Berkeley Repertory Theater has acquired a new campus in West Berkeley to house all of its pre-production activities, including offices, costume, prop and scene shop, and storage. The 62,000 sq. ft. building at 999 Harrison will give the Rep approximately 50% more space than it currently uses for these activities at roughly half the current cost of the five sites it currently uses in Berkeley and Oakland.

“It’s been a necessity for a couple of decades but it became really imperative when the scene shop burned down in 2005,” said Terence Keane, the Rep’s director of public relations. “That hunt brought us to this opportunity which was just too good to pass up.”

The Rep has acquired the new building through existing funds and financing. “It was a very nice deal that we were able to get,” Keane said. “The seller knew the theater and knew our role in the community.” Board members on Berkeley Rep’s facilities committee, led by Bill Falik, identified the building and negotiated the sale.

According to Keane, an additional $3.5 million must be raised to outfit the new space. Seed funding for the work has been secured from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Wayne & Gladys Valley Foundation. When the move is complete it will free space at the Rep’s Thrust Stage on Addison Street to provide new amenities for audiences.

“Say goodbye to the days of being bounced from one rented space to another,” said Rep managing director Susan Medak in the press release announcing the purchase. “For the last 20 years, we’ve been trying to find a permanent home for all our employees. That day has finally come. I am so pleased to bring the scene shop back to West Berkeley, which is valiantly fighting to preserve its character as the city’s home for light manufacturing. We look forward to being part of that tradition once again, and can’t wait to rejoin the many artists who have made that part of town so vital.”

Previous tenants of 999 Harrison included Ten Speed Press and The North Face.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...