Gilbane Development Plans 214-Unit Student Redevelopment Project in Berkeley at California Theater Site

Gilbane Development Company, Berkeley, California Theatre, Rhoades Planning Group, San Francisco, Bay Area, El Cerrito, Mill Valley, Studio KDA
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By Jon Peterson

Providence, R.I.-based Gilbane Development Company is making a bet on East Bay housing as the firm files its pre-application with the city of Berkeley to construct a 15-story, 214-unit residential project at the site of the shuttered California Theatre. The property is located at 2113 Kittredge Street in downtown Berkeley, just a block away from the gates of UC Berkeley’s campus.

In addition to the housing element proposed in the redevelopment, the project sponsor is also proposing ground-floor live theatre space. Since the proposal is still in the early stages of its review and approval, no timetable has been established at this time about the possible start and potential completion dates might be.

Given the proximity of the parcel to the University, the planned development is looking to target students as renters. The plans for the project call for a mixture of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, and there would be an affordable component to the project, as well. 22 of the units would be leased to tenants that make between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area’s medium income. 

Along with Gilbane, Berkeley-based Rhoades Planning Group is also involved in the project plans. This firm is acting as a consultant on this development, which is a role that it takes on many residential projects in the San Francisco Bay Area and especially in markets like Berkeley, El Cerrito and Mill Valley. The project architect is Studio KDA, which is also a Berkeley-based entity.

The City of Berkeley awarded 2113 Kittredge landmark status in May of 2022 for the existing theatre’s façade and marquee, which was a condition for the redevelopment process to commence.

The current ownership of the property is a group of descendants of real estate investor John Muldoon. He built the theatre with his business partner in 1914, according to the City of Berkeley records. Gilbane will not be buying the site until the project for the redevelopment has been approved by the city. The site covers around one-third of an acre, and the 13,000-square-foot property had been operating as a theatre until last year when its operator Landmark said it would be closing its operations.

Gilbane Development is known as a major developer/owner of student-targeted housing projects around the country. According to its website, the company has either projects underway or has delivered in excess of 20,000 beds of student housing around the country.

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