Like Emeryville, the planning department at Berkeley city hall is allowing Wareham Development to run the table, at least in the West Berkeley Project area. With an all-too-familiar bait and switch tactic, Wareham is now going to demolish the historic Heinz factory building in west Berkeley after having previously promised to save at least two walls of the building as they begin construction of a lab complex there.
Many preservationists have noted the idea that historic buildings can be considered "saved" by allowing only a wall or two left standing and incorporated into a much larger new building is dubious at best. But in Berkeley as in Emeryville, some developers can't even grant this meager concession. At Emeryville's City Limits condo project on 67th Street, only one wall was to be left standing from the original historic factory but that was later determined to be "too expensive" to save so the developer, Pulte Homes, was allowed to tear down the whole thing. This determination was made by Pulte after the agreement was made with the city of Emeryville but before work began on the project. Pulte told the city that saving the wall "won't pencil out" and that was good enough for City Hall.
That Pulte and Wareham originally expressed desires to tear down their whole buildings is not considered to be enough evidence that the agreement between the city and the developer was entered into in bad faith apparently. Developers it would appear, are always to be given the benefit of the doubt regardless that the raison d'etre of these development corporations is first and foremost the fiduciary duties to their shareholders.
Here is the Berkeleyside story on Wareham: