Berkeley reconsiders landmark status

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With more than 300 landmark buildings, Berkeley loves its architecture. But the City Council is ready to tell the landmark commission today that it went too far when it bestowed the hallowed status on a concrete, flat-roofed Berkeley building loosely linked to Bernard Maybeck.

For only the second time in at least a decade, the council is expected to send a landmark decision back to the panel for further review, based on an appeal by the building's owner and a recommendation by the city's planning director, Dan Marks.

"I'm dumbfounded," said commissioner Carrie Olson. "This is very, very rare. We were proud to landmark the remains of this building, and I'm sad they've taken a little corkscrew to what we've done."

The building, at 1007 University Ave., was originally an addition to the headquarters of the Mobilized Women of Berkeley, a charity that supported U.S. troops and was co-founded by the wife of the prominent architect, whose buildings include the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Maybeck designed the main building, which was damaged in a fire and torn down in 1980.

The architect whose name is on the drawings of 1007 University Ave., however, is Phillip L. Coats, and it was built nine years after Maybeck retired.

The city's landmark commission said Coats was a friend of Maybeck's, and that's close enough to merit protection. The commission voted unanimously in September to grant landmark status to the 1949 structure, citing Maybeck's possible influence as well as the cultural history of the building.

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