Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley

Berkeley police seek help identifying shooting suspect

Screen Shot BPD video
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Berkeley police are asking for the community’s help to identify a suspect who shot at a homeless man in downtown Berkeley in the early hours of April 14.

Nixle alert released by BPD on Tuesday at around 3 p.m. includes a video which shows the suspect aiming and firing a gun (see below).

Police said that Thursday at approximately 3:35 a.m. dispatch received a report of shots fired in the 2100 block of Kittredge Street. Once on scene, officers talked to what they describe as the intended target of the shooting, a 39-year-old homeless man, who was not hit or injured by the gunfire.

The man said he had been standing in front of 2165 Kittredge St. when the suspect, who was in the parking lot near the gas pumps of Touchless Car Wash at 2176 Kittredge, began shooting at him. … Continue reading »

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Luxury rental housing to replace Berkeley offices

1950 Addison. Photo: TCA Architecture
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A 2-story office building in downtown Berkeley is slated to be replaced by a 7-story building with 107 luxury apartments and no retail. The project, at 1950 Addison St., between Milvia Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, was approved Thursday night by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board.

A ground-floor parking garage will have space for 68 vehicles on lifts, and 75 bicycles. Total project height is slated to be 74 feet. The units will be a mix of studios, and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Four of those units will be below-market-rate apartments. The developer is expected to pay $1.26 million into the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which is used to build affordable housing elsewhere in the city. The property is owned by Westwood BayRock Addison LP of San Francisco.

See the Berkeleyside real estate section.

The project is opting to take advantage of the “density bonus” and a use permit to build up to a height of seven stories. Zoning board members spent a significant amount of time discussing the density bonus and, in some cases taking issue with, how the city calculates it. (Scroll down for details.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley post office protesters cleared out in early morning raid

Post Office Inspectors cleared protesters from the steps after nearly 17 months. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Just before 5 a.m. Tuesday, U.S. Post Office inspectors cleared the protester encampment on the steps and on the side of the downtown Berkeley Post Office. Protesters from First They Came for the Homeless and the Berkeley Post Office Defenders had occupied part of the post office property for over 17 months.

“Since November 2014 we’ve been giving out information, providing materials saying you can’t stay,” said Jeff Fitch, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “We’ve been encouraging people to not camp there. The decision was made to come in this week and conduct the operation.”

Read more about the Berkeley Post Office.

Fitch said eight people were removed from the site and four federal misdemeanor citations were issued, for obstructing access and for not following instructions from authorized postal security officers. No arrests were made.

According to Mike Wilson, an organizer of the Post Office Defenders, protesters had been assured that they would not be removed for trespassing. He said there were five protesters at the post office overnight and a number of homeless people not associated with the protest in the garden on Milvia Street.  … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 1 after staff at Berkeley McDonald’s attacked

McDonald's Photo Tracey Taylor
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Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire responded to an incident Thursday afternoon at the McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley in which a person jumped the counter and attacked several employees.

There was also a report of an additional victim being attacked at a laundromat nearby.

“The suspect was not armed, but apparently struck or choked at least two individuals — one at McDonalds, one at the laundromat, without warning or provocation,” said Berkeley Police Captain Andrew Greenwood. … Continue reading »

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Person goes under AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley

Person trapped under AC Transit bus on April 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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UPDATE, 12:20 p.m. AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles confirmed that a man collapsed while standing next to a stationary bus just before 10 a.m. Friday, apparently due to a medical condition. “He fell against the side of the bus, and slid between the curb and the bus,” Lyles said. There was no collision between the individual and the bus, Lyle said. The man was transported to Highland Hospital. His condition is unknown.

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley Fire and Berkeley Police responded Friday morning to an incident in which a man went under an AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley.

The incident happened some time before 10 a.m. at the bus stop at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street.

BFD paramedics worked to release the man who was near the rear right wheel of the no. 18 bus. He was released at around 10:15 a.m. and placed in an ambulance and transported.

His condition was unknown at press time. … Continue reading »

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Proposal to convert, expand UC Press building for offices

UC Press rendering. Image: DEVI DUTTA ARCHITECTURE, INC.
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Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will consider a proposal Thursday that would see the UC Press building at 2120 Berkeley Way renovated into a modern 6-story office building with the addition of three new stories.

The proposal, submitted by the Rhoades Planning Group, with a design by Berkeley’s Devi Dutta Architecture, was originally submitted to the city in September and has been reviewed by the Design Review Committee.

The plan would retain the existing building, but “completely upgrade and modernize [its] interior while preserving the façade on the first three floors and adding three new levels above,” according to the project documents. The remodel of the former publishing house, which is located between Shattuck Avenue and Walnut Street, would create open floor plans, allowing for greater light, install new skylights, windows and building systems. … Continue reading »

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DA will not file criminal charges in balcony collapse case

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley (center) with office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick (right) and Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update: Berkeley mayor reacts to the DA’s decision — see foot of the story.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced Tuesday that her office will not be filing criminal charges in relation to the June 16, 2015, balcony collapse in downtown Berkeley that killed six students, and left seven others with serious injuries.

