The old Hinks department store in Berkeley was a downtown fixture since the 1920's. In the 1980's the store went out of business and the space sat empty for two years. No one wanted that much retail space, especially space broken up with so many columns (see picture below).
We had previously fit three theatres into an unwanted and unrentable space in Opera Plaza for Allen Michaan, so we proposed to the Hink's owners that we work with Allen to use the back half of this huge ground floor space for theatres, with access to them via a wide gallery out to Shattuck Avenue; this would leave the street facade for smaller more rentable spaces that would enjoy the foot traffic the theatres would bring.
Copyright © 2009 William Simpson, Architect All Rights Reserved.