Tag Archives: 2025 Channing Way

Carpenters union protests new Berkeley balconies

The Varsity in downtown Berkeley is nearly complete. Photo: Courtesy of the Varsity Berkeley
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Protesters from the local carpenters union set up a large display on Shattuck Avenue on Tuesday to question the construction standards of balconies at a new downtown Berkeley apartment building that’s nearing completion.

Scott Littlehale, spokesman for the Hayward-based Carpenters Union Local 713, said the community should be paying close attention to building standards for projects, like the new Varsity Berkeley, that were approved by the city prior to the passage of urgency ordinances last month by the Berkeley City Council that mandate stricter building standards for balconies. Littlehale said his group has concerns about “generally deteriorating standards” for construction around the Bay Area, and said the group plans to return Wednesday to continue to demonstrate.

Project developer William Schrader Jr. told Berkeleyside on Tuesday afternoon that his building, Varsity Berkeley — formerly known as The Durant — is safe, and that the accusations being levied against it are false. He outlined the steps he has taken in recent months to ensure that his building’s 31 balconies are secure and can be used with confidence. Schrader said his building plans, which he has adjusted, have been reviewed and approved by the city following the Library Gardens collapse in June. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley time capsule contents unveiled: historic bible, anti-liquor pamphlets, more

A bible from the 1800s, along with anti-drinking pamphlets, were among the contents of a time capsule found in Berkeley last week. Photo: Leonard Nielson
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A time capsule discovered last week during the demolition of a Berkeley community church included a carefully wrapped 1875 family bible from one of the church’s founding members, newspaper articles about the church groundbreaking in 1948, and several other related records, such as a church history and roster, published sermons related to the founding pastor, and an architectural flier about the building. Several pro-temperance fliers written by the pastor, seemingly in support of an election coming up around the time of the church’s construction, were also among the contents.

Pastor Leonard Nielson, of the Presbytery of San Francisco — which is based in Berkeley, oversees about 77 Bay Area churches, and was the former property owner of the church — opened the time capsule Monday after it was given to him by developer William Schrader Jr. Schrader is constructing a new apartment building on the site of St. Paul’s Church, at 2024 Durant Ave., where the time capsule was discovered by construction workers last week.

Schrader has plans to put the box, with modern contents, back into the new Durant apartment building behind its original cornerstone from the church.

Have ideas for what to include in the new time capsule? Share them in the comments section below. Schrader says he will consider all suggestions.

In addition to the reburial of the time capsule, Schrader said he plans to install the historic church cornerstone on the site of the new apartments. He also plans to incorporate the church’s large copper steeple as public art, part of the landscaping on the property. He hopes those efforts will serve as a way to help carry some of the past forward, he said. … Continue reading »

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Time capsule discovered during church demolition

This copper box, 10 inches long by 8 inches wide by 8 inches tall, was discovered on a construction site in Berkeley last week. Photo: Bill Schrader Jr.
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[Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part story. Read Part 2, about the time capsule’s contents here.]

A construction crew taking its first steps to prepare an old community church for demolition discovered a time capsule from 1948 hidden inside the wall behind the church cornerstone last week.

The sealed copper box initially stumped its finders, said Scott Allen, site superintendent at 2024 Durant Ave., the location where a new apartment housing development called The Durant is slated to be built.

Last Monday morning, Jan. 13, at about 11 o’clock, Allen said the crew was just beginning work on the first day of the project to demolish the old church, Durant Avenue Presbyterian. Developer Bill Schrader Jr. had given firm instructions to remove the church cornerstone, which includes the building’s name and construction date, to save the granite marker for inclusion on the new project site.

“We wanted to get that out and protect it and keep it safe so we didn’t have any complications later,” said Allen, who works for Sacramento-based Brown Construction. “When we removed it, there was a copper box on the back. We went to knock it off, or pull it off, and it wouldn’t move.” … Continue reading »

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‘The Durant’ apartments win approval from City Council

The Durant. Image: Johnson Lyman Architects
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Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council upheld a March decision by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board to allow developers to move ahead with plans to build a 78-unit rental apartment complex in downtown Berkeley.

The building, called “The Durant,” is set to have frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way; it’s set mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. The south side of the building is proposed to rise to four stories, and the north side to six. The architects are Johnson Lyman Architects of Walnut Creek.

The zoning board decision was appealed in April by Stephen Stine, who cited “severe detriments” related to noise, air quality and sunlight reductions that would affect residents, including his mother, who live in a senior housing complex — Stuart Pratt Manor at 2020 Durant — next door to the project site. Appellants also said the city hadn’t followed proper notification rules when zoning in the neighborhood was changed during the Downtown Area Plan process. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley zoning board approves 78-unit Durant

The Durant, as it would be viewed from Durant Avenue. (Click the image to see how it would look from Channing Way.) Image: The Austin Group
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The Zoning Adjustments Board approved a new 78-unit apartment building for downtown Berkeley in a 5-2-1 vote Thursday night.

But opponents of the plan, who have criticized the new building’s potential impacts on its neighbors, say they will definitely appeal the decision to the City Council.

The building, called “The Durant,” is set to have frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way; it’s set mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. The south side of the building is proposed to rise to four stories, and the north side to reach six. (The developer had originally proposed eight stories on the north side but recently reduced it to six after the City Council lowered fees relating to affordable housing requirements.)  … Continue reading »

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Real estate

Decision on project at Durant, Channing delayed

The view, looking west from Channing Way toward Durant Avenue, of a development proposed in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley commissioners have postponed their vote on a project planned for Durant Avenue and Channing Way after the developer said he would reduce its scale following a recent decision by council to lower fees related to affordable housing requirements.

Developer William F. Schrader Jr. — of Alamo-based The Austin Group — presented the project to the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday night. The project has been before the city’s Design Review Committee four times, but Thursday was its first time before the ZAB. The development has frontage at both 2024 Durant Ave. and 2025 Channing Way, and would include 78 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, along with 36 parking spaces, said Schrader.

The project — underway since May 2011 — spans two lots between Channing and Durant; on the south side, a deed restriction limits the height of the building to four stories. The north side of the property, fronting Durant, is proposed to include six stories, and reach 60 feet at the roof. A church at 2024 Durant would be demolished to make way for the new development, though its steeple, said the developer, will be displayed as public art on the new site. … Continue reading »

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1,000 new apartments planned for downtown Berkeley

A rendering of 2701 Shattuck Avenue by Todd Jersey Architects
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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 »

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