Permits for Housing at 2109 Virginia Street, North Berkeley

Seven-story iteration of 2109 Virginia Street, illustration by Trachtenberg ArchitectsSeven-story iteration of 2109 Virginia Street, illustration by Trachtenberg Architects

Formal permits have been filed for proposed new housing at 2109 Virginia Street in North Berkeley, Alameda County. The project will bring over a hundred apartments to the corner lot, which is within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Art Kapoor Realty Co is the property owner and applicant, filing through American Commonwealth Associates LP. AKR is working with the project developer Panoramic Interests.

The 88-foot tall structure will yield around 107,900 square feet of housing alongside 1,200 square feet of retail and a 103-car garage. In previous plans, an equal number of parking was included for bicycles, though the recent application doesn’t specify. Of the 131 homes, 11 will be designated as affordable to very low-income households and nine will be affordable to moderate-income households. The application uses the State Density Bonus law to increase residential capacity by 92.5% through zoning waivers and concessions.

2109 Virginia Street, floor plans by Trachtenberg Architects

2109 Virginia Street, floor plans by Trachtenberg Architects

Trachtenberg Architects is responsible for the design. Illustrations show a familiar design style from the Berkeley-based firm, with off-white insulated metal infill panels above the cast-in-place concrete base. Retail space will enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows to promote a welcoming environment, and residents will gain access to a rooftop amenity deck that sets back the top floor.

The roughly half-acre property is at the corner of Virginia Street and Shattuck Avenue. Future residents will be less than ten minutes from the UC Berkeley campus and 15 minutes from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station on foot.

2109 Virginia Street, image by Google Street View

2109 Virginia Street, image by Google Street View

The estimated cost and timeline for construction have yet to be shared.

UPDATE: This story was updated to reflect that AKR is working with local developer Panoramic Interests.

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9 Comments on "Permits for Housing at 2109 Virginia Street, North Berkeley"

  1. More affordable housing is great.Can the cost of housing so many cars be justified when there is so much public transportation immediately available to the building location.

    • I agree and I believe its in violation of the 0.5-to-1 parking maximum imposed within 0.25 miles of transit corridors like North Shattuck.

  2. Zelda Bronstein | June 6, 2024 at 9:53 am | Reply

    Only twenty of the 131 apartments are officially affordable, meaning that the rest will be high-end market-rate units. In other words, this is basically a luxury development, and people paying top dollar want places to park a car, even if they live on a bus line and could easily reach BART or the UC campus on a bus, a bike, or foot.

    • Market rate houses bring down costs. Subsidized units are subsidized by the market rate units, raising the price. Building them is a stop gap but not the solution to high costs. We can’t subsidized housing ourselves to cheap housing costs. For every unit of subsidized we build, we lose out on the opportunity cost of 4 market rate units. (See Terner Center research from April on the IZ study they recently published).

    • North Berkeley is a state-designated highly affluent neighborhood with no modern housing on the market. 20 affordable apartments are more than half that of the nearby 37 100% affordable Jordan Court development (opened 2022) which took city taxpayers millions and multiple years to finance.

      These 20 subsidized units + Jordan Court will be the first subsidized housing in North Berkeley in three decades. These 20 units will cost city taxpayers 0 dollars while subsidizing Prop. 13 benefitting homeowners by paying disproportionately high property taxes to keep the city afloat.

      What’s the downside exactly? As a North Berkeley resident living in an old apt and with a middle-class income that does not qualify for subsidized housing, I’d be happy to move into newer buildings like these without leaving my neighborhood and freeing up my old apartment. As would many of the empty nester senior homeowners stuck in houses without ADA accessibility.

      The only problem with this project is that 103 parking spaces is too high and likely in violation of our newly passed city parking maximum law. The 18 and 7 lines are at the front door and North Shattuck qualifies as a major transit corridor. I’ll be bringing this project to the Planning Dept and discussing why the developer should not be mandated to reduce parking to 66 spaces, maximum.

  3. concerned citizen | June 6, 2024 at 11:38 am | Reply

    That’s a bonified Trachtenbox! Add it to the Berkeley collection. Grim.
    Density and new housing should add to the charm of a city, not detract from it.

    • It sort of reminds me of the old I.Mangnin building on Union Square in SF. Not sure how that works with the rest of the neighborhood.

  4. Great to see more density in the area that isn’t just student housing! And it’s great to see a parking garage included as well. Can’t wait to see Berkeley’s potential unlocked by becoming more inclusive for all!

  5. Patricia Sagen | June 8, 2024 at 8:50 am | Reply

    Losing some more of the charm that WAS Berkeley. Driving around I appalled at how Berkeley has lost its almost small
    Town charm. The new buildings are almost identically ugly, we have lost the vibes of the old town!

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