Category Archives: Real estate
A new mixed-use development on University Avenue, set to contain 41 units, has begun wending its way through the city of Berkeley’s permit approval process.
The project, called “The Overture” — perhaps referencing its 1812 University address with a nod to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture — would be a transit-oriented mixed-used building at University just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. … Continue reading »
Work has started on a project to build a four-story apartment building in central Berkeley after a nearly nine-year gap since the city approved the plans.
According to a construction worker on site last week, the project is expected to take about a year to complete. Overaa Construction, which is based in Richmond, appears to be managing the work that is underway, as evidenced by various signs around the construction site, but has not responded to multiple calls or emails requesting comment about the plans.
A resident who lives near the site alerted Berkeleyside to activity at 2489 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in late September: “It’s a very visible site and now has bulldozers on it and there is no posted information on what is going on.… My understanding is that there were plans before the real estate slump to develop this site and now it may be going ahead but nobody really knows.” … Continue reading »
A controversial micro-unit mixed-used proposal aimed for a quiet stretch of Shattuck Avenue, south of downtown, is still too big, say Berkeley city staff, who advised zoning board members to deny the application later this week.
The project, at 2701 Shattuck, at Derby, is scheduled for its third review by the city Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday. The project has received extensive feedback from city commissioners, who asked developers to shrink the project in September, citing concerns about its compatibility with the nearby residential neighborhood. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley and Ken Sarachan have settled a lawsuit over his empty lot at 2501 Haste St. on the corner of Telegraph Avenue, clearing the way for the construction of a a six-story, mixed-use, Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan.
Under the settlement, Berkeley agreed to drop its lawsuit to force Sarachan to pay $640,000 in liens or have the city sell the lot at auction. In exchange, Sarachan agreed to meet specific deadlines to pursue and build something on the lot that has been vacant for more than 20 years. … Continue reading »
A proposed Walgreens on upper Solano Avenue is meeting feisty resistance from neighbors, even before the developer has started the city’s official permit process for the project.
About 50 people showed up Thursday, Oct. 24, at an informal public meeting on the plan held at La Farine Bakery, which is across the street from the proposed site at 1830 Solano, at the intersection with Colusa Avenue. The site is currently a 76 gas station.
And by Friday morning, inboxes filled with the gathering steam of an organized opposition to the concept. … Continue reading »
City zoning board members approved a 77-unit mixed-use housing development near downtown Berkeley late last week, expressing excitement about a “unique” design set to include more than a dozen working rooftop farm plots and a novel approach to parking.
“Garden Village,” at 2201 Dwight Way at Fulton Street, brings with it a number of innovative features, from its composition — it’s made up of 18 distinct but connected “volumes,” or towers, that range in height from 3 to 5 stories and are connected by open-air walkways; its more than 12,000 square feet of rooftop farming plots; and its small garage, which offers just enough space for a fleet of shared vehicles that will be rentable by tenants.
Without the car-sharing idea, the project would have required room for 71 vehicles. Instead, Berkeley-based developer Nautilus Group decided it would purchase a fleet of four to 10 automobiles and contract with a car-sharing operator called Getaround to run the “car-share pod” operation. (The city required Nautilus to pay for a parking demand study to bolster the justification for that approach.)
Zoning board Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe described the concept as potentially “genius,” adding that the notion of projects that fold effective car-sharing programs into their plans “might be the magic solution” to the hairy issue of meeting parking demand efficiently in a densely-populated community. … Continue reading »
A proposal for a new University Avenue mixed-use development, set to include 58 units, sailed through Berkeley zoning board review Thursday night, winning acclaim from commissioners for what they said was its beautiful design and sensitivity to the surrounding neighborhood.
The 45- to 55-foot-tall building will feature 1,175 square feet of office or retail space, and 60 parking spaces. Two structures currently on site — which have housed a construction company, a veterinary clinic (circa 1973) and, later, medical research labs — will be demolished to make way for the project, which is named “The Aquatic” and was designed by Berkeley-based Trachtenberg Architects. (See the project staff report here.)
The building project site, at 800 University Ave. on the south side of the street, straddles two different zoning designations; as a result, the north side of the property will reach five stories, and the southern portion will rise to just four. Parking will be provided in both a ground-floor garage and an open lot behind the building. Four units in the development will be available to very-low income residents, and the project will put $240,000 into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. … Continue reading »
Berkeley zoning board members voted Thursday night to ask developers to reduce the size of a proposed micro-unit project on Shattuck Avenue by either taking units off the upper stories or removing the top story altogether.
