Plans to raze the two-story commercial building at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way, in the heart of Downtown Berkeley, have been in the works since 2016.

And as proposed by Mill Creek Residential, an 18-story building will rise up to 180 feet in height upon the Walgreens site, with 274 apartments over 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail space fronting the new BART Plaza and a basement garage for 103 cars.

From WRNS Studio, the architects of the project:

“The project engages the 7-story base and 18-story tower into a dialogue of distinctive forms and material sensibilities. The building’s facades are composed to feature a fabric of shade screens – or “shutters” as we call them. The shutters tune the amount of light and shadow on the south-facing balconies providing a unique spatial experience for the residents and, in turn, create a dynamic façade that weaves together at the corner of Shattuck and Allston.

To further distinguish the massing and allow for multiple readings at the urban scale, the building’s base is characterized by a strong expression of rich structure and dark-textured materials, while the taller section takes on a lighter, more-ephemeral palette that reflects the sky.”

Having qualified for a streamlined review, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project could be certified by Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustment Board on Thursday.

And if the EIR for the “Shattuck Terrace Green Apartments” project is certified this week as expected and recommended by the city’s Planning Department staff , the overall development could be approved by the city by the end of this winter or spring.

In addition to the new ground floor retail space, into which Walgreens is expected to return, the development also includes a ground floor storage room for 100 bikes with a built-in repair space for residents.  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    Ah!! I was wondering when you would get to this: Berkeley Heritage is having a fit since it sits squarely in the view corridor of Campanile Way.

    • Posted by archiwha?

      o my gosh. thanks for linking. hard to believe something like this would hold up downtown developments. also, and more importantly, i think those renders are fabricated. go into google earth and hover over campanile — the line of sight is close, no doubt, but i really don’t think you’d see the building.

      • Posted by archiwha?

        you don’t see the ugly building to the west across shattuck, therefore you wouldn’t see the new building. totally a lie!!! renders can lie.

        • Posted by EBGuy

          What “building to the west across Shattuck” are you talking about? This building (Walgreens) is already on the west side of Shattuck.

          • Posted by Notcom

            I think s/he’s referring to the Great Western Building (that bronzish building @ Shattuck/Center). As for Renderingate: Center Street is on line with Campanile Way, so if you stand on the Podium at the foot of the Campanile and look west – as opposed to trying to simulate such with “Googleview” – you can see the two buildings that currently straddle the axis, and you will certainly be able to see this. The view won’t be completely blocked, but it will be (further) compromised.
            Of course, since the alignment with the Golden Gate was done for symbolic purposes, this can be viewed – in every sense of the word – as an update of that symbolism: degradation of the University and subjugation of it to private purposes.

      • Posted by EBGuy

        I do agree that the scale is off (too large). Oddly enough though, according to my “calculations”, the 12th floor is about where it should be — right at the horizon line.

  2. Posted by Bobby Mucho

    Yes, please. More.

  3. Posted by Metroliner

    Those BART canopies are hideous.

    • Posted by oakland lover

      I agree this one looks a bit ugly, but the one at 19th st in oakland looks really good, and I noticed they are doing civic center in SF….Overall its better than what was there previously…

    • Posted by Tony

      No they’re not. Go see the similarly designed ones in Oakland. They’re well lit, modern, and stay cleaner than the current designs.

    • Posted by EBGuy

      Just to be clear, there’s no actual canopy over the complete BART entrance: The new southwest entrance to the Downtown Berkeley BART station has a new glass cover, but a lack of funds means the canopy does not extend fully over the stairs.

      • Posted by Notcom

        So it would appear (from the photos in the link you provided) that they have glass in the sides of the canopy, but not on the top, WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT OF A CANOPY ?!?!

        (note to self: recalibrate estimate of BART’s stupidity to avoid future misunderestimation)

  4. Posted by Harambe

    Why aren’t more of these things flying up and around this overtaxed landscape?

  5. Posted by anon2.5

    Is the building two doors down also getting a facelift? Sure looks nicer in the renderings than in the photo.

    • Posted by Harambe

      Pure stylistic effect (and rendering talent).

  6. Posted by Mark F.

    Downtown Berkeley is woefully underbuilt. A good project.

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      Deadly mix of hippies and NIMBY forces at work there…

  7. Posted by ananimal

    Nice project!

  8. Posted by Art Goldberg

    We don’t need an 18 story visually ugly building downtown. This will do nothing to solve the affordable housing situation. Only the developers will profit. This building will be a burden on city services and taxpayers.

    • Posted by emanon

      Care to back up your claims with studies/facts? And who are “we”? Do you speak for all of Berkeley? Finally, “ugly” is extremely subjective.

      • Posted by Notcom

        I would suggest you look at the link I have in my post (above): it’s a very thorough discussion of the project from a Public Hearing on it ( tho some of the transcription could stand to be a little more accurate).

    • Posted by archiwha?

      we? um, born and raised in berkeley, and can’t afford to live there. i don’t need subsidized housing, i need more supply. i’m guessing you’re nearing retirement and own your home?

      • Posted by Brian M

        I bet he pioneered his property and built his house by himself with materials gathered from his lot!


        You mean, he lives in North Berkeley Hills in a subdivision built by a developer*? Pshaw! Say it isn’t so!

        *Admittedly, 1920s developers had better taste.

  9. Posted by Pablito

    We need more fiscally responsive land use planning. We certainly don’t want a burden on city services and taxpayers.

    Can’t go spending any of our tax dollars supporting housing for people. What next? Free school education? Vaccinations for the poor? Nutrition services for single mothers? Where does it end?

    And if this big building is a burden we should probably put a proposition on the ballot to tear down all big buildings in downtown Berkeley. Not fair to give one developer a subsidy and not the other….

    I notice my property tax bill has a pretty steep fee for that BART thing out front too. Why does this developer get it and not me? Why can’t it stop at my house? Basically – why am I paying for some elec-tri-fied underground train that I never ride? Where does it go to? San Francisco? Let them pay for it…

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