Plans to level the former Northwest Berkeley service station turned abandoned tax office at 1740 San Pablo Avenue are in the works. And as proposed, a five-story building with 48 apartments over 4 street level live/work units and a stacked garage for 53 cars will rise up to 59 feet in height upon the corner site.

As designed by Trachtenberg Architects for Prato Development, the building would be wrapped in a corten steel skin, with 9-foot ceiling heights in the units and large windows. The four live/work lofts would front San Pablo with the building’s garage entrance on Delaware.

The building’s amenities include podium level gardens and a semi-free standing community room in the rear.

And while the site is currently only zoned for a maximum of four stories and/or 50 feet in height, the project team is planning to employ California’s State Density Bonus law to allow for the extra height and 12 more units than would otherwise be allowed, the plans for which will be presented to Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board and the community at large this evening.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    Ah yes, Corten, the alloy that develops that “natural patina” that most of us call “rust”.

    As for the project: yep, another ~50′ building…w/ Berkley’s streets virtually lined w/ them, it’s well on it’s way to becoming Paris’ 21st arondissement.

  2. Posted by Amewsed

    Notcom: It is spelled Berkeley btw.

    I know this area well as I’ve driven on San Pablo to get to the Cal campus numerous times until I decided to change my route to the less economically depressed Solano Avenue to Shattuck Avenue, then left on University Avenue. San Pablo could use more housing and businesses which is currently populated by single story closed businesses. Money goes to places where there is still value.

    • Posted by Brian M

      It’s really this stretch NORTH of University that has fallen on hard times. There are actually some nicer blocks to the south.

    • Posted by Notcom

      This be true: tho “Amewsed”‘s comment of Solano bring “less…depressed” – as if it were depressed at all – makes me think he’s hiding a mirthful streak…either that or he’s viewing BerkEley from the back of a limo.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        I am a “she” and I drive German.

  3. Posted by keenplanner

    More parking spaces than units. Berkeley still has suburban values.

    • Posted by Mark F.

      Yes, look at all of the dense housing near North Berkeley Bart (snark).

      • Posted by Brian M

        That was given as a sop to the Northbrae gentry when BART first came in: Maintain the Single Family Zoning.

  4. Posted by boher

    How does this corten steel hold up over time?

    • Posted by Notcom

      Quite well…unfortunately: the oxidation forms a protective coat, so it’s kind of like aluminum…tho obviously infinitely uglier (as a reference, I believe it’s used on many guardrails along freeways)

      IIRC USS used it on their HQ, which is now 40+ years old.

    • Posted by archiwha?

      holds up better than most materials, but expect sidewalks stains. small price for such a nice material, imo.

    • Posted by unlivable city

      How it holds up physically is only half the equation. How it holds up aesthetically is the other half. Think opalescent car paint, think matte black car paint, think faux reclaimed wood… think faux stucco… modern construction is awash in “finishes” whose shelf life aesthetically are the construction equivalent of acid wash. Which is back at the moment, btw.

      San Pablo Avenue is a fabulous street, with a high-low randomness that crosses how many cities? Five? Its like El Camino but a street instead of a highway posing as a street. I really hope it doesn’t get drowned in ugly boxes, not to mention slathered with a BRT snaking its currently pleasant and leafy miles…

      • Posted by Notcom

        Seven (up thru San Pablo, after which it becomes – as you put it – a highway)
        And, again, it’s not really a matter of “holding up”: it “rusts” by design, so if you like that you’ll like it, if you don’t, you won’t.

  5. Posted by Pablito

    Kinda reminds me of the Jawa’s rusty sand crawler out of the first Star Wars. Whoever moves in should put a couple of droids in the windows.

    Very nice to finally see more sites in nimby Berkeley go from one story to five stories residential.

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