Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley
The city of Berkeley has gotten a temporary restraining order blocking the sale of the city’s main post office on Allston Way.
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled Nov. 5 that the U.S. Postal Service cannot sell the building before he conducts a full hearing in San Francisco on Dec. 10. USPS has committed to not closing a sale on the property before Dec. 17.
The city of Berkeley, along with its outside counsel Antonio Rossmann, filed for the TRO after learning online that the USPS was in contract to sell the building. Despite repeated requests and a Freedom of Information Act request, the USPS has refused to disclose the identity of the buyer.
On Nov. 5, Berkeleyside revealed that local developer Hudson McDonald was in negotiations to purchase the historic property. The firm would like the post office to remain in the front part of the building, according to Chris Hudson, a principal. The firm plans to put retail in the back portion of the property, which is currently sitting empty. … Continue reading »
After weeks of silence, Berkeley developer Hudson McDonald has acknowledged that it is the company that is negotiating with the USPS to buy the main Berkeley Post Office at 2000 Allston Way.
If successful, Hudson McDonald, which is best known for the construction of the Trader Joe’s building on University and MKL Jr. Way, said it plans to restore the 1914 building and develop the back for retail operations while offering the Post Office the opportunity of continuing to use the front lobby for postal services.
“There is a lot to be determined,” Chris Hudson, co-principal with Evan McDonald of the developer, said Tuesday. “But we want to preserve and restore the building, including retrofitting it, and we are having a conversation with the post office about them being tenant in the front part.” Currently about 80% of the building is empty.
Hudson said the Post Office had received several offers for the building but that Hudson McDonald was the only bidder in negotiation with USPS. … Continue reading »
The row of cafés and storefronts on the 1900 block of Berkeley’s University Avenue has seen a few abrupt closures this year, including the much-loved Slow restaurant and Bittersweet Café. But these have also opened up room for a new vision from Christopher Blue and his wife Jess Steeve, owners of the Chocolatier Blue shop in that same block, and its sister stores. Their new pie and coffee shop, A Dora Pie, had its soft opening on Sunday, Oct. 26, in the space that, until last month, housed Slow, run by chef Kyle Anderson.
Chris Blue was an investor in Anderson’s restaurant and a friend. Both chefs, who met at Charlie Trotter’s and are fellow Nebraskans, share a vision of serving accessible, honest gourmet food. When Anderson and his family decided to head back to their home state after four successful years with Slow, Blue didn’t want to replicate someone else’s inspiration. It was Anderson’s kitchen, and Slow wouldn’t be the same without him. … Continue reading »
The developer behind a 180-foot-tall, mixed-use project planned in downtown Berkeley at 2211 Harold Way announced a commitment this week to use 100% union labor to construct The Residences at Berkeley Plaza.
According to Mark Rhoades of Rhoades Planning Group, a project representative, it’s the first agreement of its kind in Berkeley — between a private developer and labor — in at least 17 years.
Project developer HSR Berkeley Investments signed the labor agreement several weeks ago, after more than a year of discussion and negotiation, with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Alameda County. The group represents all 28 labor unions in the county.
The agreement will mean a livable wage, along with benefits including health care and sick leave, for an estimated 300 skilled workers. They will make, on average, $65 an hour, according to project documents. Construction for Berkeley Plaza is expected to take 2-3 years, and many of the workers hired must live in Berkeley or nearby, within the East Bay Green Corridor.
Rhoades said the agreement will cover everything “from digging the hole to doing the concrete and the steel, and including the first round of retail tenant work. It will result in a much better building, a much nicer streetscape, and a building whose systems work because of the union labor that will be putting it together.” … Continue reading »
Most of us want a new downtown; why are we asked over and over to keep the old one? Why do we have to fight another misleading initiative — Measure R?
After years of debate on a plan to revitalize our downtown, we had the first initiative campaign to stop it, and a subsequent election, in which the plan was approved overwhelmingly by voters in every precinct in Berkeley. It provided for a new green downtown with new housing for … Continue reading »
A community member who saw a video of a violent, unprovoked assault in Berkeley in September helped tip off authorities to the assailant’s identity, which led to her arrest, police said Tuesday.
