Category Archives: Urban planning
The iconic Telegraph Avenue building that formerly housed Cody’s Bookstore could have a new identity before year’s end due to an ambitious project underway by local property owner Ken Sarachan.
Sarachan — who also owns Rasputin Music and Blondie’s Pizza, as well as the vacant lot north of Amoeba Music — describes his “Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media” as a two-story complex with a full-service restaurant, performance space, small flower kiosk, take-out coffee counter and analogue media shop that will bring together “the best assembly of records anywhere in California.” … Continue reading »
Three new AT&T wireless sites, made up of 36 antennas, were approved nearly unanimously Thursday night by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board.
An AT&T representative said all three sites are needed to fill coverage gaps around Berkeley, and that all three comply with the municipal code and federal guidelines. The Design Review Committee approved the sites last week.
A handful of residents spoke against the applications, primarily citing health concerns, while several other speakers asked the city to approve the applications to improve cell coverage in Berkeley for residents, businesses and the disabled community. (Municipal governments are not allowed to consider potential health concerns due to existing federal law, as long as companies follow radio frequency emission rules.) … Continue reading »
In the next few months, city representatives will start taking steps to determine how to allocate $30 million from Measure M, which voters approved in November to improve Berkeley’s streets and watershed.
The first session will take place May 2 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. Commissioners will explain and answer questions about the planning process, the schedule, and the ways the public can contribute their views. City staff will provide technical background on street paving, watershed management and transportation programs. … Continue reading »
A new shared workspace is set to open in downtown Berkeley later this year at 2081 Center St.
The 9,000-square-foot space in Berkeley will be able to host more than 200 members. The company offers a variety of membership types, which include 24/7 access and conference room space, and “accommodate a variety of workstyles, from open and collaborative to heads-down and deadline driven,” according to the company website. … Continue reading »
A Berkeley couple who own the vacant lot on the corner of Gilman and Curtis streets in West Berkeley has applied to open a beer garden and food truck market there, tentatively called the Westbrae Food Garden, or the Gilman Biergarten.
Linda and Carl Lasagna, whose family founded Westbrae Nursery next door to the lot but are no longer owners, envision 3,400 sq ft of outdoor dining space with picnic-style seating served by a on-site food trailer, in the style of an Airstream, as well as up to three food trucks or trailers. The application to Berkeley’s planning department was filed on March 29.
Dietmar Lorenz, an architect at DSA Architects who is working with the Lasagnas on the project, said the idea for the small-scale outdoor dining spot — which he describes as not dissimilar to the Hayes Valley Biergarten on Octavia St. in San Francisco, but in a more verdant setting — has so far been well-received in the neighborhood.
… Continue reading »
Nearly 200 Berkeleyans came to Willard Middle School on Thursday night to hear and offer ideas about improving Telegraph Avenue, which has suffered in recent years from declining retail sales, empty lots and plenty of handwringing.
“I have great enthusiasm and great optimism that we’re going to make things happen,” said Mayor Tom Bates after the meeting. “I’m not going to hold back, it’s too important an issue. I’m going to really immerse myself in the issue. I’m not going to let this drop. I have this term of office, and I intend to fully maximize what I can do.”
Bates said there are a number of factors that mean current efforts could really mean a new start for Telegraph, particularly the three concrete projects planned for the unused corners of Telegraph and Haste, and the university’s redevelopment of the student center on Bancroft Way, which could encourage much greater activity and flow of pedestrians. … Continue reading »
The owners of the property at 2441 Haste St. at Telegraph, scene of a devastating fire in Nov. 2011 that destroyed the five-story Sequoia Apartments, have submitted a proposal to the city of Berkeley to build a new 42-unit, 43,000 sq ft apartment building.
The project would also include retail spaces intended for two restaurants that burned down that night: Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar & Grill.
The proposal, which was submitted to the city by Kenneth and Gregory Ent on Friday, Feb. 22, would be designed by Berkeley architects Kahn Design Associates, working with developer ROEM. … Continue reading »
The view from the L-shaped deck off the penthouse apartment at 2055 Center St. is spectacular. One side looks west toward San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Another side offers a sweeping vista of Berkeley’s downtown and hills.
For $6,300 a month, the amenities ought to be top-of-the-line, and at the recently opened Berkeley Central — formerly known as the Arpeggio Building — they are. From Bosch appliances and stainless steel designer lights to the wood floor (dark or light, depending on the unit), the six penthouse units on the ninth floor promise an urbane, urban lifestyle.
The building, which the developer CityView acquired in a fire sale in July 2012 for $60 million, has been open for about seven weeks, and about 35% of its 143 units have been leased, according to Natasha Moses, a property manager for Riverstone Residential Group, the leasing agent. … Continue reading »
City Slicker Farms, an urban farming group in West Oakland, has bought its own land, and expects to dramatically increase its output of leafy greens, vegetables and fresh eggs for local residents.
With its five existing gardens, the organization sold a total 9,000 pounds of food in West Oakland in 2012. Since its founding in 2001, the yield has been 72,000 pounds of food.
But, with the new expansion, City Slicker expects to double the amount of food it grows, according to Barbara Finnin, the organization’s executive director.
About 120 supporters – and a half-dozen geese — gathered at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday Jan. 31 in what’s currently an empty, grassy lot at the corner of Peralta and 28th St., not far from the MacArthur Maze. … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council last night unanimously approved both the Downtown Streets & Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and a schedule of fees that will help fund the proposed projects. SOSIP aims to help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown, and will help guide the design of parks, plazas and streetscapes in the area.
The SOSIP is the first concrete action on the streets and open space provisions of the Downtown Area Plan, which was approved by the council in March 2012.
“I’m very excited about a lot of the projects put forward,” said council member Jesse Arreguín, whose district includes downtown. ”If we can do even a fraction of these projects, it would really make a difference in making downtown a much more pedestrian friendly and vibrant environment.”
The major projects identified in the SOSIP as priorities are: … Continue reading »
On Tuesday night, a Berkeley City Council majority upheld a 2012 zoning panel decision to allow the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot lab building in west Berkeley.
Thirty neighbors had signed a petition to appeal the Zoning Adjustments Board’s decision in September, taking issue with the project’s environmental review, parking plans and changes in design since an earlier approval in 2009. The petitioners asked for an additional public hearing to ensure that the community knew about the changes and had time to comment on them. … Continue reading »
Four years after Wareham Development proposed transforming a historic West Berkeley warehouse into a laboratory building, the company is seeking to tear down the entire structure instead of preserving two brick walls.
Construction costs have gone up and rents have declined since the city approved Wareham’s 2009 design for 740 Heinz and it is now too expensive to build around the rickety walls, according to Chris Barlow, a partner in Wareham, which is headquartered in San Rafael. It will be much easier – and cheaper – to build a new 100,000 square foot structure, Barlow told the Zoning Adjustments Board in late September. … Continue reading »
The future of Telegraph Avenue was the focus of a special work session of Berkeley’s City Council on Tuesday evening. Where most discussions of Telegraph concentrate on the many problems of the area — declining retail sales, vacant lots, troubling street behavior — Tuesday was filled with positive images and ideas for the avenue.
At the center of the discussions was one concrete project — the University of California Berkeley’s Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment — and one ambitious series of new ideas, created by Berkeley Design Advocates following their design charrette last April. … Continue reading »