The members of Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board are slated to offer their advisory comments with respect to the proposed 16-story hotel to rise on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street this week, the 2129 Shattuck Avenue project.

2129%20Shattuck%20Corner.jpg

The development would replace the existing Bank of America building on the corner with 293 hotel rooms, new banking and retail/restaurant space, and a basement garage for 70 cars. As proposed, however, the 284,000-square-foot building is bulkier than allowed:

Existing Development Standards for the site require any portion of the building over 120 feet in height to be less than 120 feet in width when measured at its widest point diagonally. A 15′ step back above 76 feet in height is currently required as well.
Amendments to the Standards, however, might not be the only way for the project to proceed as proposed. From a Zoning Adjustments Board Staff Report:

After reviewing the…Development Standards, and based on the pre-application materials presented so far, staff has informed the applicant that we believe this may be instead allowed via a use permit, subject to the Board making specific findings as set forth in…the Zoning Ordinance. However, a final determination will not be made until a formal application is presented to the City, and we complete our full review of that project.

In the words of the project sponsors, “The project has the potential to become an architectural icon as seen at the street and as part of Berkeley’s skyline.”

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by djt

    Get ready for incoming artillery shells from the NIMBYists!
    I live in Berkeley and if I had more than two thumbs to put up I would.
    It looks great and will bring a lot more foot traffic downtown. The downtown area has great bones and pleasant street scapes but some underutilized storefronts.
    More, please!

  2. Posted by LJL

    As long as it doesn’t obstruct the (public!) views of the Golden Gate from campus. It looks like it’s across the street from another tall building so that’s unlikely to be the case.
    Do the pink areas represent space that was allowed by zoning but unused by the current design?

  3. Posted by Sierrajeff

    LJL hits my uncertainty (though in the other direction) – I’m all for denser development, particularly around transit – which this is. But the views from downtown Berkeley and coming up University, of the campus / hills / Campanile, are very special. Would hate to see those too negatively impacted.
    Looking in the other direction – given the elevation of even the base of the Campanile, I don’t think that a 16 story building on Shattuck is going to impact the view of the GG Bridge or of the bay generally.

  4. Posted by shza

    This looks fine, but the idea that it has “the potential to become an architectural icon” is absurd.

  5. Posted by sharperblue

    uh…looks like the Arterra in China Basin area in SF. Same firm? Either way, please get an imagination. Also, if I see ONE MORE building in this country with a staggered vertical stripe pattern on the wall I’m going to flip out. WTF? All of these buildings look the same!

  6. Posted by EBGuy

    Revolving Door of Government – Episode 2,347
    Dude, Where’s My Variance
    How’s this for irony. One of the city planners who helped draft the Downtown Area Plan is now shepherding the hotel through the approval process. The fix — excuse me, the finding — is in?!

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