Last week, the Berkeley Police Department asked for the community’s help to find a woman with an overloaded shopping cart who had — for no apparent reason — forcefully shoved an 85-year-old pedestrian to the ground as she walked in downtown Berkeley with a relative on Sept. 23. The woman suffered serious injuries and was taken to the hospital as a result.
As part of its outreach, the department released a security video showing the assault. (A Berkeleyside post of that video has been viewed nearly 4,500 times on YouTube. Other media sources also made it available.) … Continue reading »
Update, Oct. 14: Read Berkeleyside’s exclusive story about the alleged assailant’s arrest.
Original story, Oct. 7: Authorities are looking for a woman they say turned suddenly, without provocation, and violently shoved an 85-year-old pedestrian to the ground as she walked in downtown Berkeley in September.
The assault caused serious injuries, and the victim required treatment at the hospital. Authorities have released a video (below) that shows what took place.
According to police, the 85-year-old Oakland woman was walking with a relative on Shattuck Avenue near Allston Way on Sept. 23 just after 9:30 p.m. when a woman who had passed them rushed back at them, forcefully pushed the Oakland woman to the ground, and immediately walked away. … Continue reading »
A new one-stop homelessness services shop is in the works in Berkeley.
Announced Tuesday night, the city is changing the way it funds programs offered in town, to prioritize the people with the highest needs, in line with a federal mandate to streamline services into a coordinated system.
The city is looking to create a central office where anyone seeking services will begin the process. Currently, there are too many entry points, as well as duplicative services and a mis-match between those who receive the highest level of assistance and those who needs it most, staff said Tuesday at a work session with the Berkeley City Council.
The city spends about $3 million a year on a range of programs. That is not set to change. But how the money is divvied up, and exactly which types of services receive money, will be different. Unlike the current system, programs will have to fit into set categories to qualify for city support. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Ideas Festival is just 6 weeks away; marriage equality pioneers Sandy Stier and Kris Perry will be there
This year’s Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014 is just six weeks away.
Happening in downtown Berkeley on Friday Oct. 24 and Saturday Oct. 25, the Bay Area’s only ideas festival promises to be one of the most memorable events of the fall.
Berkeleyside created and produces Uncharted, and we have been working furiously behind the scenes to make the festival an event you will love. We’ve signed some wonderful new speakers for you to meet, including:
- Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human
- Steve Coll, Dean, Columbia Journalism School
- Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, marriage equality pioneers
- Dale Dougherty, Founder, Maker Media
- Andrés Roemer, Consul General of Mexico, San Francisco
Target is coming to town.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is poised to turn a long vacant building at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way into one of its new-concept TargetExpress stores by March 2015. The store will only be 12,000 square feet — compared to the average Target store size of 80,000 square feet — but will sell food, clothing, accessories and consumer electronics that will appeal to students, commuters and downtown’s growing residential population. … Continue reading »
An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that several of the words used by the Berkeley City Council in the ballot summary for a proposed downtown initiative to go before voters in November were biased and inaccurate, and has amended its description slightly.
The matter came before Grillo after Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguín and several others filed a lawsuit in August arguing that the language used by the council in the summary was misleading and inaccurate.
Friday, attorneys for both sides made their cases before Grillo in his courtroom in downtown Oakland. … Continue reading »
Diners have a cool, new option in Berkeley with the opening last month of Townie, at 1799 University Ave., in what was for decades Caffe Venezia until it closed last year. The interior has gotten a major overhaul and Chef Dana Ryan is at the helm of this small plates New American restaurant at Grant Street, not far from downtown Berkeley.
The menu is small, but features one hit after another, using seasonal ingredients and what the owners describe as “the highest quality meats and seafood.” Potato croquettes, the garlic cheese toast and the mussels with chorizo and white wine were some of the favorites during a recent meal. … Continue reading »