Developers will present preliminary designs for a 260 unit, 6-level, 3,000 square feet Multi-Family housing project to the Planning Commission at City Hall this Thursday. Adjacent to Ex’pression college and home to the decrepit Nady Systems building, it’s an area of town with a lot of potential that could use some attention. Located at 6701 Shellmound, the site is a about a 1/4 mile between the Public Market and the Berkeley Aquatic Park. For some E’villains, the northern on-ramp to Highway 80 is best known for having the worst road conditions in the area and home to a historic Gay “Cruising” spot (4+ stars with a crowd of “Cal studs, late night workers & tweekers” according to cruisinggays.com).
The Nady Systems building was the manufacturing warehouse of high-end audio equipment. It’s unclear what the neglected, cluttered, graffiti covered Nady Systems building that straddles the Emeryville/Berkeley border currently exists for besides collecting blight. John Nady was a pioneer in wireless audio and “introduced the concept of wireless technology to many of the biggest name headliners at that time including Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Styx, Neil Young…and the Rolling Stones”. Nady’s company had a near monopoly on wireless systems in the ’80s but moved manufacturing (like many American Companies) to China to gain a competitive pricing advantage. In 1996, Nady Systems was recognized for its contributions with an Emmy for Outstanding Technical Achievement. The wealthy entrepreneur and his Emeryville office was subject to a 2011 protest by Native American rights activists‘ for his attempting to build vacation homes on Rattlesnake island, located on the eastern end of Clear Lake. Activists have called for a complete boycott of Nady’s products.
The Emeryville BPAC is already suggesting public benefits including road improvements on the stretch of road adjacent park that would improve pedestrian and bicycle access and hopefully make the park more inviting and accessible to families that have been driven away by its seedy reputation. The preliminary drawings of the proposed development by MBH Architects seem to meet the Emeryville “Template” of the last decade: Tri-colored, Boxy … and 100% rental. The unit would tower above the adjacent with a height of 94 ft. Amenities for the project being include a roof terrace, fitness center, bike repair and dog wash facility. The street-level retail area is hoping to attract a cafe (deja vu!) or another business that can leverage its proximity to the Aquatic Park. The development will include three levels of parking including one below grade and will be fenced off from the surrounding area.
The Entire Planning Commission Study Session can be watched on the EPOA YouTube Channel:
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Concerned neighbors should voice their concerns to the Emeryville Planning Commission: