A 12-story, 156-unit project downtown won praise and nearly unanimous approval Thursday from the city's zoning board. Speakers called it a home run for union labor and the "gold standard" for development.
Asphalt and car lanes would be replaced with grass, playgrounds, seating and eating areas — transforming what is now concrete into a pedestrian and bicycle pathway.
A City Council majority affirmed approval Thursday night of an 18-story building with 274 units planned at the site of the downtown Berkeley Walgreens at 2190 Shattuck Ave.
Work has begun to reconfigure the dangerous downtown area around the intersection of Shattuck and University into a friendlier thoroughfare for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Zoning board members got their first chance to weigh in on plans for a new 12-story building proposed on Shattuck at Berkeley Way. Their advice? Have some fun with the design so it reflects more of Berkeley's quirkiness.
Thursday night, Berkeley's zoning board approved an 18-story mixed-use building at the downtown Walgreens site, set to bring 274 new apartments to the city.
City staff has given the Berkeley Plaza complex at Harold Way another year to seek its building permit, according to a planning department letter sent Friday.
The units will have "chic amenities" and the complex will include a gym and parking garage. The project should be finished by mid-2020.
The developer behind the tallest apartment building approved downtown has asked the city for one more year to meet the deadline to apply for the permit needed to break ground.
The hotel only went forward after the Council twice agreed to defer fees owed by the developer. That lowered the developers' upfront costs and increased profit margins.
The developers are targeting people who live and work in Berkeley, families and people who want to downsize, and professionals who want to be able to take public transit.
Berkeley is on track to fail on its most urgent climate policy imperative: reducing pollution from cars.