Op-eds: Strong feelings about proposed Berkeley project

Developers for The Residences at Berkeley Plaza say they want to create a "shared street" on Harold Way that would feature widened sidewalks and special pavement on the roadway to force motorists to slow down. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
Developers for The Residences at Berkeley Plaza say they want to create a “shared street” on Harold Way . The design for the building has changed since this 2014 rendering; there will no longer be a plaza at the corner although there will be stores all along Harold Way and Kittredge Street.  Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning

Downtown Berkeley hasn’t seen a development proposal like The Residences at Berkeley Plaza for decades. An 180-foot tall apartment building with two towers and more than 10,000 square feet of retail on its ground floor, 2211 Harold Way promises to be transformative.

There are many people who think the structure is too large. In a pair of recently published op-eds, one UC Berkeley professor argues that the citizens of Berkeley got scammed when they voted for Measure R and the Downtown Area Plan. He says it really was a scheme to enrich developers, rather than help the average Berkeley resident. Meanwhile, a long-time Berkeley resident argues that city officials must demand that the developers build more affordable housing than is currently required

But a student studying Environmental Engineering and Public Policy says Harold Way is currently a dead space in downtown, with blank, windowless walls facing the street. With the proposed development, Harold Way could become one of the most vibrant and interesting streets around, he argues.

What’s your view? Share your opinion in the Comments sections on the individual op-eds in Berkeleyside’s Opinionator section.

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