The Village, a dining and retail plaza located at 2556 Telegraph Ave., will be replaced by a new building that includes housing and retail space.
The construction project — estimated to begin in 2019 — was approved unanimously by the Zoning Adjustments Board in January without appeal, according to Aran Kaufer, president of Bright Street, Inc., the development firm heading the building project.
Kaufer said the new building, which will be called The Laureate, will include 22 student-oriented apartments, two residential and work units on the ground floor and a new retail space along Telegraph Avenue, along with a roof terrace, study halls and amenity rooms.
“We anticipate that students will want to live here. It is a great location for students: They can walk or bike to campus and support local businesses on Telegraph,” Kaufer said in an email. “We also hope to attract some vibrant tenants for the retail spaces. Existing tenants will also be given the opportunity (to) move back in.”
According to Kaufer, the original zoning application to develop the property was submitted in early 2015 and The Village’s tenants were notified of the intent to redevelop the site several months prior. Kaufer said the restaurants and retailers currently open are Fondue Fred, Koryo Restaurant, Finfine, Berkeley Hair Studio, Vapor Den and Eid TV.
Stuart Baker, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, or TBID, said TBID is working to help The Village’s current tenants relocate. He added, however, that relocation is difficult because of high rent costs.
“The challenge has been that they have been paying for the last number of years very below market rent for their spaces so we have been trying to find them other spaces in Telegraph,” Baker said. “But it’s been very difficult because … no one’s been willing to explore leasing options because of the difference in prices between what they’re paying now to what the market rate is.”
According to Baker, a number of local businesses are in support of the project, as the new building complex would bring more people to the area. He also added that students have voiced their support for increased housing.
“We want to revitalize the area, and we believe very strongly that in order to do so we need to have more folks on the street and more density in this area is a good thing,” Baker said. “That’s why we are in support of the new development.”
Kaufer said he hopes to start construction next year after obtaining a building permit.
“We know it is a sensitive topic for a lot of people that knew The Village before,” Baker said. “But we feel that what’s coming there will have a greater benefit for more people than what exists now.”