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Berkeley celebrates opening of 8-story, 720-car parking garage

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“The greenest parking garage in California,” beams the mayor

As the Bay Area suffers from a housing crisis and rent prices continue to soar, leave it to Berkeley to laud the opening of a $38-million parking garage. But not just any parking garage—one that comes with solar paneling and rainwater-replenished gardens.

The new structure replaces the former garage built in the 1950s, which had only 420 spaces for cars. The new one, however, will house 720 vehicles—a 71 percent increase.

The garage also comes with spots for 350 bicycles. There were supposed to be more, according to Bike East Bay’s Robert Prinz, but due to an oversight, that number was reduced. Nevertheless, the building—now one of the largest in downtown Berkeley—will house a lot of bikes.

‘[T]his is likely the largest bike parking station in the Bay Area, and certainly by far the largest near a BART station,” said Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin.

As for the garage’s design, it has its moments. Exterior accents like the roof and protruding stairwell are dolled up in green (a bit too on the nose, really), and there’s an architectural wink in the form of a waving facade.

“The double-helix structure means that patrons can enter from either Center or Addison streets on ramps that never intersect—but allow crossover on odd-numbered floors,” notes the official press release. “Gates can be set to maximize flow inwards or out. As a result, the eight-story building can more quickly clear all 720 spaces.”

The Center Street Garage is part of a rejuvenation plan for the area, which includes the recently opened BART plaza and an impending 16-story hotel.