downtown on the ballot. It would also create an overlay in the civic center district preventing certain buildings from being converted to commercial use. … Continue reading »
Update, June 14: The initiative has qualified for the November 2014 ballot.
Original story: As volunteers man the entrances to Berkeley Bowl, wander the farmers markets, and stop people on the street to collect signatures for what is called the “Green Downtown & Public Commons Initiative,” the various sides disagree on the impact the initiative may have on development in Berkeley.
City Councilman Jesse Arreguín, who is a main backer of the drive, says the initiative is merely aimed at making major developers contribute more community benefits.
“This measure is not intended to stop development at all,” said Arreguín. “Its purpose is to codify some of the community benefits that were not only made in the Downtown Plan, but in Measure R.”
But many in the development community disagree. They believe the initiative, with its higher green standards and less flexible design guidelines, could stop two current projects — the proposed 180-foot hotel at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, and the 17-story residential apartment tower behind the Shattuck Cinemas building. At the very least, if the initiative passes, it will make it harder to build taller structures downtown. … Continue reading »
Bayer HealthCare will hold an open house Thursday evening to ask for public comment on a new 80,000-square-foot building the company is considering constructing in West Berkeley.
The new 3-story facility, near Grayson and Seventh streets, would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to Bayer’s recombinant hemophilia treatments, said Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander.
Bayer’s Berkeley facility is the pharmaceutical giant’s international headquarters for biotechnology development.
Ostrander cautioned that the proposal, currently, is just that, as it awaits approval from the company’s governing board in Germany, as well as the green light from local and state agencies. The board in Germany is, minimally, several months away from making a decision on the project. … Continue reading »
Update: 6//14: The initiative has qualified for the November 2014 ballot.
Original story: City Councilman Jesse Arreguín, some members of the environmental community, the labor community, and preservationists are circulating a ballot initiative that would drastically overhaul elements of the Berkeley Downtown Area Plan endorsed by voters in 2010 and codified by the city council in 2012.
The initiative would restore the “green” in the “Green Vision” part of the plan, according to Arreguín.
It would essentially mandate that all buildings in the downtown core taller than 60 feet high follow the more stringent “Green Pathways” provision of the Downtown Area Plan, rather than making that an optional track for developers. … Continue reading »
The frustration was palpable Thursday night as zoning board commissioners noted the lack of headway by the property owner of a highly anticipated mixed-use project proposed on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.
In 2012, Sarachan submitted preliminary plans to the community about his vision. But the process since then has been murky. Issues quickly cropped up related to the fate of an historic home on the project site, the potential need for an environmental review, and existing liens on the property which added up to $640,000. The latest hurdle is due to missing documents and details needed from the project architect, which must be turned in to the city before any approvals can take place. … Continue reading »
A 16-story high-rise hotel under consideration in downtown Berkeley is making its way through the city approval process, with three preview meetings already completed before city panels related to development decisions. No votes have yet been taken, but are expected in the coming months.
The hotel, proposed by Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC, would replace the 1970s-era one-story Bank of America building and parking lot at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. If approved, the project would transform one of the most visible corners in downtown Berkeley.
An open house about the project is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, from 5-7 p.m. at the Marsh Theater, 2120 Allston Way. … Continue reading »
Idiosyncratic and lovely. Both words describe the recently listed home at 1555 La Vereda Road in North Berkeley.
The three-bedroom house with separate cottage, which is priced at $1,095,000, was built for — and in part by — the renowned geologist Andrew Cowper Lawson in the 1930s.
Lawson was a traveler, art collector and enthusiastic builder. He had already had one distinctive home designed for him when he decided to have his next one built right behind it. Bernard Maybeck created the now landmarked “Pompeian villa” on La Loma Avenue for Lawson in 1907. … Continue reading »
A use permit request from a Hillegass Avenue property manager who hopes to convert eight one-bedroom units into two-bedroom apartments has been recommended for denial by the city’s zoning board which meets tonight, Thursday March 13.
The proposal, at 2610 Hillegass, just south of Parker Street, would not change the building’s size, but would result in the remodel of all of the building’s one-bedroom units into two-bedrooms. The 23-unit building currently includes 10 two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom apartments. … Continue reading »
A new shopping destination is emerging at the intersection of 10th and Gilman streets in West Berkeley. Three new businesses have just signed leases to move into the Gilman District, a commercial hub whose transition was kickstarted by Whole Foods’ decision to move into the area last year.
Soccer Pro and Road Runner Sports are both opening up in the complex formerly known as Gilman Village, and Jason Mann will open the first west coast outlet of Farm Burger, a farm-to-table restaurant that hopes to incorporate a boutique-style craft brewery. They will join Philz Coffee and Doughnut Dolly as new tenants who have already signed leases. … Continue reading »
TCHO, the high-end chocolate company founded in 2005, will move its entire production and retail facility from San Francisco’s Pier 17 and an East Bay warehouse to 3100 San Pablo Ave. (just south of Ashby) in southwest Berkeley.
The company has signed a 12-year lease, with an option to grow, for 49,000 square feet in the Marchant Building, part of a 395,000-square-foot property consisting of retail, office, R&D, and light industrial space. The move will begin in April.
TCHO’s recently appointed CEO, Andrew Burke, said the move was prompted by the need for more space as the company is growing fast. “We looked extensively for a long time, but could not find the space we needed in San Francisco. The Marchant Building was the ideal mixed-use space –manufacturing/warehouse/