Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley Association

Berkeley hotel plans halted pending initiative vote

The developer for a downtown Berkeley hotel proposal at Shattuck and Center said his plans are on hold pending November's election. Image: JRDV Urban International
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A proposal for a downtown Berkeley mixed-use high-rise hotel, which had begun working its way through the city’s approval process, is now on hold pending the outcome of November’s vote on an initiative that would significantly change the city’s zoning process and requirements.

A representative from the development team for the Berkeley Place project, where the Bank of America currently operates on Center Street, announced that decision before the Berkeley City Council in July and confirmed it in the middle of the month.

But the city official who represents downtown Berkeley, and who has been a main proponent behind the new initiative, has questioned the claims that the project has truly been halted. Councilman Jesse Arreguín said developers are using the specter of the initiative to scaremonger, and are using it to make a political point. … Continue reading »

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New drought rules would see Berkeley reduce its water use

A Downtown Berkeley Association employee powerwashes the sidewalk at the corner of Shattuck and Center. Photo: Isabelle Gaston
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This week the state Water Resources Control Board will consider emergency restrictions on water use that would require the city of Berkeley to impose fines for certain types of outdoor water use.

If approved, the Water Board’s drought measures would require Berkeley to levy fines of up to $500 for excessive water use while  cleaning sidewalks, watering plants, cleaning cars, or operating outdoor fountains.

This will be good news to some Berkeley residents, who have noticed some businesses using large amounts of water around town. Isabelle Gaston, president of the Northeast Berkeley Association, emailed Councilman Jesse Arreguín recently about the Downtown Berkeley Association’s use of power-washers to clean the sidewalks in the downtown neighborhood.

“One can see in the photos the large pools of water accumulating on the sidewalks,” wrote Gaston in her email. “I would think a good sweeping would be sufficient given the severity of our water shortage.”

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Berkeley Spark 2.0: Art, innovation and a kinetic bear

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 9.40.45 AM
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On Saturday July 19, Berkeley’s Civic Center Park will be filled with artists, idea makers, entrepreneurs and techies from around the Bay Area for the second annual Berkeley Spark, a festival of creative and technological splendor.

From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., these innovators will host an array of activities and share their ideas with the public. At the event’s “tech corridor,” representatives from All Power Labs will showcase their biomass-fueled power generators. ArtIsMobilUs, Frankentrikes and Infinity Boxes will be there too. Attendees can also participate in a letter-writing project by Letters to the Universe, or share their work at a hip-hop open mic.

For the foodies, organizers are bringing in Drake’s Brewing Co., Dan Cook of The Mead Kitchen, Amy Murray from Revival Bar + Kitchen and Tamales Acapulco to share their specialty drinks and food dishes. … Continue reading »

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New festival turns Center Street into ‘fun central’

Eats, Beats & Brews. Photo: Downtown Berkeley Association
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Every Sunday this June, Center Street in downtown Berkeley will become the site of the new Eats, Beats & Brews block party. The restaurant-laden part of the street between Shattuck and Oxford will be closed to cars between noon and 6 p.m. on June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. There will be live music, an outdoor beer garden, and a bounty of delicious food offerings.

Eats, Beats & Brews was given a test run last year for one day, but this year it will run for five Sundays in June. The event is part of Sunday Streets Berkeley, which is itself part of a national movement to close down streets for events that benefit the community.  … Continue reading »

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See plans Tuesday for new downtown Berkeley hotel

A 16-story hotel has been proposed on Center Street at Shattuck Avenue.  Image: JRDV Urban International
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A 16-story high-rise hotel under consideration in downtown Berkeley is making its way through the city approval process, with three preview meetings already completed before city panels related to development decisions. No votes have yet been taken, but are expected in the coming months.

The hotel, proposed by Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC, would replace the 1970s-era one-story Bank of America building and parking lot at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. If approved, the project would transform one of the most visible corners in downtown Berkeley.

An open house about the project is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, from 5-7 p.m. at the Marsh Theater, 2120 Allston Way. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s long-shuttered UC Theatre to get new life

UC Theater rendering
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For the last seven years David Mayeri has had a dream: to refurbish the old UC Theatre on University Avenue, which has been closed since 2001, and re-open it as a state-of-the art concert venue.

