Friday 30 September 2016

Q&A: The Library Gardens apartments

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

Police tape blocks off a section of Kittredge Street in front the Library Gardens apartment building
Police tape blocks off a section of Kittredge Street in front the Library Gardens apartment building

The site of the fatal balcony collapse is one of Berkeley's biggest downtown developments in recent years.

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WHAT IS IT?

The complex is called Library Gardens and it opened in January 2007. There are 176 residential apartments with a mix of one- and two-bedroom units and 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is between $1,918 (€1,702) and $2,520, according to online advertisements.

Two-bedroom apartments rent for between $2,530 and $3,400 a month. Just four of the units have balconies. City officials have barred anyone from accessing the three remaining balconies until they are inspected.

WHO OWNS THE APARTMENT COMPLEX?

New York-based financial firm BlackRock serves as the investment adviser to the fund that bought the property from its original builder in 2007.

The US asset manager is one of the world's biggest investment managers - overseeing $4.7 trillion of assets including property, bonds and shares.

BlackRock's main business is investing other peoples' money, including funds held by pension and insurance firms. Indirectly, millions of people, not only in America, but here and globally have some share of their wealth tied into a BlackRock fund.

Local records today value the Berkeley apartments at $65m, and the owners pay close to $1m a year in property taxes. The firm said it was sending its own structural engineer to investigate the accident.

WHERE IS IT?

The 64,500 square foot complex is located in downtown Berkeley, a city near San Francisco. The property is close to the University of California, Berkeley, next door to a local library and blocks away from public transport links.

WHO LIVES THERE?

A mix of long-term and short-term residents. Many University of California, Berkeley students live in the complex during the school year.

Berkeley in general, and the apartment complex in particular, are popular among Irish students on J1s. Donal O'Donovan

Irish Independent

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