Zoning Adjustment Board approves 107-unit apartment building project

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The construction of a seven-story housing project on Addison Street was approved by the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board on April 14, according to ZAB Vice Chair Igor Tregub.

The space’s current occupant, a two-story office building, will be demolished to make way for the new multi-family housing development.

The project will include 107 housing units of various sizes, a parking garage and a space for bicycle storage. According to Tregub, the average rent for one of the housing units is expected to be between $3,300 and $3,700 per month.

According to the staff report, the original project proposed to ZAB consisted of 73 housing units but included an application for a “density bonus” — the reward of extra space. In order to qualify for the bonus, the project allocated 5 percent of the unit base — four housing units — to those of very low-income households.

Consequently, the project received a 20 percent density bonus, resulting in 15 additional housing units. The project’s applicant, BayRock Multifamily, then applied for a use permit, which granted the project an additional 19 units, said ZAB Commissioner Sophie Hahn.

According to Tregub, BayRock Multifamily will also contribute approximately $1.2 million to the city’s Housing Trust Fund — a program that collects funds to construct more affordable housing. He added that he hopes to see the developer provide additional affordable housing to what was approved.

“With only four units on the projects and the $1.2 million the developer is putting into the trust fund,” Tregub said, “I don’t think this goes far enough to meet a very dire need for people who have trouble trying to live or find a home here.”

Garret Christensen, a UC Berkeley alumnus and economist, approves of the project because he believes the city of Berkeley needs an abundance of new housing options across the economic spectrum.

According to Hahn, the project’s design — which includes a poetry wall and roof deck — was well-received by the ZAB Board.  

“It has a variety of unit sizes … and all the benefits of proximity to public transit,” Hanh said. “It is a great location for anybody.”

According to the staff report, ZAB staff determined that the project reduces greenhouse gas emissions due to its close proximity to public transit, jobs, basic goods and the UC Berkeley campus.

As noted in a ZAB findings and conditions report, the city found that the proposed project was “well designed and compatible with the scale of nearby structures in the downtown location” and will not intrude on the health, safety and comfort of neighboring residents.

Contact Jason Tran at [email protected].