Category Archives: Urban planning
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 Gilman Crossings, 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 will hopefully incorporate a boutique-style craft brewery. … Continue reading »
Neighbors to a proposed new UC Berkeley building say its modern design, and the need to remove several trees in the area in order to build it, are threats to the aesthetic and value of the historic Northside neighborhood. And the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) agrees.
The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, a new College of Engineering design facility, is set to replace the volleyball court at Le Roy Avenue and Ridge Road. The 20,000 gross sq ft building, funded by a $20 million gift from the Paul and Stacey Jacobs Foundation, will have three stories, with the first story being partially underground.
BAHA sent a letter to UC Berkeley in October objecting to the proposed building’s “alienating institutional look,” and suggested the planners consider a design that bears more “relation to the surrounding historic resources.” … Continue reading »
So what’s lurking behind the recently erected wire fence around the Spenger’s parking lot, on Berkeley’s Fourth Street?
That’s precisely what the property owners are trying to find out with an archeological dig. And not for the first time.
“My hope is to clarify what cultural resources might exist so we can make the best decision on the use of the property from the standpoint of all concerned,” said Dana Ellsworth, whose family business, Ruegg and Ellsworth, co-owns the lot with a Spenger’s family entity. (They don’t own Spenger’s restaurant.) … Continue reading »
A new project underway to improve the BART plaza in downtown Berkeley is gaining steam, with a public workshop scheduled for Monday afternoon.
The project, funded in part by a grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission, includes renovation of the BART entrances, a new bus shelter and a redesigned Constitution Plaza. It is estimated to cost $11.44 million, most of which will be covered by the grant.
Members of the public will have a chance to review the project goals and timeline, meet the design team and share opinions about design sustainability, transit infrastructure, bike and pedestrian amenities, and downtown commerce and arts. … Continue reading »
You know UC Berkeley’s newly appointed vice chancellor for real estate has an open-minded attitude when he says tackling the issues at People’s Park might be a “fun challenge” and looks forward to “getting some things done” to help revitalize Telegraph Avenue.
Robert J. Lalanne, a UC Berkeley alumnus and trustee of the university’s foundation, brings 25 years of real estate and development experience to the new position, which was formally announced Tuesday.
As founder of The Lalanne Group, he has spearheaded commercial, residential and mixed-use projects in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties. He will oversee all of Cal’s construction projects, seek “innovative financing” for new buildings, be the point man for facilities and manage 500 employees.
All for nothing a year.
Lalanne will donate his salary back to the university, according to a university press release. … Continue reading »
A six-story, mixed-use, Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns is one step closer to being built on Berkeley’s iconic Telegraph Avenue after the project sailed through a review by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board last week.
ZAB commissioners were generally receptive to the building’s unusual design, according to Commissioner Steven Donaldson.
Addressing the architect of the project, Kirk E. Peterson, ZAB Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe said she approved of the design. “It’s weird and I like that,” she said. O’Keefe said she grew up in Berkeley, had always appreciated the “weirdness” of Telegraph Avenue, and that it was good to see something unusual, “a little different,” proposed for the area. … Continue reading »
Parking in downtown Berkeley may get harder before it gets easier as a new project ramps up to demolish and rebuild the Center Street garage to add hundreds of spaces, improve seismic security and incorporate “green building” standards.
The project is expected to strain parking demand downtown, where availability is often scarce already. City staff have been working to improve the parking situation via its goBerkeley campaign, which has been underway this year. Merchants have been keeping a close eye on the Center Street project and say they hope the city will be thoughtful as it moves ahead.
The five-story Center Street parking garage — which has entrances on both Addison and Center streets — has 420 spaces, ground floor retail and was built in the 1950s, according to the staff report prepared for last week’s Berkeley City Council meeting. Tuesday night, as part of the consent calendar, the Council approved paying up to $1 million to a consultant who will plan and manage the project. … Continue reading »
A San Francisco family that has owned a block of stores on Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way since 1950 is planning to build a 120-foot tall apartment complex that will cater to empty nesters and families.
The Nasser family, whose ancestor, Abraham Nasser, built the Castro Theater in San Francisco and was instrumental in popularizing Nickelodeon theaters, will submit an application to Berkeley on Dec. 19, according to Jim Novosel, whose firm, The Bay Architects, is designing the project. Novosel’s group will hold a public hearing on the complex Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Bistro Liaison, 1849 Shattuck Ave.
The 12-story, mixed-use development at 1951-1975 Shattuck Ave. will have 78 apartments of 1,200 to 1,600 square feet on 10 floors, and retail space on two floors, said Novosel. The complex will be set back along Shattuck Avenue to create a plaza, and will be set back 14-17 feet along Berkeley Way as well. … Continue reading »
After lying vacant for years, work has begun on a controversial, five-story, 98-unit mixed-use housing development on a lot at the southeast corner of San Pablo and Ashby avenues.
City officials and representatives from Gerding Edlen, the developer, will host a ceremonial “turning of the dirt” ceremony Tuesday at noon. Mayor Tom Bates and Councilman Darryl Moore plan to be there, as well as Brent Gaulke, vice president of Gerdling Edlen. … Continue reading »
Berkeley zoning board members voted 6-3 last week to reject an application from a San Francisco-based development firm that hopes to build the city’s first micro-unit housing project.
In September, many zoning board commissioners told Axis Development Group that the proposal, at 2701 Shattuck Ave., was too large and too dense for the neighborhood. They asked Axis to consider a four-story alternative, and to make more room on the northeast corner of the site, which is close to an adjacent single-family home. City staff had earlier suggested the removal of up to 12 units from the project.
Thursday night, Axis presented its latest version of the five-story project, currently set to include 67 units that range in size from 269 to 344 square feet, as well as a roughly 2,000-square-foot full service restaurant with valet parking, and a small parking garage. (Read more about the latest plans here.) Following the September zoning board meeting, Axis removed three units from the project’s fifth story. Company representatives said they felt this change addressed the board’s concerns.
Commissioners who voted against the project Thursday criticized Axis for failing to take their feedback in September seriously.
“I’m astonished at how fully the applicant has ignored our very clear suggestions. Very clear,” Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe said. “From staff, from us. I was at the last meeting, I know what was said. I can’t believe you would come up here with a straight face and say you were confused as to what we were asking for.” … Continue reading »
A group of local residents is asking the city to raise funds to turn an old, fenced-off railroad bed in south Berkeley, called the Santa Fe Right of Way, into open space with community gardens and a trail that connects to the Ohlone Greenway.
The challenge is that the parks department is already seriously underfunded. Officials are considering a measure for next November’s ballot for a tax increase of at least $20 on average, just to keep from having to lay off park maintenance workers.
Last Wednesday night, the Park Commissioners discussed the ballot measure. About 14 supporters of the Santa Fe project and several Willard Pool advocates urged the commissioners to fund these large projects, as well.
“We want to make sure that the Santa Fe Right of Way should be among the key — if not flagship — projects on ballot measure,” said John Steere, president of Berkeley Partners for Parks. … Continue reading »
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 »