Center Created to House Green Organizations Will Soon Open

| Publication: The Daily Californian

Two years after construction began in a better economic climate, a multi-million dollar center designed mainly for green and non-profit-minded organizations will soon open its doors.

The David Brower Center, located in Downtown Berkeley and set to open on May 10, was designed to accommodate educational and art programs and contains four floors of office space available for lease.

According to Amy Tobin, executive director of the center, 53 percent of the building’s materials are recyclable and 40 percent of the energy comes from solar panels.

“We have everything from maximum daylight in our office to non-toxic paint,” she said.

The center has been largely unaffected by the difficult economic times that the country is facing, according to Shelly Rae Comer, the center’s executive assistant.

“We had so many grants and donors in place (before the current economic downturn) that it really didn’t affect us,” Comer said. “Obviously, we were concerned because our building still needed to be occupied, but so far, it seems that things are going very well.”

According to Tobin, the center has room for about 10 to 16 organizations and 75 percent of its free space has already been leased.

While the center aims to lease its space mostly to nonprofits, it also accommodates for-profit organizations that are working to promote environmental and social action. Current tenants include the Center for Ecoliteracy, the Earth Island Institute and International Rivers.

The center was financed through a combination of funds from capital campaigning and donations, according to Tobin.

She said the center was built in partnership with Oxford Plaza, a city-funded complex of affordable housing units that shares the lot with the center.

Councilmember Darryl Moore said that the center’s green message will keep its finances afloat despite the recession.

“People are a little cautious because of (the economy), particularly nonprofits, but I don’t think it will have a huge impact,” he said. “We’re pushing the green quarter, this whole area is becoming known for it. So I think while it may have some slow-down, I do think that they’re going to be OK.”

(original article)