Economic Development

 Arts District Berkeley is proud to foster a welcome environment for market development, innovation, creativity and smart growth.

West Berkeley Bowl Complete!

Berkeley Bowl West











July 2009: The new 140,000 square foot Berkeley Bowl West is now open. The building includes a cafe, prep kitchen, wine tasting bar, warehouse and offices, all of which will ultimately employ about 150 people.  Berkeley Bowl West is located at 920 Heinz Ave. (at Eighth Street, north of Ashby).  It is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

Buy Local Berkeley

The Buy Local Berkeley campaign is a partnership of the City's diverse shopping district and business organizations that is working to inspire and encourage local residents to shift their spending to Berkeley businesses whenever possible. Purchases at locally-owned Berkeley businesses have a very positive economic impact on the local economy -- much more than buying at out of town merchants, at non-local chain stores or on the internet. Local business suppliers and services firms are also a beneficiary of this effort.

The Office of Economic Development has contract with Buy Local Berkeley to help them educate residents about the economic, environmental, community, and cultural benefits of shopping locally. For more information, please visit their website at

The David Brower Center: Berkeley's Newest Green 'Jewel'

Brower BUilding Complete

With four stories and more than 50,000 square feet of office and public space, the David Brower Center is a vibrant cultural and educational gathering place for visitors and tenants alike. The Brower Center set specific targets and benchmarks for environmental efficiency through all phases of construction and operation. As a result, the building is expected to attain the highest possible LEED (the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program) rating. It will be the first building of its kind in Berkeley and one of fewer than 10 such buildings in Northern California.

 Arpeggio Project Underway

Arpeggio Site

The long awaited Arpeggio project is now under construction.  When completed the Arpeggio will supply 143 new residential units, 5800 square feet of ground floor retail space, 13,000 square feet of cultural arts space, and 160 subterranean parking spaces.  The anticipated completion date is Spring 2010.

Trader Joes - The First Supermarket in the Downtown Area in Over 20 Years

Trader Joe

Groundbreaking took place in June 2008 with project completion expected in about two years. The store will be built on the ground floor of multistory, 148-unit apartment project. The store will create 40 to 50 jobs and bring in about $500,000 in sales tax revenue for the city and the school district yearly, McDonald said.  More information... 

Building the East Bay Green Corridor: The Region's Green Economy

2008-1203 East Bay Green Corridor, Mayors Signing (Peg Skorpinski photo via UC Berkeley NewsCenter)

In December 2007, Berkeley took a big step towards becoming one of the nation’s green economic engines with the announcement of the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership. Mayor Bates joined with the mayors of Oakland, Emeryville, and Richmond, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Director Steve Chu to begin a collaborative effort to lead the world in environmental innovation, emerging green business and industry, green jobs, and renewable energy. 


Read the East Bay Green Corridor Statement of Principles (pdf)

Commission Finishes Work on New Downtown Vision


After two years of difficult work, Berkeley’s 21-member downtown planning task force completed its work on a new plan to guide development of our downtown. This new plan is a product of the historic agreement we signed with UC Berkeley in 2005.

Sustainable Industries Magazine: New breed of leaders go far, fast
June 9, 2008

Mayor Tom Bates, who began his term as mayor of Berkeley in 2002, formed a sustainable business team dedicated to building the city’s “green” economy. The team includes more than 200 green businesses. Mayor Bates also reached beyond his electoral base and engaged with other municipal leaders to initiate a region-wide plan. Mayor Bates created a special assessment district to provide financing to citizens and businesses that install solar photovoltaic panels, which would then be paid back from slight increases to the property taxes of participating landowners. Mayor Bates proves that leadership can help grow an economy, support local businesses and improve community well-being.

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Praises Public Commons
November 30, 2007
Credit the Berkeley City
Council with looking beyond the false choices that too often paralyze policies on homelessness in progressive cities.

SF Chronicle: Mayor Bates Puts Together $9 Million for Ed Roberts Campus
November 29, 2007
"Somewhere, Ed Roberts is smiling. A one-of-a-kind regional campus named in honor of the pioneering disability rights activist won its final round of
funding Tuesday night when the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to pay the remaining $2 million.  The Ed Roberts Campus will be a Bay Area center for disability services, policy research and education. Ground will be broken in May or June, after 12 years of fundraising."

Public Commons Initiative up for Final Approval
November 26, 2007
On November 27th, the Berkeley City Council will consider the staff proposal to address problematic street behavior with increased outreach services, more bathrooms and benches
, supportive housing, benefit application assistance, expanded no-smoking areas and cleaned up municipal code language and a resolution regarding lodging in public.

Town Hall Meeting on the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative Sept. 29th
September 24, 2007
Join us for a town hall meeting on the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. a the North Berkeley Senior Center.  The Public Commons for Everyone Initiative (PCEI) seeks to improve our City’s common areas for everyone who lives in, works in, or visits Berkeley.

Ecology Center's Berkeley Sustainability Summit on Friday, Sept. 21
September 17, 2007
Important and innovative sustainability projects and initiatives are happening all over the Berkeley, stemming from every sector. Yet many people are unaware of the scope and variety. The Berkeley Sustainability Summit showcases a broad cross-section of efforts taking place within one of the greenest cities in the nation, and provides attendees an invigorating opportunity to learn, network, and get inspired. This year's Summit features an all-new lineup of speakers and topics.

Mayor Bates to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Brew Pubs
September 6, 2007
On September 13, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will join brew pub owners to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the signing of the California law that legalized brewpubs.  The bill – AB 3610, authored by then-Assemblyman Tom Bates – was soon replicated around the country, creating the national brewpub industry and introducing millions of people to good beer.

Read more news and browse updates by year at THE BATES UPDATE