LPC Votes on Shattuck Hotel Face Lift

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday December 04, 2007

The Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote on whether to approve a permit to rehabilitate and make alterations to the exterior of the city-landmarked Shattuck Hotel Thursday. 

Originally designed by architect Benjamin G. McDougall, the hotel—built in 1909—is considered one of the historical jewels of downtown Berkeley. 

The hotel tripled its size in the early 1910s when the original building was extended. Additions were also made to it in 1926 and 1957.  

The project proposes to reconstruct the original arched Allston Way entry, fenestration and doors and to add a new steel and frosted glass canopy, sconces, handicapped-accessible ramp and entry steps. 

Applicant Mark Hulbert of Preservation Architecture also plans to paint the hotel in its original colors and recreate the balconies. 

Since the current elevators in the hotel do not provide disabled access, Hulbert proposes to construct a new elevator tower—containing two new elevators and a penthouse—just south of the location of the existing ones. 

Parimal “Perry” Patel of Palo Alto-based BPR Properties, the company that owns Shattuck Hotel, told the Downtown Area Planning and Advisory Committee in September that he wants to expand the building to house around 320 rooms, part of which includes the construction of the 16-story tower. 

Located at 2086 Allston Way, the hotel is currently undergoing modernization of its rooms, after which the owners want to begin the construction of the tower.  

Since the proposed height of the addition exceeds current downtown zoning and violates Berkeley’s existing General Plan, it would require variances from the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board. 

Changes to the exterior of the building, a designated historic resource, would have to be approved by the city landmarks commission. 

In a letter to city Planning Director Dan Marks, Patel said that the height of the tower had been determined from a financial and not an aesthetic standpoint. 

He stressed the need for more meeting space in the city and his desire to work with UC Berkeley to expand conference rooms. Patel said he was also considering plans to build a parking structure downtown and valet services to meet parking demands. 

Long-term residents of the hotel have filed a petition with the Rent Board alleging that the owners are trying to force them out.