Acheson Commons will bring a high quality of urban living to Berkeley's downtown.

(Save the date: RealShare Apartments East comes to the Hyatt Regency Miami, Florida on February 26th, 2013)

BERKELEY, reported this morning that The first major entitlement under Berkeley’s new Downtown Area Plan, Acheson Commons, cleared another major hurdle with its unanimous final approval by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board in late December. And according to Mark Rhoades of Rhoades Planning Group, who has more than 20 years of experience as a city planner commented, “This type and level of community reinvestment by Equity Residential is good for Berkeley.”

It also signifies a leadership role that goes beyond this one project, adds Rhoades. “A national developer has made a commitment of resources to a core city, which is in line with emerging national environmental and demographic trends to place density in well-served, transit-rich environments,” he says. “Acheson Commons is a model urban infill development that will bring tremendous vitality and a high quality of urban living to Berkeley’s downtown.”

According to Peter Solar, vice president of development for Equity Residential, “Having been a part of the Berkeley community for many years, Equity Residential is committed to bringing a quality, sustainable, transit oriented, and thoughtfully designed project to a part of the city that will benefit greatly from the restoration, housing and reinvigorated retail. Located next to transit, the University campus, and employment centers, we envision Acheson Commons to be a pedestrian-friendly and community gathering place for years to come.”

Being developed by Equity Residential, in collaboration with local Berkeley architects and planners, Kirk Peterson Architects and Rhoades Planning Group, the $90-million project also encompasses $6 million to restore historic facades and materials.  

The project, which was also approved unanimously by Berkeley’s Design Review Committee and the Landmark Preservation Commission, is expected to not only bring 350 more residents to the city’s core, but new temporary and permanent jobs, according to a prepared statement.

Fronting University, Walnut and Shattuck avenues, Acheson Commons will continue to encompass approximately 33,250 square feet of ground floor retail, with the addition of 205 units of transit-oriented and sustainable urban infill residences incorporated into the site, according to the statement. Included within the approved plan is an AC Transit Pass for every residence, in addition to 21 Below Market Rate Housing units.

Equity Residential currently has approximately 450 units of for-lease, multifamily units in Berkeley, having been an active member of the community for approximately five years.