2035 Blake. Image: Devi Dutta Architecture
A rendering of the 84-unit apartment building which has broken ground at 2035 Blake St. in Berkeley. Image: Devi Dutta Architecture

Construction begins on 84 units in central Berkeley

Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguín was slated to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning for an 84-unit apartment building that will go up at 2035 Blake St. (just west of Shattuck), on what is now a vacant lot in central Berkeley (pictured above). Two non-residential buildings, homes to Hustead’s Towing and Airport Home Appliance, were demolished to make way for the new housing. Lead developer Gemdale Properties & Investment is partnering with Blake|Griggs Properties on the project which will include two live-work units, 1,350 square feet ground-floor retail, 68 onsite parking spaces in a basement-level garage (with dedicated car-share spaces) and bike parking spaces. There are four below-market-rate units in the complex, and the developer paid an additional in-lieu fee to the city’s Housing Trust Fund of $760,000. The project, previously known as The Roost, was approved by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board in November 2015. It was appealed by neighbors across the street but the City Council upheld ZAB’s decision in February 2016.

For rent: 385 new apartments at MacArthur

A rendering of MacArthur Commons. Image: Greystar
A rendering of MacArthur Commons which is starting to lease its 385 apartments. Image: Greystar

MacArthur Commons, a housing development comprising 385 apartments in three buildings at 539 39th St. near MacArthur BART, is offering one month’s free rent for those who sign up for one of its units “today.” Hines is the developer behind the project which broke ground two years ago and includes a swimming pool, skydeck, outdoor dog run and bike station. The development faced some early opposition from neighbors who, the New York Times reported in a 2016 story titled, “Temescal, Oakland: Multicultural and Rapidly Gentrifying,” said they did not want what would be “a vertical gated community whose height and wealth would be at odds with the area.” Available units run from 524-square-foot studios renting for about $2,800 a month, to 1,233-square-foot two-bedroom apartments available for around $4,400 a month.

1,031 West Oakland apartments seek approval

A rendering of 500 Kirkham with BART tracks in foreground. Image: Panoramic Interests
A rendering of 500 Kirkham with BART tracks in foreground. Image: Panoramic Interests

A proposal for 1,031 new apartments and 41,135 square feet of ground-floor commercial and flexible space in West Oakland is going before the city’s planning commission on May 15. Panoramic Interests is the developer behind 500 Kirkham, which it describes as workforce housing” and would comprise three buildings — one 23-stories high and two seven- and eight-stories high respectively — separated by two new pedestrian streets adjacent to the West Oakland BART station, a federal opportunity zone. Apartments would range from two- to four-bedrooms, and would be surrounded by 60,000 square feet of landscaped open space.

Price drops on 3 pricey Berkeley homes

The list price of 1035 Shattuck Ave. has been reduced from $3.5m to $2.9m. Photo: MLS/Alain Pinel

Three homes mentioned in our recent story on the trend of expensive Berkeley homes going to all-cash San Francisco buyers have had price cuts. The five-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom 1909 home designed by John Hudson Thomas at 1035 Shattuck Ave., which came to market two months ago, has seen $545,000 shaved off its $3,495,000 list price and is now looking for $2,950,000, a 16% decrease. The 2,200-square-foot completely rehabbed home at 1470 Seventh St. went up for sale at $1,995,000 on April 10 — and its listing agent, Sante Sandhu of the Luxe Living Real Estate Group, referred to it as “a $2 million house.” It got a 20% price reduction on May 8, however, and is now asking $1,595,000. The brown-shingle home at 2216 Los Angeles Ave. which went on the market March 25 at $1,849,500 was reduced to $1,749,500 a month later, a 5% drop.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...