Exciting changes are in store for North Berkeley BART station as plans for a transformative residential project begin to unfold. North Berkeley Housing Partners (NBHP), a collaborative effort between affordable developers Bridge Housing, Insight Housing (formerly Berkeley Food and Housing Project), East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., and market-rate developer AvalonBay, is set to lead the redevelopment of the station’s 5.5-acre surface parking.
At an open house earlier this summer, NBHP unveiled its ambitious vision for the site, showcasing conceptual renderings of approximately 750 homes spread across six buildings, ranging from four to eight stories tall. The goal is to ensure that half of these units are affordable for households earning 60% of the area median income, addressing a pressing need for more affordable housing in the area.
The project’s design also includes thoughtful provisions for the community, with 310 resident parking spaces, 120 spaces for BART riders, and 4,300 square feet of ground floor space dedicated to public services. Additionally, more than 60,000 square feet of public open space is planned to enhance the community’s overall livability and greenery.
Emphasizing the convenience of the location, Bridge Housing President and CEO, Ken Lombard, highlighted the station’s close proximity to transit, employment opportunities, and retail centers, making it an ideal spot for vibrant urban living.
This redevelopment project represents a significant stride towards meeting the demand for affordable housing in North Berkeley. Notably, the new development is designed to provide around 375 affordable homes, offering a much-needed boost to the availability of affordable housing in the area. In the past, North Berkeley has seen limited development of this nature, making this endeavor all the more meaningful.
The plans are part of a broader trend of revitalizing BART-owned land across the Bay Area, with numerous developments in various stages at different stations. Last year, Berkeley approved the rezoning of both North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations, paving the way for more residential developments up to seven stories tall, with the potential to host as many as 1,200 residential units each. Moreover, the city’s density bonus law could further increase the allowed density on these sites.
While high-rise residential development typically comes with increased costs, the North Berkeley Housing Partners’ proposal indicates a density of around 136 units per acre, significantly exceeding the city’s minimum requirement of 75 units per acre. This showcases their commitment to creating a thriving community in the heart of North Berkeley.
Over the course of this year, the project will undergo several revisions before NBHP submits a formal planning application to the city. With plans progressing smoothly, construction is anticipated to commence as early as 2025, making North Berkeley’s transformation well ahead of Ashby BART station’s.
The future of North Berkeley BART station is brimming with promise, promising a harmonious blend of affordability, convenience, and sustainable community living. As the project unfolds, it will undoubtedly bring renewed vitality to the area, creating a vibrant urban hub for generations to come.