Berkeleyside has pored over city records and our own archives to bring you a round-up of many of the larger housing projects that have been completed around the city since 2012. Did we miss a completed project or get something else wrong? Kindly use the tips form to alert us. Click any thumbnail below and use the arrow keys to scroll through larger images. See the companion list of projects that have been proposed, permitted or are under construction as of March 2019.
2001 Fourth St. (at University Avenue): The Aquatic III is a newly completed mixed-use project with 152 apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and parking for 219 cars and 98 bicycles. Amenities include landscaped rooftop gardens, a lushly landscaped inner courtyard, a demonstration kitchen, a gym and a bocce ball court. The Aquatic offices are at 2010 Fifth St., but the brand itself has a broader reach. The name may be familiar, as architect Trachtenberg built the first two phases of The Aquatic, at 800 University, after getting city approval in 2013 (see below). The latest phase of the project sits on the parcel where the Grocery Outlet used to be: If considered as a single project, Aquatics I, II and III contain 258 apartments and span 320,000 square feet, including 18,000 square feet of retail, according to project materials. There are also Aquatic locations planned on Shattuck and San Pablo avenues.
2055 Center St. (west of Shattuck Avenue): Berkeley Central came on the market in late 2012 with 143 units located on nine stories. With the rent at that time for a one-bedroom starting at $2,500, and a two-bedroom at $3,900, the apartments were marketed mostly to empty-nesters and well-paid professionals. According to the Downtown Berkeley Association, the project reached full occupancy in a matter of months. Developer CityView acquired the building in July 2012 for $60 million. It had previously been known as the Arpeggio building and at one point was slated to become condominiums. See project documents on the city website.
2038 Parker St. (west of Shattuck): CityCentric won approval in January 2012 to construct Parker Place, a 155-unit complex at the intersection of Shattuck and Parker, where Berkeley Honda used to be located. The project — now called Parker Berkeley — consists of two five-story mixed-use buildings at 2658 and 2660 Shattuck (both sides of Parker at Shattuck) and a three-story residential building at 2037 Parker. In addition to 155 dwelling units, there is nearly 23,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. Ultimately, the site was purchased by Lennar Multifamily and was developed by Lennar and Rhoades Planning Group. Developers prevailed over project critics after they filed a lawsuit to stop the building. See project documents on the city website.
The Aquatic I and II (between Fifth and Sixth streets): Dubbed “The Aquatic,” this complex started at 800 University with 58 units designed by Trachtenberg Architects. City zoning board commissioners lauded what they described as its beautiful design and sensitivity to the surrounding neighborhood. Officials reported no opposition to the project, which was approved by the city’s Design Review Committee and Zoning Adjustments Board on a single pass. A companion building, The Aquatic II, was built later at Sixth Street, adding 48 more units just east of the original project site. The Aquatic III (see the top of this list) came about later. Other Aquatic sites are planned on Shattuck and San Pablo.
2711 Shattuck Ave. (south of Derby Street): This four-story, 22-unit project from developer Patrick Kennedy was reportedly the first in the nation to be constructed of prefabricated all-steel modular units made in China. Each module, which looks a little like sleekly designed shipping containers with picture windows on one end, is stacked on another like giant Legos. The modules were shipped to Oakland then trucked to the site. Kennedy said the cost of trucking to Berkeley from the port of Oakland was more expensive than the cost of shipping from Hong Kong. The complex has no car parking, but it does have 22 bicycle spots. It has no elevator and no interior common rooms except hallways. There is a shared outdoor patio with a BBQ area. ADA accessible units are on the ground floor. Shattuck Studios is listed on UC Berkeley’s website as affiliated graduate student housing. See project documents on the city website.
1974 University Ave. (west of Milvia Street): The eight-story StoneFire building was one of the earliest projects to be completed in downtown Berkeley in the past few years. It took the place of the Firestone garage and parking lot at Milvia Street and University Avenue. The project is aimed at students but is privately-run. Developer William Schrader Jr. of The Austin Group said he would include eight below-market-rate rental units on site out of 98 apartments. The zoning board unanimously approved the project in 2014. See project documents on the city website.
1812 University Ave. (east of Grant Street): This four-story, 44-unit mixed-use development called “The Overture” took the place of two small shops on the south side of University Avenue. The project, which is aimed at young professionals, was the first to be built under complex rules set out in the University Avenue Strategic Plan, which was created in 1994 and adopted a decade ago, according to developer Mark Rhoades. Rhoades worked with Nathan George to get project approvals. The building, designed by Devi Dutta Architecture, boasts an array of amenities, particularly in terms of open space, which includes a large gym, communal kitchen, “generous lobby,” courtyard and landscaped roof deck. The project was approved in 2014. See project documents on the city website.
2121 Dwight Way (east of Shattuck): Menlo Management Company built The Dwight, a six-story, 99-unit building with ground-floor retail and 45 parking spaces. The developer asked for a density bonus to add the sixth story in exchange for providing affordable housing on site. The architect is Richard Christiani of San Francisco. The project received city approvals in December 2012. According to the Christiani Johnson Architects website, the Dwight Way development has a landscaped central courtyard, a rear yard with outdoor grilling, bike storage and car share facilities. See project documents on the city website.
