Telegraph Avenue and Downtown: Wasteland vs. Boomtown?

Two recent articles point up a marked difference in how the two business districts are faring in today's economy.

"Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue may be the only retail section in the Bay Area that has gotten significantly worse in the past decade," writes Randy Shaw, editor of BeyondChron, an alternative San Francisco news website.

Shaw points to the vacant building that once housed Cody's Books, a pair of burned-out business sites and even the loss of sidewalk crafts merchants as signs of Telegraph's new status as "a virtual ghost town." And he puts much of the blame squarely on the city government

"Telegraph has been de-prioritized despite its still strong role in generating taxes for the Berkeley economy," Shaw writes.

Only 10 blocks away, downtown Berkeley is looking at a future that could include more than 1,000 new apartments — many of them in the luxury category — and perhaps dozens of new retail spaces to serve the tenants. Frances Dinkelspiel delineated the proposed building boom in a recent Berkeleyside article.

A "factor contributing to the increased interest in building new housing is Berkeley’s Downtown Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in March 2012," Berkeleyside says.

You may read the complete Telegraph Avenue article here and the downtown Berkeley article here

What do you think? Is the cty shortchanging Telegraph Avenue? Are upscale apartments the best use of downtown Berkeley space? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

ted friedman February 13, 2013 at 04:42 PM
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-11-20/article/38879 I wrote this Nov, 21, 2011, followed by a piece describing health dangers to the immediate area from the fire and the final disposition of contaminants. But this story is now passe. I've moved on to covering the impending comeback of Telegraph/Haste, Berkeley's Soul.


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