Arpeggio Berkeley — a multimillion-dollar housing development in the center of Downtown Berkeley — is at last ready to open after years of construction and ownership changes.
Formerly envisioned to be a condominium complex, Arpeggio Berkeley is slated to open this fall as an apartment community, and parts of the building are already in use as practice spaces for theaters.
The Arpeggio building, located on 2055 Center St., has been under construction since 2008. It was developed by SNK Realty Group, a real estate company that has developed more than 6,000 residential units in the western United States.
Formerly known as the Seagate building, as it was originally proposed by Seagate Properties, Inc., the Arpeggio building was sold to SNK in 2005.
Earlier this month, CityView, a premiere real estate investment firm founded by Henry Cisneros, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during President Bill Clinton’s administration, purchased the interest on the 143-unit, nine-story Arpeggio building from SNK.
Tony Cardoza, managing director of CityView’s $300 million Bay Area Fund, is responsible for the fund’s development and investment activities in the Bay Area. According to Cardoza, under SNK, Arpeggio Berkeley was to be a multimillion-dollar condominium project.
However, the project was “planned earlier in the economic cycle, and due to the change in the economy in general and specifically in the housing market, the project became, at a certain point, no longer viable,” he said.
Cardoza said CityView is looking to transform the building into a multiresidential apartment complex. According to Cardoza, the building is set to open in September or October of this year, though the company will begin pre-leasing units in August.
“(Arpeggio is) a type of asset that you don’t find in typical housing products in the Berkeley area — the building will appeal to various segments of the Berkeley population, including UC Berkeley students and faculty and various professionals who live in the Bay Area,” Cardoza said. “It certainly is different from other properties in the market today.”
Though pricing for units has yet to be finalized, Cardoza said the building will have a significant affordable housing component strongly supported by the city, and 23 of 143 units will be designated as affordable.
According to Cardoza, market rate units, which range from 800 to 1,000 square feet, will be priced from $2,000 to $3,500, while two-story penthouses, which are approximately 1,600 square feet, will be in the $4,500 range.
Cardoza said he foresees that moving more residents into the Downtown Berkeley core will yield positive effects on service providers in the area due to the activity the project will generate. As of now, Berkeley Repertory Theater is a tenant and holds a practice space in the building, and there will be more retail space to be leased once the building opens.
Emiel Koehler, facilities director for the theater, said the theater had a rehearsal hall and office space in the space that existed prior to the construction of the Arpeggio complex.
As part of a negotiation with the city, SNK was allowed to build additional floors so long as it introduced an arts usage space to the floor plans as part of a measure to keep arts organizations downtown, so Berkeley Repertory and other theater groups have made use of the space, Koehler said.
“We’re excited that the building project is moving forward,” Koehler said. “Our school of theater has been utilizing the space, and it has enabled them to expand their classes.”
John Caner, chief executive officer of Downtown Berkeley Association, said the association sees the project as very favorable.
“It has been under development for a long period of time and has been completed and vacant for several months, so we’ve been very anxious to get the building occupied,” Caner said.
According to Caner, at least 200 more residents will join the downtown community and become a part of Berkeley’s vibrant urban life and street scene by living in the Arpeggio.