The Bancroft Hotel, a three-story Craftsman-style yellow building with green trim, looks out onto Bancroft Avenue under a cloudy sky.
The Bancroft Hotel would be converted into 15 apartments and 22 units of “group living accommodation” housing under a proposal from its owner. Credit: Nico Savidge

Berkeley’s Bancroft Hotel could be converted into an apartment building, with more housing built atop what is now its parking lot.

The renovation would take a “light touch” with the nearly century-old Craftsman building across from UC Berkeley, according to Mark Rhoades, a development consultant working with hotel owner Daryl Ross.

“It won’t look any different from the street,” Rhoades said, though there would be “some pretty significant changes [to] the interior.”

Early plans submitted to the city this spring call for turning the hotel at 2680 Bancroft Way into 15 apartments and another 22 units of “group living accommodation” housing, in which residents have private bedrooms but share a kitchen and living space. A pre-application states that the project “will retain and rehab the original facade of the historic building.”

Rhoades’ firm has separately submitted a pre-application to build a seven-story, 78-unit project on the parking lot next door at 2660 Bancroft Way. In total, the projects would create 115 homes on the hotel properties.

The plans were first reported by the San Francisco Business Times.

The hotel will remain open and continue accepting reservations as the development proposals work through the city approval process.

Rhoades said his firm, Rhoades Planning Group, is working to submit a full project application in the coming weeks, and any construction at the property is at least a year and a half away. He said renderings of the proposed hotel renovations and new apartment building are not yet available.

Designed by the architect and UC Berkeley professor Walter Steilberg, what is now the Bancroft Hotel was built in 1928 as the College Women’s Club, described on the hotel’s website as “a Pan-Hellenic group for college age women.” The building later became a rooming house and a sorority; it has been a 22-room hotel since 1993.

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Nico Savidge joined Berkeleyside in 2021 as a senior reporter covering city hall. Born and raised in Berkeley, he got his start in journalism at Youth Radio as a high-schooler in the mid-2000s. Since then,...