2024 Durant (west of Shattuck): Varsity Apartments was another early project built downtown in recent years. The Austin Group was ahead of the curve and got project approvals with relative speed and ease. The 79-unit Varsity has frontage on both Durant and Channing; it’s set mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. The south side of the building has four stories, and the north side has six. Johnson Lyman Architects of Walnut Creek designed the building. The Austin Group said the Varsity, just a few blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, was created largely with students in mind. But it’s not affiliated with the university; it is privately-run. The project includes 34 parking spaces and four electric car-charging stations, two car-share parking spots and at least 40 bike parking spaces. The construction team found a time capsule from 1948 while it worked on the project. See project documents on the city website.
1935 Addison St. (west of Milvia): This six-story, 69-unit building was approved by the city’s zoning board in 2013. Addison Arts Apartments was developed by property owner Avi Nevo, who has built numerous projects in Berkeley over the last 17 years, including Telegraph Gardens across from Whole Foods Market at Ashby Avenue (scroll down). The Addison Street project, at 1935 Addison (between Milvia and Martin Luther King Jr. Way), took the place of two garages on adjacent parcels. Ten studio apartments, five one-bedroom units, 53 two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit were planned, with 10% of the units, a total of seven, affordable to very low-income households. Nevo did not take a density bonus, which would have allowed him to build a taller building.
2201 Dwight Way (east of Fulton Street): In 2013, the zoning board approved Garden Village, a five-story, 77-unit mixed-use housing development, expressing excitement about its “unique” design set to include more than a dozen working rooftop farm plots and a novel approach to parking. The project is made up of 18 distinct but connected towers. They range in height from three to five stories and are connected by open-air walkways. The complex has more than 12,000 square feet of rooftop farming plots. Its small garage has just enough space for a fleet of shared vehicles that are rentable by tenants. Without the car-sharing idea, the project would have been required to build space 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 to run the “car-share pod” operation. The project is listed on UC Berkeley’s student housing website for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students. See project documents on the city website.
2441 Haste St. (at Telegraph Avenue): This five-story, 42-unit building replaced the earlier Sequoia Apartments, which burned down in a catastrophic fire in 2011. The contemporary building, called “The New Sequoia,” was designed by Berkeley-based architects Studio KDA, working with developer ROEM and Tom Kirk Construction, among others. Ground-floor tenants Raleigh’s Bar & Grill and Café Intermezzo on Telegraph Avenue re-opened to much fanfare when the building was complete. The design has a U-shaped building around a courtyard — the original Sequoia building also had a courtyard. UC Berkeley, which lists the property on its student housing website, says the building has a 116-person capacity. The apartments are fully furnished. See project documents on the city website.
For those interested in student housing, UC Berkeley opened David Blackwell Hall — formerly Stiles Hall — in 2018. It was the university’s first new dorm to open since 2012, and has housing for more than 700 students, according to Cal.
2301 Durant Ave. (at Ellsworth Street): St. Mark’s Episcopal Church built The Metropolitan (designed by Mikiten Architecture), with frontage at 2301 Durant Ave. and 2300 Bancroft Way. The five-story 44-unit building is set over a 59-space parking garage on an L-shaped parcel that fronts Durant, Ellsworth and Bancroft. The building is a fully-furnished private dormitory for approximately 160 students. Each small bedroom is arranged around a common area. The firm Hudson McDonald developed the project with the church. It also includes a 2,722-square-foot church community center.
3015 San Pablo Ave. (at Ashby): This five-story, 98-unit mixed-use housing development called the Higby opened in 2015. Gerding Edlen, which specializes in infill, sustainable development, bought the property from its previous owner, Ali Kashani of CityCentric. The price was not disclosed, although online real estate sites estimated it was worth $38 million. The complex had been known as “Ashby Arts,” but was renamed the “Higby.”
3001 Telegraph Ave. (at Ashby): This five-story, 38-unit building on the corner of Telegraph and Ashby was completed in 2013. Most of the units are two-bedroom, two-bath apartments ranging from 800-1,100 square feet. Architect Rony Rolnizky designed the building, which is right across from Whole Foods. See project documents on the city website. A Starbucks coffee shop on the ground floor, which drew significant community pushback when it opened, closed in 2018.
2489 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Dwight Way): This small project was a long time in the making. The four-story, 21-unit mixed-use building, approved in 2005, did not get built until 2013. A project website lists its amenities as views of the San Francisco Bay, gated parking (available for lease), a washer and dryer in each unit, a roof-top terrace with BBQ and Wi-Fi and more. The building offers everything from lofts to three-bedroom units. The property used to be the site of the Dwight & King Drop-Off Recycling Center. According to a 2004 story in the Berkeley Daily Planet, the property, then the recycling center, had been “on the market for several years since longtime owner John White died.” Several proposals for the site had “fallen through… because of environmental concerns about the site, which at one time housed a gas station.” The project was designed by The Bay Architects.
3132 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between Woolsey and Fairview streets): Harper Crossing has 42 affordable apartments available to low-income seniors. Developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA) opened Harper Crossing in 2018. The units are exclusively for seniors, 62 and older, whose household income is at or below 30% to 60% of the area median income. The building is close to Ashby BART and AC Transit bus stops, and has on-site services including adult education, health and wellness and skill-building classes. The apartments were financed by what SAHA Executive Director Susan Friedland described as an “alphabet soup” of funding. The eight funders include the city of Berkeley, Alameda County Boomerang Funds, Silicon Valley Bank and the National Equity Fund. The city of Berkeley made available a $1.8 million loan from its Housing Trust Fund, and provided the land, which was valued at nearly $2 million in early 2015.
See projects that have been completed around town in recent years? We appreciate your tips and photographs to help us stay up to date.