It wasn't that long ago that housing developers were the bad guys in the eyes of many environmentalists. But in the era of climate change, in which the growth of cities has become paramount in order to curb suburban sprawl and gas-guzzling commutes, environmentalists are increasingly viewing urban housing developers differently — especially the ones that do it right. Take Ali Kashani and Mark Rhoades and their East Bay company CityCentric Investments. Now, many developers might argue — rightfully — that any type of dense urban housing development next to mass transit is green, but Kashani and Rhoades, a former Berkeley city planner, are taking it to a whole other level. They're aiming to make their Parker Place housing development the largest privately developed project to ever receive LEED platinum certification in Berkeley history. The project also gets credits for adaptive reuse. It will use the facade of the old Berkeley Honda building, designed in 1923 by noted architect James Plachek, who also designed Berkeley City Hall. No wonder Parker Place faced almost no opposition and won approval in record time from Berkeley's infamously byzantine permitting process.
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