Alfred Pattiani was the builder of choice for the moneyed class in the East Bay for many years. His grand Victorian homes dot the oldest parts of Berkeley, Oakland, and most notably Alameda where his office was located. He designed and built hundreds of homes over the course of his career, and though many in Berkeley were demolished to make way for campus expansions, the demolition of a particularly prominent example in Alameda in the 70s prompted the city to legislate preservation of its Victorian character.
Unfortunately, due to the impressive scale of these homes, many have been carved up over the years into multiple units. Such is the case with 1501 Central. Each floor has been made into its own unit, but fortunately in the case of this house, much of the original fabric has been retained, so it would not be exceedingly difficult to return this home to its former glory. The Berkeley Daily Planet carried an article about the restoration of a very similar Pattiani home a few years ago (note the analogous tower).