Tag Archives: Downtown Area Plan

Op-eds: Strong feelings about proposed Berkeley project

2211 Harold Way. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
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Downtown Berkeley hasn’t seen a development proposal like The Residences at Berkeley Plaza for decades. An 180-foot tall apartment building with two towers and more than 10,000 square feet of retail on its ground floor, 2211 Harold Way promises to be transformative.

There are many people who think the structure is too large. In a pair of recently published op-eds, one UC Berkeley professor argues that the citizens of Berkeley got scammed when they voted for Measure R and the Downtown Area Plan. He says it really was a scheme to enrich developers, rather than help the average Berkeley resident. Meanwhile, a long-time Berkeley resident argues that city officials must demand that the developers build more affordable housing than is currently required.  … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Harold Way deserves better than Berkeley

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Harold Way could be one of the best streets in Downtown Berkeley. It’s a quiet, narrow, low-traffic, shady street with some beautiful architecture from the Dharma College buildings. It’s highly accessible – with a parking garage next door, in direct proximity to both Shattuck and Milvia (and the bike station on Shattuck), and just a few hundred feet from Downtown Berkeley BART. Harold Way is easy to get to by bus, BART, bike, foot, or car. With all the other opportunities in Downtown, a trip to Harold Way could easily be combined with a visit to the library, the theaters, the pharmacy, or even when making a transfer on the daily commute.

But right now, there’s not much to visit on Harold Way. Right now, it’s a bleak, abandoned street in the heart of our thriving downtown. A featureless wall greets pedestrians at the intersection with Allston, and runs the entire length of Harold Way and up Kittredge Street, with one break in the monotony for the sunken entrance to Habitot Children’s Museum, whose street-level windows are protected by metal bars. A recent evening walk revealed that every streetlight along the road was either burnt out or nonfunctional.

It’s ridiculous to leave such an accessible location underdeveloped when Berkeley stores and residents are facing rising rents due to limited retail and housing opportunities. Given that the eastern side of Harold Way is also the least utilized area within the Downtown Area Plan’s “Core Area” (approved by voters to allow 180-ft buildings), it’s highly sensible to build one of Berkeley’s new high-rises here, where the impact on most of Downtown and disruption to other businesses will be minimized. … Continue reading »

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