Tag Archives: Igor Tregub

5-story building approved, again, on University Avenue

A rendering of a new mixed-use project underway at 1698 University Ave. in Berkeley. Image: Syncopated Architecture
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A proposal to construct a five-story mixed-use building in central Berkeley was approved by the zoning board earlier this month after a request to increase the number of units from 25 to 36 while reducing the on-site parking.

The project, at 1698 University Ave. (at McGee Avenue), originally was approved by the city in 2005, and modified in 2008. Since then the property has changed hands. The new owner, San Francisco-based Realtex Apartments, asked the city Zoning Adjustments Board July 10 to increase the number of units and decrease the parking requirements from the earlier proposal.

The new project, designed by Syncopated Architecture — also of San Francisco — would take the place of a vacant automotive repair station. It is set to include approximately 2,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 25,400 square feet of residential. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley neighbors question parking, height of student-oriented housing planned on Telegraph

Patrick Kennedy hopes to build new housing on Telegraph Avenue. Image: Lowney Architecture
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A proposed retail and housing project on Telegraph Avenue that’s already proven controversial with neighbors got its first review last week from Berkeley’s zoning board.

The man behind the proposal is Patrick Kennedy, head of Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests, who is working with Lowney Architecture on the plans. The project proposes the demolition of a single-story building between Dwight Way and Parker Street and the construction of a 70-foot-tall 6-story building to include 65 rental units aimed at students, and 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Six of those units would be available to very-low-income households: those making no more than 50% of the area median income.

Thursday night’s preview session was the Zoning Adjustments Board‘s first chance to provide feedback on the project. No action was scheduled or taken.

Kennedy described his project to the board as “a bold and optimistic gesture” on Telegraph, which he said is long overdue for improvements that are likely to come as higher density housing is built on the avenue. … Continue reading »

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‘Moorish palace’ plans for Telegraph show little progress

The design for a mixed-use project at 2501 Haste St. Courtesy: Kirk E. Peterson & Associates
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The frustration was palpable Thursday night as zoning board commissioners noted the lack of headway by the property owner of a highly anticipated mixed-use project proposed on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.

The empty lot at 2501 Haste St., at Telegraph, has been vacant for more than 20 years, though owner Ken Sarachan has said he would like to build a 6-story Moorish palace-like structure there.

In 2012, Sarachan submitted preliminary plans to the community about his vision. But the process since then has been murky. Issues quickly cropped up related to the fate of an historic home on the project site, the potential need for an environmental review, and existing liens on the property which added up to $640,000. The latest hurdle is due to missing documents and details needed from the project architect, which must be turned in to the city before any approvals can take place. … Continue reading »

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Zoning board denies Berkeley micro-unit proposal

Image: Lowney Architecture
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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 »

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‘Innovative’ housing with rooftop farms set for southside

Garden Village, 2201 Dwight, Berkeley. Image: Nautilus Group
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City zoning board members approved a 77-unit mixed-use housing development near downtown Berkeley late last week, expressing excitement about a “unique” design set to include more than a dozen working rooftop farm plots and a novel approach to parking.

“Garden Village,” at 2201 Dwight Way at Fulton Street, brings with it a number of innovative features, from its composition — it’s made up of 18 distinct but connected “volumes,” or towers, that range in height from 3 to 5 stories and are connected by open-air walkways; its more than 12,000 square feet of rooftop farming plots; and its small garage, which offers just enough space for a fleet of shared vehicles that will be rentable by tenants.

Without the car-sharing idea, the project would have required room for 71 vehicles. Instead, Berkeley-based developer Nautilus Group decided it would purchase a fleet of four to 10 automobiles and contract with a car-sharing operator called Getaround to run the “car-share pod” operation. (The city required Nautilus to pay for a parking demand study to bolster the justification for that approach.)

Zoning board Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe described the concept as potentially “genius,” adding that the notion of projects that fold effective car-sharing programs into their plans “might be the magic solution” to the hairy issue of meeting parking demand efficiently in a densely-populated community. … Continue reading »

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Mixed-use 6-story building approved on Addison Street

Image: Rony Rolnizky
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A new 69-unit building, with 7,240 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, has been approved by the city’s zoning board for construction on Addison Street.

