Granada Building Sold to Green Development Firm

Photo: The Granada at Sather Gate on Telegraph and Bancroft was sold in January to limited liability company RSGF El Granada.
Tony Zhou/Staff
The Granada at Sather Gate on Telegraph and Bancroft was sold in January to limited liability company RSGF El Granada.

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The Granada at Sather Gate, a historic Berkeley building, was sold in January for $18.5 million to limited liability company RSGF El Granada, owned by New York City-based Jonathan Rose Companies, a firm that focuses on green development in urban areas.

At just under 46,000 square feet, The Granada - located at the southeast corner of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way - has nine storefronts operating on the ground floor and 46 residential units on the second and third floors. According to Nathan Taft, director of acquisitions at Jonathan Rose Companies, retrofitting work will be done with the tenants in place.

According to Taft, Jonathan Rose Companies was attracted to The Granada in part due to Berkeley's "progressive thinking," as well as the building's proximity to mass transit.

"If you are trying to come up with an investment strategy that really combats climate change, investing in buildings that are near mass transit is important," he said.

Taft said the company's green renovation strategies include high-efficiency lighting, upgrading appliances to Energy Star products, improving water efficiency and the potential retrofitting of the heating system, as well as looking at ways to provide tenants - most of whom are UC Berkeley students - with more feedback about their individual energy consumption.

The building's residential units are comprised of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments, while Chipotle, American Apparel, Jamba Juice, and Volcom are among the retail tenants. Jonathan Rose Companies will look to fill two additional vacant ground-floor retail suites, Taft said.

The Granada was built by Patrick O'Brien in 1904, and had been passed down in the family ever since.

"He built it so that everybody in the family would always have a roof over their heads, and so the building would always support the family," said leasing agent Nadine Whisnant of Goldman Limited in Orinda, who co-brokered the sale with Jim Roessler of Roessler Investment Group.

Brothers Maynard and Edward Munger, who were grandchildren of O'Brien, had made arrangements for the building to be sold upon their death. Edward Munger died most recently in February 2008.

Whisnant, who is involved with retail leasing in The Granada - and will continue in her position under the new ownership - said that Jonathan Rose Companies was "the perfect buyer" for the property.

"We think this project could be a great case study for how you can reconcile green improvements and still honor the historical legacy of a property," Taft said.


Contact Emma Dries at [email protected]

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