Green Groundbreaking for Affordable Housing, Theater

More than 30 environmental groups and other activist nonprofits have jammed a waiting list for Berkeley’s David Brower Center, a mixed-use office project that was scheduled to formally break ground May 23.

The building is tailor-made for the famously concerned city. Its 33,000 square feet of offices are intended for “environmental and progressive organizations,” according to the center’s web site, and will attempt the highest level of the LEED environmental certification, platinum.

All 97 units of housing in the associated Oxford Plaza, developed by Resources for Community Development, are described as “permanently affordable,” meaning they will be rented to people earning less than $12,000 each year or families of four earning up to just over $50,000.

The building is also to include a 175-seat theater and restaurant.

None of this is to say the building has avoided controversy in the feisty town known for opposing many development projects. The project was criticized for its six-story height and displacement of a parking lot, among other issues. The $29 million project was funded by New Markets Tax Credits and the city, among other sources.