Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley

8 top East Bay patios for enjoying an Indian Summer

Enjoying chips and salsa on Comal's pack patio. Photo: TKTK
Print Friendly

September, the East Bay’s other summer, is almost upon is. While al fresco dining is a year-round option in our pocket of Northern California, these warm days and golden evenings are the perfect time to take advantage of some of the area’s outdoor dining and drinking spots. And, since El Niño is supposed to give us a long, wet winter (we hope!) it may be a while before patios seem appealing again. Below are eight of our favorite places, but we’re sure we missed a few — leave us a comment if you have a much-loved patio or garden that didn’t make our list. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley condo project set for latest review

1951 Shattuck Ave. Image: the bay architects
Print Friendly

A 12-story building set to include 92 condominiums and nearly 12,000 square feet of commercial space could get its penultimate review from Berkeley’s Design Review Committee tonight, Aug. 20.

The 120-foot-tall building would, if approved, take the place of one- and two-story buildings that currently exist on the block, housing several local businesses, including Berkeley Vacuum, the Missing Link annex and the Cutaway hair salon.

The project, at 1951-1975 Shattuck Avenue, at Berkeley Way, would be just north of the approved but not yet built Acheson Commons, and across the street from Berkeley Way West, a proposed UC Berkeley project that is slated to house several departments for the campus.

Read more about tall building projects in Berkeley.

The project could become one of seven new tall buildings downtown from 120 to 180 feet tall approved by voters during the Downtown Area Plan process in recent years. Two of those sites are reserved for UC Berkeley.

The San Francisco-based Nasser family first submitted its plans for 1951 Shattuck in December 2013. In June 2014, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board offered preliminary feedback to the project team. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Opinionator

To City Council: A response to Berkeley balcony collapse

Print Friendly

Once you own a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

Over the past 20 years the City of Berkeley has had a number of deaths which have occurred in its rental housing stock. After each incident the response was the same: mandate inspections and charge the landlord. This rarely addresses the real problem but it is good politics.

The first was a problem of a student renting a house in North Oakland, close to the Berkeley border. His parents came … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley hotel project drops condos; at DRC this week

The hotel proposed at 2129 Shattuck. Image: JRDV Urban International
Print Friendly

Thursday night, Berkeley’s Design Review Committee will get its third look at the 16-story hotel planned downtown at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.

The 168-foot-tall building is set to include 336 hotel rooms, some retail, and about 11,000 square feet of conference space. A parking garage is planned on the second floor, with additional parking set to be allocated in the Center Street garage after its renovation is complete. In its prior iteration, the hotel had been set to reach 18 stories and include nearly 40 condominiums, which no longer appear in the plans.

Read more about the tall buildings proposed in downtown Berkeley.

Project representative Matt Taecker said Pyramid Hotel Group “took another look at things” and decided to take the condos out of the project, at 2129 Shattuck. As a result, the building height has been reduced by two stories and 12 feet.

“The decision was to kind of simplify things and increase the number of hotel rooms,” said Taecker. Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Harold Way project gets Landmarks Commission approval

Some critics of 2211 Harold Way say the models and drawings produced by the project team are inaccurate. Here, they look at a model and compare the height of Harold Way to other tall buildings downtown. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

A controversial mixed-use project proposed in downtown Berkeley won an important permit Thursday night after a 6-3 vote from Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The commission had been tasked with deciding whether to grant 2211 Harold Way a structural alteration permit, which it needs to carry out excavations on the project site. The 18-story building is set to include 302 residential units, 177 underground parking spots and more than 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

More than 60 people turned out to Thursday night’s meeting, including more than 50 local residents who spoke forcefully against the project, and about six who spoke in favor. Many project opponents made their disapproval known by hissing and jeering at the handful of speakers who said Berkeley needs more housing, and that Harold Way will be a good project for the city. Commission Chair Christopher Linvill repeatedly had to ask the crowd to quiet down and give the project supporters their chance to speak. The public comment period lasted roughly three hours. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Crime

Woman arrested after punching passer-by in the face

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

A homeless woman police say punched a passer-by in the head without provocation, and injured an officer who tried to detain her, has been arrested in Berkeley for at least the fourth time since March.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said Dawn Carraway, 25, caused non-life-threatening injuries to the 66-year-old Berkeley woman she attacked.

The incident happened at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday when the victim was walking near Allston Way and Milvia Street in downtown Berkeley.

“As she was walking the suspect punched the victim without provocation,” said Coats. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,
Opinionator

Op-ed: The Harold Way Project, as presented, will sacrifice Berkeley’s unique character

Print Friendly

The construction of the first, true high-rise in the city of Berkeley (in this case the Harold Way Project), will forever change the nature of our very unusual, human-scale city. Under the unfortunately voter-approved Downtown Plan, once the high-rise limit is breached, the city will never turn back as it rushes forward to become part of what Bay Area planners sometimes admiringly refer to as “the vernacular of today.” And there is no way the skyscrapers will be forever … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Carpenters union protests new Berkeley balconies

The Varsity in downtown Berkeley is nearly complete. Photo: Courtesy of the Varsity Berkeley
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley plans ‘very efficient garage that people will be happy to come to’

Designs are coming along for an updated Center Street garage. Image: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects
Print Friendly

As plans proceed for an updated municipal garage on downtown Berkeley’s Center Street, project details are firming up, and the plan for where people can expect to park while construction is underway has been released.

The city is planning to demolish its circa 1958 5-story parking structure at 2025 Center and replace it with a modern 8-story structure featuring a double-helix design to halve the time it takes drivers to exit the garage.

Last Thursday, July 23, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board learned about the newest iteration of the plans for the project, and gave feedback to city staff about several issues they still hope to see addressed. The project is set to return to the board Aug. 27 for a vote.

Read more about parking in Berkeley.

Earlier this month, the city’s Design Review Committee gave the project a favorable review. The city’s Civic Arts Commission is also on board, and is helping determine the process the city will use to select public art — described as colored LED lighting on the façade — that will appear on site. Last Thursday, zoning board commissioners said they were largely pleased with how the project is coming along.

“I’ve seen this project four times and it gets better and better,” said Commissioner Richard Christiani. “Generally it’s a very well-thought-out building. It’s nice to see so much attention given to a structure like this.”Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New plan calls for 10 theaters at 2211 Harold Way

The developer of 2211 Harold Way and Landmark Theatres are nearing a deal to build 10 new theaters in the proposed complex. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin
Print Friendly

The developer of 2211 Harold Way and Landmark Theatres are nearing a deal to increase the number of movie theaters in the 302-unit building in downtown Berkeley to 10 — but detractors say the changes do not go far enough.

After discussions with Ted Mundorf, the CEO of Landmark, Joseph Penner of HSR Berkeley Investments has submitted a new set of plans with the 10 theaters. Previously, the number of theaters proposed had ranged from zero to nine.

The current plan, which still needs city approval, would place the box office by the sidewalk on Shattuck Avenue, much like it currently is. There would be four theaters on the street level. Patrons would take an escalator, stairs or an elevator one flight down to the six other theaters. There would also be bathrooms, a bar, a lounge and a snack bar on the bottom level. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UC Theatre project gets boost with $1.3M matching grant

The push to renovate the UC Theater got a huge boost in July when a major philanthropist made a $1.3 million matching grant. Photo: UC Theater
Print Friendly

One of the Bay Area’s biggest philanthropists has given a $1.3 million matching grant to spur completion of the renovation of the UC Theatre in Berkeley.

Tad Taube, who made his millions in real estate and through his connection to Joseph Koret, a women’s clothing manufacturer, announced this week that he will back the $5.6 million project, scheduled to be completed this fall.

“Music and the arts are gifts that should be accessible to everyone,” Taube said in a press release. “David Mayeri and his innovative team at the Berkeley Music Group have developed a contemporary vision for the UC Theatre that will both enrich our community and broaden youth engagement in the arts. Supporting this project presents an opportunity for our community to engage in an endeavor that will have a broad, diverse impact on music, culture, education and quality of life in our community.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley should revisit its balcony code changes

Print Friendly

There are a lot of questions swirling around regarding the City of Berkeley’s handling of its investigation into the Library Gardens balcony collapse.

The recent new safety regulations passed by the City Council and believed by Berkeley Mayor Bates to be the toughest in the state, while welcomed, add much fuel to the controversy.

Two conspiracy theories have emerged to explain the City’s haste to demolish the second balcony and turn the evidence over to the owner. The first … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Hundreds gather in Berkeley to remember balcony victims

Hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park Sunday night for a "Month's Mind" to honor and remember those killed in the June 16 balcony collapse. Photo: Ted Friedman
Print Friendly

A month after a fifth-floor balcony snapped off the façade of 2020 Kittredge St. in Berkeley, sending six people in their 20s to their deaths and injuring seven others, hundreds of people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Sunday to honor them.

The event was a “Month’s Mind,” a traditional Irish requiem mass held a month after a death, according to Philip Grant, the Irish consul general in San Francisco. It is meant to remember and honor the deceased. There is a moment of silence for reflection.

“It’s a moment of reflection on what happened and where we’ve come,” said Grant. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,