City Breathes Life into Bldg. 8

City Breathes Life into Bldg. 8


The city’s Historical Advisory Board is scheduled to take up the rehabilitation of one of Alameda Point’s larger buildings. The city is currently working with Jonah Hendrickson’s Alameda Point Redevelopers, LLC, (APR) to transform Building 8 at Alameda Point into a usable, profitable space.  

In 2013 Hendrickson transformed West Berkeley’s long-abandoned Standard Die & Tool Company building into Berkeley Kitchens, a unique collection of commercial rental kitchens specifically designed for food companies to have a kitchen to call their own.

The 76-year-old, 270,000-square-foot Building 8 at 2350 Saratoga St. served the Navy as a storage area. It presents Hendrickson with several challenges. First, the structure currently has no electricity and no running water. Building 8 also needs a brand-new roof and has lead-based paint and asbestos throughout. In addition the ballasts for the fluorescent light fixtures might contain PCB and the light tubes could hold some mercury. 

“APR has a vision for making the building an enterprising, multi-tenant entrepreneurial and creative ‘maker’ space that is comparable to their other projects in the Bay Area,” City Manager Jill Keimach stated in a memorandum she sent to the City Council last March.

Keimach shared that APR hopes to transform the building into “a vibrant center for commercial activity and social interaction. The makeover would include “a well-designed, fully furnished streetscape and storefront facades.” 

According to Christopher VerPlanck, who did a study of the structure for the city, the Navy built the western two-thirds of Building 8 in 1940. Three years later the Navy added 90,000 square feet on the building’s east side.

In his report VerPlanck writes that the building would accommodate up to 88 live-work units, as well as  a café  or a restaurant and possibly a bar or tavern.
Once approved by the city, the Building 8 project would entail demolishing the building’s interior partitions (none of which are historical, VerPlanck states), repairing the structure’s historical core and shell, and replacing most of the existing utilities.

Plans call for APR to build ADA-mandated improvements, alter the building’s interior to facilitate Building 8’s new uses and construct an approximately 4,000-square-foot vertical addition. 

The Historical Advisory Board meets this evening at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.