The six-story 60-foot-tall building is the latest development by property owner Avi Nevo, who has developed numerous projects in Berkeley over the last 17 years, including Telegraph Gardens across from Whole Foods.

“I’ve been building projects in Berkeley since long before it became so popular,” Nevo told the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board in late June. … Continue reading »

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Sid Lakireddy sues rent board candidates for libel

Lakireddy Bali Reddy leaves court in 2000. Photo: Examiner Collection, Bancroft Library
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The nephew of a notorious landlord who was sent to prison for transporting minors from India for the purpose of illegal sexual activity has filed a defamation lawsuit against four former Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board candidates.

Sid Lakireddy, president of the Berkeley Property Owners Association, said that Igor Tregub, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Asa Dodsworth and Judy Shelton libeled him when they sent an email to supporters that overtly suggested Lakireddy was involved in the criminal case brought against his uncle, Lakireddy Bali Reddy. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-Ed: Rent Board Commissioner Tregub: ‘More work to do’

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Rent Board Commissioner Igor Tregub delivered this farewell address to a November board meeting:

It’s difficult for me to evoke my feelings about the orderly transition of policy-making authority that I am about to pass on. Some transitions can be planned for over the course of months or even years; in my case, I had less than two weeks to take the projects I planned to undertake and pass them off to the next board. As unexpected as this shift … Continue reading »

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Two slates fight for seats on Berkeley’s Rent Board

Downtown-resized
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A June 2012 grand jury report that slams the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is at the center of the two-slate race for four seats on the board that oversees the city’s rent control law.

Berkeley Tenants United for Fairness, TUFF,  joined forces over support for the report’s conclusions  that the board “lacks oversight and accountability,” and that it’s up to Berkeley voters to “change the direction of the BRSB.”

The Tenant Convention Slate, TCS, chosen by a nominating convention in July, blasts the report, saying it “relies on inaccuracies, half-truths and innuendo,” and is based on policy concerns rather than evaluating the board’s implementation of the rent control law. … Continue reading »

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Can area plan retain eclectic mix of West Berkeley?

In West Berkeley, a Victorian house on Fifth Street sits next to a laboratory. This kind of mix is what makes the neighborhood unique.Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Diego Carreterero-Frades and his wife Irenka Dominguez-Pareto moved into their West Berkeley home 18 months ago. They were looking for an affordable space with a yard and a place to have a child.

Their son Max was born nine months ago and on Tuesday Carreterero-Frades was pushing his stroller throughout the neighborhood. As he walked, he passed 100-year old Victorian houses, newly renovated duplexes clad in corrugated steel siding, automobile shops, and industrial plants making a variety of goods.

“We like the mix,” said Carreterero-Frades, who is a software engineer at EFI in Silicon Valley. His wife is a PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley School of Education. “It’s an industrial area, but it’s transforming. There are small businesses, small lofts. We like this style. It’s affordable to us and it’s a nice neighborhood.” … Continue reading »

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News

Seismic risk of soft story structures goes unheeded

Examining a soft story structuring on Channing during Saturday's tour
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Soft story structures — buildings with large openings at ground level for garages or tuck-under parking — pose a particular hazard of serious damage, including collapse, in seismic activity. Because of the danger, Berkeley passed its soft story ordinance in 2005, mandating that soft story buildings with five or more units notify tenants of the danger and perform a seismic analysis. But, if a walking survey on Saturday is any indication, the ordinance is going largely unheeded.

Rent board commissioner Igor Tregub organized the survey as part of what he called a “seismic compliance day of action”. Tregub and his interns picked several dozen buildings from the city’s soft story inventory, and led a tour of the buildings. The idea was both to see whether the ordinance was being followed and to alert tenants to the potential dangers. The survey was a personal project of Tregub’s, not an official rent board initiative.

None of the 15 buildings visited on Saturday had any visible notice, contrary to the requirements of the ordinance. There were also no signs of retrofits, which would increase the safety in the event of a quake (retrofits are not required by the ordinance). … Continue reading »

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