Tag Archives: Alan Varela

National construction company moves to Berkeley, will repurpose Flint Ink building as its HQ

ProVen Management building. Image: courtesy Trachtenberg Architects
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PrōVen Management, a national engineering construction company that specializes in large-scale infrastructure projects, is moving its operations from San Francisco’s Jackson Square area to West Berkeley, and is turning the old Flint Ink factory into its new headquarters.

Berkeley architect David Trachtenberg is overseeing the transformation, and he said it’s one of the most exciting projects he’s worked on for some time. The plans for the site, at 1350 Fourth Street (at Gilman), include a contractor’s yard for storage of heavy equipment, a new 5,000 sq. ft equipment repair shed, and renovation of the existing 35,000 square feet of buildings for use as storage, offices, conference space, and a private art gallery. The project has received landmarks and zoning approvals and is currently in design development.

PrōVen founder Alan Varela said the company chose the Berkeley location for a number of reasons: much of the company’s large construction equipment is stored in nearby Oakland, the cost of the site was appealing compared to San Francisco (though he says Berkeley’s property taxes have proved a “surprise”), and Varela himself is now closer to his principal home in Lafayette. “I don’t have to cross the Bay Bridge,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley buildings defaced after graffiti event

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Following an underground graffiti event that drew thousands of people to a vacant west Berkeley warehouse on Saturday, September 8, many buildings in the area were tagged leaving their owners and local residents dismayed.

The event, called “Special Delivery” and organized by Endless Canvas, took place in the Carbon Warehouse in the old Flint Ink building at 1350 Fourth Street between 6 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. Over the past few weeks, the interior of the 36,000 sq ft building has been covered with tags and street art by dozens of local graffiti artists. The warehouse, which has been vacant since 1999, has been a draw for graffiti artists for years, but this orchestrated “happening” was seen as a last gasp before the building is cleaned up and put to use by its owner, Alan Varela, owner of ProVen Management.

But on Sunday, the neighborhood also woke up to the sight of graffiti on many exterior walls of buildings across several blocks. The back walls of 1360 Fifth Street, which houses photovoltaic testing lab PVEL, and 1321 Fifth Street, home to Gingko Press, now sport dozens of multi-colored scrawls. There are tags on the Trumer Pils building at 1404 Fourth Street, on the Donkey & Goat winery, on the walls of expedition gear retailer SlingFin on the corner of Fifth and Gilman, as well as on many doorways of small businesses in the area. According to the Berkeley Police, they received reports from 13 victims of vandalism, and an investigation is under way.

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