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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Attend June 21 Workshop for owners of commercial and multi-family residential buildings

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) - Owners of seismically vulnerable buildings in Berkeley can get up to $50,000 to retrofit their buildings through a unique program established by the City.

The program, the first of its kind in California, leverages federal and state funding to retrofit four types of commercial or multi-family residential buildings in Berkeley:

  • Non-ductile concrete buildings or portions of buildings with concrete structural elements
  • Buildings with walls made of concrete or masonry (brick or concrete block) and wood or steel roofs
  • Soft story buildings with three or more residential units or non-residential buildings
  • Unreinforced masonry buildings

Each is potentially vulnerable to collapse in an earthquake.

Apply by June 25 to be considered for a grant. You can learn more on our Retrofit Grants webpage, where you can download the application, or by emailing retrofitgrants@cityofberkeley.info. We will also be hosting a meeting for property owners, their agents, engineers, or contractors to learn more:

Seismic Retrofit Grants Workshop
Thursday, June 21st, at 3pm
1947 Center St., 3rd floor Magnolia meeting room

Applications received by June 25th will be considered for grants of $20,000 to $50,000, which will vary depending on the building type and cost of the seismic retrofit. Grants can cover a portion of design and construction costs.

This program is funded by a grant from FEMA and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. In 2017, the program focused on potentially hazardous "soft story" buildings - structures with five or more apartments over weak ground floors that typically contain parking or retail uses. In this first round, 48 multifamily buildings in Berkeley, containing over 400 apartments, were approved for over $1 million in federal funding.

Buildings in need of retrofit"I jumped at the chance to get a retrofit grant," said Paul Mileck, who received a grant to retrofit his soft story apartment building in Berkeley. "This program is a big help for property owners."

This year, the program expands its focus to the seismic safety of Berkeley's many smaller apartment buildings and nonresidential concrete or masonry buildings.

Single-family homes or duplexes are not eligible for this program, but may apply for Earthquake Brace + Bolt rebates or Berkeley's transfer tax rebate for seismic improvements made within a year of purchase. Commercial, multifamily, and residential property owners can also use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for seismic improvements, with no upfront costs and payback over time on property tax bills.

Don't miss this opportunity to strengthen your building with the assistance of a $20,000 to $50,000 grant. Apply by June 25th.


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