Mayeri, the former chief operating officer of BGP, the successful concert company started by Bill Graham, has come tantalizingly close over the years to pulling off the project. He got city approval to refurbish the 1,400-seat landmarked theater in 2009 and seed money from the now deceased millionaire music lover Warren Hellman. … Continue reading »

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Council to consider higher rates, evening hours for some Berkeley parking meters

Nearly full conditions on many commercial blocks in Berkeley during the evening hours may lead to metered parking until 8 p.m. (Click the map for the full presentation.) Image: City of Berkeley
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New metered parking rates and time limits, in effect in Berkeley since last fall in three of the city’s busiest commercial areas, have made it easier for many visitors to find daytime parking, according to new data released by city staff this week. But more changes are needed to meet the city’s goal of freeing up 1-2 spaces per block.

Proposed changes include slightly higher hourly rates in some areas, and a new pilot program to extend metered hours until 8 p.m. The Berkeley City Council would have to sign off on any new changes at a meeting currently scheduled for late April. … Continue reading »

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The Oscars come to Berkeley at film foundation benefit

12 Years a Slave, one of the movies nominated for an Academy Award this year. The ceremony will be screened on March 2 at a benifit dinner for the Berkeley Film Foundation. Photo:
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The Oscars are coming to downtown Berkeley this year for the first time with a glitzy new event at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza that promises to give those who go a taste of the red carpet, and the chance to support our homegrown movie-making engine, the Berkeley Film Foundation.

Berkeleywood, on Sunday March 2, the night of the 86th Academy Awards broadcast, offers the chance to watch the ceremony live on the big screen while enjoying delicious food and wine prepared by Stephane Tonnelier, executive chef of Five restaurant.

Political satirist Will Durst is the emcee for the evening and the special honored guest is Academy Award winner Rita Moreno. … Continue reading »

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Couples say ‘I do’ in Berkeley Valentine’s Day celebration

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Kelly Ross and Alyssa Journey were married in downtown Berkeley on Friday Feb. 14, but it was fluke that it happened at all. The couple, from Little Rock, Ark., was traveling to New York with plans to get married when their flight was cancelled. They rerouted to San Francisco and happened to see on Facebook that Berkeley was holding a mass wedding on Valentine’s Day. They decided to head here to tie the knot.

Ross and Journey were one of several couples, straight and gay, who were wed or who renewed their vows at a mass celebration at BART Plaza in downtown on Friday.

The event was orchestrated by the Downtown Berkeley Association on the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and the overturn of Proposition 8. … Continue reading »

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Community

Berkeley to celebrate Valentine’s Day with mass wedding

Photo: marie-11/Creative Commons
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Forget a mere box of chocolates or a bouquet of red roses or a pretty pink heart. The Downtown Berkeley Association has much bigger plans for Valentine’s Day.

To celebrate love, and the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and the overturn of Proposition 8, Berkeley will be holding a mass outdoor wedding for gay, straight and other couples on Friday. Everyone who decides to say “I Do,” at the 5:00 p.m. celebration near Berkeley BART also gets the chance to win an instant mini-honeymoon in downtown Berkeley.

“What better way to celebrate the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8 than a mass wedding for all?” said John Caner, the CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association. “Our merchants were thrilled to donate mini honeymoon packages for three lucky couples.” … Continue reading »

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‘Explosive’ downtown Berkeley housing boom under way

More than 1,400 units are in the works for downtown. Image: Downtown Berkeley Association
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More than 1,400 housing units are currently in development in downtown Berkeley, with demolition on one of the first in the pipeline scheduled to begin this week.

There are eight projects, including a hotel, planned in the downtown core, with two more planned just south, on Dwight Way, and another proposal on University Avenue just west of downtown that’s set to have its first public city review next week.

Demolition for The Durant, which has frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way, was slated to begin Monday, Jan. 13, according to Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner.

Caner said the project is expected to break ground for construction several weeks after that.

According to Downtown Berkeley Association calculations, the new projects will bring at least 1,414 new units and more than 88,000 square feet of new retail space to the downtown area. Not included in those calculations is the project just beginning city review, The Overture, which would bring an additional 44 units and 4,151 square feet of retail and restaurant space to the city’s core. … Continue reading »

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New 16-story hotel proposed for downtown Berkeley

Center Street Partners wants to construct a 16-story, 293 room hotel complex at Shattuck and Center. Photo: Center Street Partners
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A Carmel-based developer and UC Berkeley graduate will submit plans to Berkeley tomorrow to construct a 16-story, 180-foot-tall hotel with office space, meeting rooms and retail space at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.

The new complex, proposed by Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC, would replace the 1970s-era one-story Bank of America building and parking lot, and, if approved, transform one of the most visible corners in downtown Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Center Street garage slated for demolition, expansion

The Center Street garage is slated for reconstruction. Image: Google Maps
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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 »

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