A developer would like to replace Anh Hong with 50 new housing units. Image: Trachtenberg Architects
A developer would like to replace downtown Berkeley restaurant Anh Hong with 50 new housing units. Image: Trachtenberg Architects

Update: The zoning board approved this project unanimously on consent at its July 28 meeting. Commissioners Denise Pinkston and Steve Donaldson were absent and did not have substitutes, so the vote was 7-0-0. See the minutes for more information.

Original story, July 25: A Dublin-based developer has proposed to replace a downtown Berkeley Vietnamese restaurant Anh Hong with a seven-story building featuring 50 housing units and a 1,500-square-foot ground-floor restaurant.

The building, at 2067 University Ave., would have no car parking, but it would provide parking for 48 bikes, according to preliminary project plans submitted to the city. The project site is located just west of Shattuck Avenue and close to the downtown Berkeley BART station.

Read more about housing in Berkeley.

Project architect David Trachtenberg is representing the property owner, identified only as “2067 University Avenue Apartments,” through the city permitting process.

Use permits would be needed to demolish the existing single-story building, construct the new building, reduce side setbacks and reduce the required parking. The project — scheduled for the consent calendar Thursday night before the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board — would need a use permit to reach its proposed height of nearly 75 feet.

The project seeks to use the state “density bonus” to build to that height, which means below-market-rate units would be included on site.

“The proposed project is sited, massed and articulated so as to continue the urban building fabric along University Avenue Corridor near Shattuck Avenue,” wrote Trachtenberg in a December 2015 applicant statement. “The project will create needed housing, additional affordable house, and will contribute to the revitalization of this district. The project will benefit Downtown Berkeley by providing a high quality infill development in keeping with the scale, texture and quality of the existing context.”

A rooftop garden for residents is also proposed.

The building would take the place of Anh Hong. Source: Project materials
The new building would take the place of Vietnamese restaurant Anh Hong, housed in the orange building in this photograph. Source: Project materials

According to project materials, mailers were sent to nearby neighbors about a December 2015 meeting at the library with the development team, but no one attended.

Under the city’s zoning code, 19 parking spaces would be required. According to Trachtenberg, parking waivers are being sought because of the size of the lot, which is listed as 5,520 square feet.

According to December 2015 calculations, the project planned to include four units on site that would be classified as “affordable to Very Low Income Households,” and make a mitigation fee payment to the city of $120,000. (Developers can either provide affordable housing on site, pay into the city’s Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing elsewhere, or choose some combination of those approaches.)

“Affordable Units are proposed to be evenly located throughout the project, be of the same size and contain on average the same number of bedrooms as the market rate units in the project, and shall be comparable with the design or use of market rate units in terms of appearance, materials and finish quality,” according to project materials. “The proposed locations are evenly dispersed evenly over the 7 floors and the percentage of each unit type are the closest possible match to the unit-type percentages of the overall building.”

Trachtenberg is also working on transforming the property next door to Anh Hong, at 2071 University Ave., which used to be occupied by Chinese eatery Taiwan Restaurant. It is now destined to be an outpost of Tender Greens, a salad-focused restaurant chain.

Future plans for Anh Hong were not known as of publication time.

The project was reviewed by the city’s Design Review Committee in May. Zoning board documents for Thursday’s meeting are posted online; if the item remains on the consent calendar, there will likely be little discussion. The zoning board is responsible for approving or denying project permits before any construction work can begin.

Read more real estate stories on Berkeleyside. Read more about housing in Berkeley. [This story was updated after publication to include information about Thursday’s zoning board hearing.]

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...