Berkeley Rep Purchases Warehouse, Office Space in West Berkeley

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Correction Appended

The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, known for sending shows to Broadway, purchased an office and warehouse building in West Berkeley for additional rehearsal space.

Currently located Downtown, the theater will move to its new building at 999 Harrison Street. The 60,000-square-foot property is composed of approximately 40,00 square feet of warehouse space and 20,000 square feet of office space and sold for $6 million July 31, according to an article published by the San Francisco Business Times Aug. 31.

The acquisition comes at a time when real estate prices in the city are lower than they were five years ago, according to Dave Fogarty, the city's economic development project coordinator.

Gary Fracchia, a broker with Cassidy Turley BT Commercial - the real estate firm that represented the theater in the transaction - said it was known for a year that the previous tenant, Ten Speed Press, would be vacating the property.

Initially, the property was only for lease but became a sale, Fracchia said. A month before the sale closed, the press moved from the premises.

Despite the drop in real estate values, Berkeley businesses - particularly in retail - remain in a declining situation due to economic trends on the national and state levels, according to Fogarty.

He attributed the theater's purchase to its need for additional rehearsal space as well as the success of the organization in fundraising and transitioning shows to Broadway.

The theater's need for additional space was long-time knowledge, Fogarty said. He added that the theater would likely have had to look outside of the city if it hadn't acquired the property.

Since the theater is a nonprofit organization, the property taxes on the building will be excluded from city tax rolls, according to Fogarty. He said this classification is the only drawback of the purchase from the city's standpoint.

The theater's exclusion from paying city property taxes contributes to the recent trend of nonprofits purchasing properties whose taxes do not increase the city's revenue, Fogarty said.

"Other than (the lack of tax revenue), the additional economic activity is thoroughly welcome," he said.

The theater could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Tags: DOWNTOWN BERKELEY, BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE

Correction: Thursday, September 9, 2010
A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to the Berkeley Rep's new location as in Downtown Berkeley. In fact, it is in West Berkeley.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Hannah Moulthrop covers local business. Contact her at [email protected]



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