Bay Area

Berkeley mayor looking for public's input on future of abandoned building

BERKELEY (KRON) -- After one chapter closes -- a brand new promising opportunity presents itself.

"West Berkeley is already home to a thriving economy, and we think this could really add to the economic vitality of the region,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

Pacific Steel Casting Company, formerly on Second and Gilman streets in Berkeley, is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings.

Mayor Jesse arreguin says the board of trustees that currently owns the land on the industrial west side of town are looking to sell it quickly.

The trustees have asked for the city's help soliciting input from the community on what transformation should eventually take place here.

"There’s one existing industrial business that's at the center of the site that's still in operation,” said Arreguin. “So, it's not really an appropriate place for large multi-family developments, but there could be a mix of uses."

The facility shutdown late last year, after 84 years in business.

The property boasts eight acres, and it's right off the freeway.

“The goal as the city council in May will be giving some formal direction to our planning commission on any changes of the zoning for that particular site,” the mayor said.

Mayor Arreguin says there is a sense of urgency. A sale would help pay off former longtime employees of the shuttered business, who are still own wages. He believes it would also lead to a decrease in crime in the area.

“What do we want this whole area to look like? I mean, just to see it now, and to see these buildings that are largely empty and a largely empty stretch of second street. To think a few years from now what that could be, with a lot of people coming and going and a very bustling economy -- it's just very exciting,” said Arreguin.

Tuesday night's community meeting on the site at the Berkeley Repertory

Theater administrative offices on harrison street is one of a few gatherings the city hopes to host on this issue in the coming months.

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