The lengthy Zoning Adjustments Board meeting was the panel’s first chance to vote on the project. Throughout the night, the board seemed poised to approve the project as proposed, deny the project altogether or ask for significant changes before moving forward.
At the end of a nearly three-hour discussion, which included comments from more than 20 members of the public, the board voted to affirm the staff recommendation to ask San Francisco-based Axis Development Group to change its designs to make the building fit in better with the neighborhood. Staff had recommended some type of increased “setbacks” — such as a more gradual increase from story to story up to the building’s full height — on the five-story proposal’s upper floors to increase the space between the structure and a nearby single-family home to the east. The zoning board asked mixed-use developer Axis to consider either that approach or a possible reduction to four stories. … Continue reading »
Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council took its first steps at considering a “super-green affordable housing project” that would offer extensive services to the homeless on the site of what’s now a 112-spot parking lot at Berkeley Way and Henry Street.
The “innovative housing and services center with permanently supportive housing, along with emergency shelter and supportive services” would “meet a critical need, and help further the City’s goals to end homelessness,” according to a staff report from Tuesday’s meeting.
Members of the business community have expressed concerns about the loss of parking during construction, and said the parking supply would need to be doubled to ensure that visitors to downtown, who are expected to increase as the area is revitalized, will have access to readily available spots. They noted that decreased parking already in effect or planned, with the construction of the new Berkeley Art Museum and a proposal to demolish and rebuild the Center Street garage. … Continue reading »
A 70-unit five-story building proposed at Shattuck Avenue and Derby Street faced steep neighborhood opposition at a recent zoning board meeting in Berkeley.
The 60-foot-tall proposal, set to include 35 garage parking spaces, 81 bike spots and a 2,000-square-foot restaurant, has been designed by Lowney Architecture, and comes to the city from Axis Development Group in San Francisco. The project has been scheduled before the city’s Design Review Committee six times since December. Units as currently designed range from 307 to 344 square feet. The project would result in a payment of $1.4 million into the city’s affordable housing fund.
Proponents say these “micro-units” — which have sparked fierce debate in San Francisco — are the way of the future, offering a more viable financial alternative to renters who otherwise would not be able to afford their own apartments. An attorney for the project, Rena Rickles, said at the Aug. 8 Zoning Adjustments Board meeting that micro-units “have been lauded in every design review magazine,” adding that the Berkeley proposal would offer even more amenities than a similarly high-end project, 38 Harriet, in San Francisco (built by Berkeley-based developer Panoramic Interests): “It meets the highest standards for this kind of housing in this area.” Rickles also noted that it would bring some much-needed vibrancy to the area.
Fifteen neighbors who live near the proposal, and spoke before the zoning board, were unconvinced. … Continue reading »
As downtown Berkeley prepares for the construction of the city’s largest ever apartment building, locally owned Berkeley Ace Hardware remains on the lookout for a place to relocate temporarily. Owners Bill and Virginia Carpenter continue to consider open spaces around Berkeley, but are hoping to remain downtown.
“The process is going slow,” Bill Carpenter said. He added that if community members know of open spaces where the store might be able to move in, they should let him know. … Continue reading »
An architecturally distinguished mid-century modern home in north Berkeley changed hands this week for the first time since it was built in 1952. It sold for just over $1 million.
The Kip House, at 775 San Diego Road, was designed by architect Donald Olsen and is located across from John Hinkel Park.
Olsen was a professor at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. His home, which is next door to the Kip House and is of a similar design, was landmarked by the city in 2009. … Continue reading »
A new eight-story building could take the place of the Firestone garage and parking lot at Milvia and University, if a newly proposed development at 1974 University Ave. is approved by the city of Berkeley.
The project is still in its nascent stages as far as the city permit approval process; developer William Schrader Jr., of Alamo-based The Austin Group, submitted the application Friday, with the possibility of a design review session coming in August.
Schrader’s son, AJ, a broker with San Francisco-based boutique real estate firm Retail West, who procured the sale of the land, said last week that the deal took about 14 months to negotiate. The sale won’t be final until the city entitlement process is complete, or nearly complete, he added.
William Schrader said the new development would help continue extending “the retail experience” from Shattuck Avenue downtown westbound on University Avenue. The new building is planned at this time to include an atrium that’s open to the sky. The first story would be retail, which is set to include a full-service restaurant, perhaps 3,500 square feet, and some other commercial spaces on University. … Continue reading »