Mill Creek Residential, a national development company, submitted a proposal Dec. 21 to build a 180-foot building in place of the Downtown Berkeley Walgreens.
Located at 2190 Shattuck Ave., the proposed 18-story Terrace Green Apartments would replace a two-story retail building, which currently houses the Walgreens store. Walgreens would need to relocate during construction, but may move back into the new building later.
The proposal is in its first and longest phase. Before reaching the Zoning Adjustments Board, the proposal must be analyzed by city planning staff to make sure it complies with the city’s zoning ordinance, according to Councilmember Kriss Worthington.
Igor Tregub, a ZAB commissioner, said it generally takes several months or years before the ZAB reviews projects of this caliber. Worthington added that the City Council will discuss the proposal only if the ZAB’s decision is appealed.
In total, the building would contain 274 dwelling units, 12,000 square feet of commercial space and an underground parking garage with spots for more than 80 vehicles.
According to an email from Don Peterson, senior managing director of the Northern California Office of Mill Creek Residential, the building’s estimated cost is more than $150 million. It would be privately funded by Mill Creek Residential at no cost to the city.
According to the proposal, the project provides benefits to the city in accordance with the Downtown Area Plan. Proposed benefits include transit passes for households and employees, on-site bicycle storage, rooftop terraces and resident gardens and an increase in the city’s property tax revenue.
In order to foster environmental benefits, the project is seeking LEED Gold Certification. The U.S. Green Building Council gives LEED Certifications to buildings that satisfy environmental design prerequisites.
To obtain LEED Gold Certification, the developers intend to reduce energy and water use, incorporate the use of natural light, recycle demolition materials and promote consistent recycling. Mill Creek Residential has not yet determined the cost of implementing these environmental features, according to Peterson’s email.
The Downtown Berkeley Association, an organization that represents local businesses, supports the project as part of the city’s Downtown Area Plan, which hopes to promote centers for culture and the arts, historic assets and transit-oriented housing in Downtown Berkeley.
“This should be a great addition to the Downtown. We’re glad to see this project going forward and to have this kind of density so close to (the BART plaza) makes a tremendous amount of sense,” said John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association.
Similar projects — such as the 18-story building on Harold Way — have sparked controversy among community members regarding the lack of affordable housing and unprecedented height.