Berkeley Design Review Committee discusses design proposals for 3 projects

zoom screenshot of a meeting
Rina Rossi /Staff
The Berkeley Design Review Committee evaluated the design proposals for several city development projects, including the reconstruction of 2902 Adeline St. and 2176 Kittredge St.

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The Berkeley Design Review Committee discussed design proposals and conducted final reviews for various city development projects Thursday.

During the meeting, Drew Johnston, vice president of site engineering at Bayer HealthCare LLC’s Berkeley site, discussed a proposal extending the company’s development agreement to February 2052. Additionally, the proposal includes altering various development standards in the agreement to facilitate Bayer’s plans for biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

Johnston explained that in line with sustainability and safety purposes, the development’s plants are native and no illuminated signs will face Aquatic Park.

In response, various committee members expressed concern over the lack of design review in the agreement’s 30-year span.

“We’re all a little nervous for signing up for something for 30 years without getting any say at all,” said committee member Janet Tam during the meeting.

Subsequently, committee member Steve Finacom motioned for a collective agreement to the advisory comments made throughout the meeting, which was voted on unanimously by the committee.

The committee then made a final review of 2902 Adeline St.’s design, which was presented by Cody Fornari, CEO of development firm Realtex.

The Adeline Street project spans three lots and includes the demolition of one “mixed-use structure” and one residential building, according to the agenda. The project also includes the construction of 24 parking spaces, 56 bicycle spaces and a six-story commercial space.

Various members of the committee indicated an interest for more color on the buildings. In particular, Finacom noted that “this is far too prominent a building” to be gray.

With some changes to the buildings’ railing, fence and color, the Adeline Street project was voted unanimously for approval of the final design review.

Lastly, the committee discussed the final review of 2176 Kittredge St.’s design, which includes the construction of a seven-story building with ground-level retail and underground parking, the agenda reads.

The project would involve the demolition of an existing gas station, car wash and a nonresidential building.

Committee chair Lillian Mitchell noted that she would like to see the building’s panels be a “deeper golden,” specifically a shade that stays consistent through various seasons.

During public comment, community member Kelly Hammargren advocated for more environmental protection in all three projects discussed during the meeting.

“Are we using any bird-safe glass on the (Kittredge Street) building?” Hammargren said during the meeting. “I would hope that we would, especially because we are right here on campus where there are a lot of trees and birds everywhere.”

Upon detailed review and discussion of the project, the committee unanimously voted to approve the project with further review of the metal panel color to be a “more consistently yellow-golden shade.”

 

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