Housing crisis

Downtown high-rise projects set to ease housing crisis

Current high-rise building projects in Downtown Berkeley are currently seeking to address Berkeley’s current housing crisis.

Trachtenberg Architects, a developer of various housing projects in Berkeley, is currently working on several mixed-use housing projects, including a 25-story building at 2190 Shattuck Ave., a 26-story building at 1998 Shattuck Ave. and a 17-story building at 2274 Shattuck Ave., all of which are in the planning stage. These projects aim to provide housing specifically for students.

“Our sense is that the current critical lack of housing supply, particularly student housing, is ultimately affecting all housing types in Berkeley, including single-family homes that end up being rented out effectively as large apartments,” he said. said Isaiah Stackhouse, Senior Design Manager at Trachtenberg. Architects, in an email. “Each project contributes to providing new housing and alleviating the housing crisis.”

According to John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, these projects should bring more vibrancy to the downtown area, as they are expected to bring more customers to local businesses.

Caner added that the city is still recovering from the pandemic. Berkeley has lost many of its retailers and restaurants, and pedestrian numbers are still about two-thirds of what they were before the pandemic. Caner noted that this is partly due to a significant increase in vacancies and people not returning to offices.

Caner added that since most housing projects are transit-oriented housing, that means people will likely walk past merchants instead of heading straight for garages.

“I think most store merchants are supportive,” Caner said. “I regularly talk to certain merchants and they say to me, ‘When is this building going to be built?’

Caner noted that while there is some displacement with the construction of a new building, the city and the Downtown Berkeley Association are working to help merchants relocate if necessary.

Regarding the housing market, Caner said that in general, an increase in housing supply would lower prices and relieve some of the pressure to provide more affordable housing, while transitional housing is also needed to alleviate homelessness.

“We support building more housing to support students, and we want students to be close to campus, enjoy our downtown, and be part of the community,” Caner said. “We are particularly sensitive to the fact that for students in California, the supply of housing is quite stressful. I think this will hopefully help long enough to provide additional housing for undergraduates as well as graduate students.