23 Aug 2014
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Decision Delayed on Sprouts Market, Senior Housing at UC Village

A key approval vote for a major UC Berkeley development proposal – for a Sprouts Farmers Market and senior housing complex next to University Village in Albany – was postponed Wednesday by the Albany planning commission.

Decision Delayed on Sprouts Market, Senior Housing at UC Village
The long-awaited fate of UC Berkeley's development proposal for a Sprouts Farmers Market and 175-unit senior housing complex next to University Village will have to wait a bit longer.

Wanting more time to consider last-minute alterations to the proposal, the Albany Planning & Zoning Commission Wednesday night postponed taking action until its Dec. 11 meeting.

The development on 6.3 acres of university-owned land on both sides of Monroe Street just west of San Pablo Avenue also would include two other retail buildings whose tenants or specific uses have not been determined. The property sits next to the University Village student-family housing complex, which is located in Albany.

The commission was told that two sculptures are being planned for the required public art component for the development. The developers – Belmont Village for the 4-story senior housing project and the Oppidan/Portfolio team for the 27,500-square-foot Sprouts and smaller retail building on the north side of Monroe – have each selected a sculptor for their respective projects.

The specific artworks have not been proposed but are planned to be placed on Monroe next to the first driveway entrance to the Sprouts market and on San Pablo next to Codornices Creek, according to the developers. The proposed sculptures would be reviewed by the city's Arts Committee

Before the commission on Dec. 11 are two key steps in approving the UC plan, which has been in the works for many years: approval of the tentative parcel maps and approval of design review.

The public hearing on the two actions was ended on Wednesday night, so no new public comments will be taken at the Dec. 11 meeting, though members of the public may still submit comments in writing before meeting. The Dec. meeting will begin at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than the usual time.

Before the development gets the green light, the commission would still need to issue building permits, and parcel maps would have to finalized, Community Development Director Jeff Bond said.

An environmental impact report on UC commercial development of the site received City Council approval in July 2012. The plan at that time did not include Sprouts.

The city has a special web page devoted to the " University Village Retail Mixed Use Project," with links to the detailed plans submitted by the university, the environmental impact review documents and staff reports up to mid-2012.

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