Development Watch: Berkeley Gets High as Hell

Our little Berkeley is growing up so fast! Planning Commission members voted to increase the number of 120-foot buildings in its new plan for downtown; to be considered in the EIR for its new downtown plan. The report will also encompass four 180-foot point towers and two 220-foot hotels. Do note that the buildings themselves aren't yet approved— in fact, Berkeley's planning director doubts that all will be built over the course of the 20-year plan. However, by killing a flock of birds with a single EIR report (imagine!) the Commission will make it much easier for developers to realize the proposed projects should they move forward. The University has offered funds to the city as mitigation for 800,000 square feet of construction by 2020; two of the towers sit on university-owned land, and the school is soliciting partnerships from developers for future projects. Not all folks— planners, Commission members, what have you— are in agreement on this one, naturally. However, the executive director of planning did make one recommendation that most sane people will concede to: Just say no to the Great Western Building, he suggests (a.k.a. the Power Bar building) which the Berkeley Daily Planet describes as a "cheese grater" at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. Someone's copping John King's style.
· Commissioners Add Two New High-Rises To Downtown Plan Environmental Study [Berkeley Daily Planet]
· Rendering Reveal: Berkeley's New "Highrise" [Curbed SF]
· Building in Berkeley?! [Curbed SF]

[PowerBar building courtesy Flickr photog myelectricsheep]

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