On April 30, Berkeley City Council voted to approve the construction of a Kaiser Permanente medical office building and a surface parking lot to serve patients.
Initially, on Jan. 24, the Zoning Adjustments Board, or ZAB, approved the use of the building at 1050 Parker St. as a medical office facility, but it denied the off-site parking lot at 2700 Tenth St., according to an email from Principal Planner and Co-Secretary to the ZAB Shannon Allen. ZAB also suggested alternate solutions for parking and transit, and the decision was later appealed to the City Council.
Councilmember Cheryl Davila, whose district will contain the new medical office and parking structure, said in an email that Kaiser requires parking to accommodate its interest in coming to Berkeley at the location at Parker Street and San Pablo Avenue. But to provide space for the parking lot, four long-term businesses are being displaced.
“I expect the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development will assist the businesses in finding another location in district 2 or Berkeley at large,” Davila said in an email. “I am not in favor of displacement of businesses or otherwise, period.”
Davila said she would like to see the construction of a parking lot on top of the existing Fantasy Studios parking lot at 2600 Tenth St. instead to avoid the displacement of any businesses.
Davila also said that of the four businesses that will be displaced in October, one has already departed. The other businesses have been offered free rent from July to October 2019, a deal that was negotiated at the council meeting. Davila noted that the rent savings will help the businesses with moving expenses or with their savings.
According to Davila, one of the four businesses has been in Berkeley for more than 30 years. She added that it has been the only business for miles that serves Berkeley’s disabled community with modified vehicles.
The permit for the parking structure would allow for a 43,847-square-foot surface parking lot and would provide 123 automobile and 18 bicycle parking spaces to meet a portion of the required parking for the medical office building, according to the City Council’s April 30 action calendar. Another permit would allow the 60,670-square-foot building at 1050 Parker St. to be used entirely for medical offices.
City Council voted to adopt an initial study of the site for potential environmental impacts and uphold the appeal to allow construction of the parking lot and office building. The only abstention was from Davila.
Allen said the next step in the process would be the submission of building permits.
The site’s developers were unable to comment as of press time.