My internet access was down all day or I would have posted sooner. Hope everyone is well. I am going to talk about West Berkeley. I'm sure many of you have heard of the City of Berkeley, which is home to UC Berkeley (aka Cal). West Berkeley is an up and coming area with lots of cool happenings.
West Berkeley is considered the most economically diverse district in the city. Most economically active parts of Berkeley contain retail space, office space, single-family homes, and apartment buildings. However, unlike other areas of the city, West Berkeley is home to steel foundries, scientific instrument makers, book distributors, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and industrial type uses. West Berkeley is also unique in that sites range from 2,500 square feet to 25 acres, which is due primarily to the industrial sector along the west side of the city.
On a regional level, West Berkeley lies in the center of the vast East Bay industrial belt, which stretches from Hayward through Oakland and Berkeley to Richmond and on as far as Crockett. Recent estimates report approximately 100,000 manufacturing and wholesaling employees in this area. Until the rise of Silicon Valley, this East Bay shore was the largest industrial district in the Bay Area. The area is now often considered more neutrally as the "I-80/I-880 corridor." The transformation of uses is most evident in the redevelopment of Emeryville, but has also occurred in San Leandro, Hayward, Richmond, and even in parts of Oakland (especially near Downtown). Nonetheless, all these cities (including Emeryville) continue to have high levels of industrial employment, and the degree of mix varies substantially from area to area.
West Berkeley represents about 16% of Berkeley's land area. Running along the western edge of the city, West Berkeley is bordered by Albany to the north; the Waterfront and the Berkeley Marina to the west; Emeryville and Oakland to the south; and Central and South Berkeley to the east.
West Berkeley plays a vital employment role within the city, which includes about 33% of the city’s private sector jobs and 25% of the city’s total jobs (government and private). West Berkeley is not only the industrial focal point of the city, but arguably the city’s strongest regional retailing area as well as an emerging office/laboratory district.
Retail space currently occupies over one million square feet in West Berkeley (the equivalent of 2 large regional shopping centers) and contains over 300 businesses. West Berkeley is the main "retail" destination in Berkeley. While the bulk of retailers are small, a disproportionate percentage of sales volume is generally produced by larger firms such as Whole Earth Access, Weatherford BMW, Whole Foods, Office Depot, Truitt and White, and REI.
West Berkeley is represented in all retail categories, perhaps most strongly in boutique retail sector. While auto dealers are an exception, most West Berkeley retailers are local, non-credit tenant merchants. The primary retail corridor in West Berkeley is a two-block span along Fourth Street between Virginia Street and Hearst Avenue.