Existing office space in Berkeley can be old and funky while the demand is for modern and open-plan. And, compared to San Francisco and Oakland, the economics of building new here don't pencil out, say experts.
For many, an over-the-counter zoning certificate may be all that's needed now, rather than going through public hearings and paying thousands of dollars.
Dozens gathered to discuss what should be done with the 8.3-acre site near Second Street. Most said it must be preserved for manufacturing uses to keep Berkeley a diverse place in which to live.
By opening a plant in West Berkeley last year, this maker of phone booths is an anomaly, given the decrease in the number of manufacturers in the city.