Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Downtown in Trouble. Who's Surprised.

While our city council debates the pros and cons of making roosters illegal ("Cock Blocking Berkeley," as one wag put it), our downtown further deteriorates.

Now the Arpeggio Building, long a contentious project in the downtown core, blocking Center Street for nearly half a decade, has financially collapsed again! This is exactly what over-sized, non-responsive downtown development looks like, this is exactly what happens when the city council climbs into bed with developers to change the very character of our community.

Soon the city will allow the notorious bankruptcy artist, newspaper defiler, and would-be 'Manhattanizer' Sam Zell, an out of town billionaire, to further destroy our downtown with his six-story, block-sized development project running from Oxford to Shattuck, from University to Berkeley Way, to create yet another doomed fiasco project while strangling Berkeley's Ace Hardware, the Missing Link repair shop, Zatar restaurant, etc. What a shame our city council is so quick to encourage this inappropriate development which will further exacerbate our precarious financial situation. It's not ironic that this doomed project is across the street from the former home of Radston's Office Supply, which once generated $400,000 a year in retail sales taxes for Berkeley but now does so for the city of Hercules.
Sad, sad, sad.

For more on the latest of Arpeggio's financial failings see the Berkeley Daily Planet story at