Buddhist center to break ground

Inside Bay Area, May 4, 2005

Ceremony for the new Berkeley complex, the largest of its kind in the country, will be held Friday

BERKELEY, CA (USA) -- The country's largest center for Buddhist learning is being built in Berkeley, say officials from the San Francisco-based Buddhist Church of America and Hayashida Architects of Emeryville.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the $10-million Jodo Shinshu Center will be held Friday at the future home of the center, 2140 Durant Ave., Berkeley.

Bishop Koshin Ogui will lead the private ceremony, that includes a Buddhist service and congratulatory speeches from Buddhist Church of America President Douglas Iwamoto and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. Other city officials also will attend.

The 37,000-square-foot Jodo Shinshu Center will incorporate an existing 22,000-square-foot art deco building that Charles Howard, owner of the famous race horse Seabiscuit, built for his Buick dealership in the 1930s.

In the 1980s, former Oakland A's baseball star Reggie Jackson operated an auto dealership at the location.

The project was designed by Hayashida Architects of Emeryville.