BART officials approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the city of Berkeley Thursday regarding the planned development of thousands of new housing units at the Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations.
The agreement sets out details for how BART and the city will collaborate as the city takes steps to build 12-story apartment buildings on land adjacent to each BART station that currently serves as parking for BART riders.
Under the MOA, BART and city officials will have equal representation on the committee that will eventually nominate a developer for each project and BART’s general manager will consult with Berkeley’s city manager before recommending a developer to BART’s Board of Directors, which governs the transit agency.
The BART board also approved a cap on the number of parking spaces for BART riders at both stations once the housing complexes are completed, with Ashby limited to 85 spaces and North Berkeley limited to 200.
According to BART, a developer for the building at the North Berkeley station is tentatively scheduled to be chosen by the end of 2022, while a developer for Ashby station is on track to be chosen by mid-2023.
“We know there’s many more years to go, but our goal is to see housing built at these two stations within 10 years,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin told the board. “We need affordable housing urgently to address our housing affordability crisis and our climate crisis.”
The two buildings are part of the city’s efforts to meet the state’s housing goals, which include the need to build some 2.5 million new homes statewide by the end of 2030 to assuage housing shortages.
The city has already committed some $53 million to complete the two projects. Berkeley and BART officials began collaborating on plans for the two housing developments in 2019.
“I think both of these projects can be really transformative for Berkeley,” said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman, whose district includes the North Berkeley station. “Berkeley really needs housing at all levels.”
The nine-member board voted 8-0 to approve the MOA, with Board Director Debora Allen absent.