West Berkeley Investors’ application with the City of Berkeley for streamlined approval of a 260-unit multifamily project at 1900 Fourth Street


Holland & Knight is advising real estate developer West Berkeley Investors (WBI) in its filing of an application with the City of Berkeley for streamlined approval of a 260-unit multifamily project at 1900 Fourth Street, half of which will be reserved for low-income families. This is the first application to be filed under recently enacted state law SB 35, which allows residential developers to bypass municipal environmental review processes in exchange for providing more affordable units.

Effective January 2018, SB 35 establishes a streamlined, ministerial review process for certain multifamily affordable housing projects that are proposed in local jurisdictions that have not met regional housing needs. Projects that comply with the law’s requirements are entitled to be approved within 180 days. According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Berkeley has permitted only 4 percent (17 units) of its low-income housing requirement in the current Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle.

WBI has spent the past five years seeking approval for different versions of the development, which has faced local opposition from those who argue that the site should remain parking lot because of concerns that it could contain historical or cultural resources, despite conducting an extensive archeological investigation confirming that the site was marshland never inhabited by humans and consulting with project opponents to explore a solution.

Holland Knight advised with a team including Jennifer Hernandez (Picture), Daniel Golub represents WBI on this project.

Morrison & Foerster advised West Berkeley Investors with Miles Imwalle.

Involved fees earner: Miles Imwalle – Morrison Foerster; Jennifer Hernandez – Holland & Knight; Daniel Golub – Holland & Knight;

Law Firms: Morrison Foerster; Holland & Knight;

Clients: West Berkeley Investors;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti