Public Comment

Berkeley Council's Vote not to Landmark Berkeley Bowl is Wrong

Thomas Ferrell
Friday March 18, 2016 - 01:07:00 PM

According to a fair reading of the criteria in the Berkeley landmarking ordinance, the old Bowl building qualifies for full landmark status. Indeed, many buildings in Berkeley with a lesser claim have it. It is possibly too subtle a point to argue that the neighbors may have valid arguments against Honda, AND have an appreciation for the building’s rich history, distinctive features, and presence—especially in a part of South Shattuck generally devoid of interesting buildings.  

Anyone interested in the fascinating history of the old Berkeley Bowl building, (including the ambitious Town Hall Theater of the 1950s, & the first complete performance of Allen Ginsberg’s “HOWL”) should look up Steve Finacom’s brilliant & thorough landmarking application for 2777 Shattuck. 

The neighborhood's landmarking application was not part of the continuing effort to keep Honda out of the building, and LPC essentially guaranteed it would have had no effect on Honda. We wanted to honor the building's history, and protect it from future demolishment after Honda is gone. The council’s vote to overturn the LPC is highly unusual. Either they didn’t understand or didn’t believe the neighbors’ arguments—or there is a hidden long game for development of this site unrelated to Honda.