The DA’s investigation has concluded that the primary reason the balcony collapsed was “water [that] had been trapped (or “encapsulated”) in the balcony deck during construction, leading to eventual and extensive dry rot damage.” There was insufficient evidence that “a defendant had acted with gross or reckless conduct akin to a disregard for human life,” the office said.

Read more on the June 16, 2015, balcony collapse.

This corresponds with the city of Berkeley’s investigation immediately following the accident which identified dry rot as the only contributing factor in the the collapse that happened in the early hours of June 16 at Library Gardens at 2020 Kittredge St.

The DA’s office announced it would launch a criminal investigation on June 25, after the city of Berkeley had completed its investigation. The city had said that forensic examination and laboratory tests of the balcony were outside its scope of review. The city subsequently ordered inspections and stiffened requirements about materials, venting and access in Berkeley buildings to ensure safer conditions. … Continue reading »

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UC Theatre postpones TMBG show due to tech delays

The UC Theatre on Sunday March 20 when it held an Open House for the public. Photo: William Newton
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UPDATE, April 19: The They Might Be Giants’ postponed show (originally March 25) at the UC Theatre has been rescheduled for Friday, July 22. Tickets purchased for the March 25 show will be honored for the rescheduled date. More information.

UPDATE, March 26: The UC Theatre has canceled Saturday night’s Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue show citing power and permitting issues. It’s the third scheduled show that has failed to happen at the yet-to-open venue. Ticket-holders are being offered refunds.

ORIGINAL STORY: The UC Theatre, which was due to open its doors for its first time Friday night, has been forced to postpone the scheduled appearance of They Might Be Giants due, it said, to technical delays beyond its control.

Read more about the UC Theatre.

Tessa Morris, a spokeswoman for the theatre, said they have had “electrical issues which have affected the whole [theatre] system.” Morris said Saturday night’s scheduled performance by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, which is billed as sold out, is still slated to go ahead. … Continue reading »

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2 Berkeley officials call for Fulton Street bike lane

Bike East Bay says a protected bike lane like this on Fulton Street would make cyclists safer. Image: Bike East Bay
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and mayoral hopeful Councilman Jesse Arreguín have teamed up to ask the city manager to move quickly to extend a bike lane two blocks south on Fulton Street by the site of a near-fatal crash involving a cyclist and vehicle in February.

In a Berkeley City Council consent calendar item scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, they ask the “City Manager and Transportation staff to prioritize and expedite the installation of a bicycle lane on Fulton Street between Bancroft Way and Channing Way.”

The council item notes that the city needs to conduct a traffic study and public hearing before a new bike lane could be installed.

“This item urges staff to prioritize completion of all steps necessary to install the bike lane by May 12, 2016, Bike to Work Day or as expeditiously as possible thereafter,” according to the brief report. There is a bike lane on Fulton Street north of Bancroft Way but it ends at that intersection.

Advocacy group Bike East Bay has been actively pushing for that extension since last year when the street was repaved, and say city bike planning documents already lay the groundwork for making it happen. They renewed calls for the lane after Megan Schwarzman, a mother, medical doctor and UC Berkeley scientist, was struck by a driver Feb. 2 at Fulton and Bancroft Way and critically injured.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley zoning board approves new 6-story building

The zoning board approved 50 new units on Durant on Thursday. Image: Kahn Design Associates
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A small clapboard house on Durant Avenue and surface parking lot on Bancroft Way in Berkeley are set to be replaced by a 6-story mixed-use building with 50 units and ground-floor retail after a unanimous zoning board vote Thursday night.

Commissioner Sophie Hahn called the project, from Kahn Design Associates, “an incredibly handsome building” that was “beautifully designed,” adding: “Thank you very much for bringing us a good project that we could approve so quickly.”

The project site sits mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Fulton Street, with Bancroft to the north and Durant to the south.

It is set to include 413 square feet of ground-floor retail and garage parking for 50 bikes and 13 vehicles. The unit mix is slated to feature 10 studios, 30 one-bedroom units, two two-bedrooms and 18 three-bedrooms, according to the staff report.

A 3-story home on Durant, which was built in 1901, will be moved to 1940 Haste St. — about 3.5 blocks, or less than half a mile, away — to make room for the new building. The Haste Street parcel is currently a 10-vehicle parking lot.  … Continue reading »

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Oscar’s sign to OSCARS home at Berkeley Lab

The iconic Oscar's sign has a new home: ESnet at Berkeley Lab. Photo: ESnet
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Did you wonder what happened to the iconic Oscar’s sign once the restaurant closed for good after flipping burgers in downtown Berkeley for 65 years? Well, we have the answer.

The sign was bought by Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), a research and education network that is managed from Berkeley Lab. Why you might ask? Linda Vu at ESnet explained that the organization provides high-bandwidth connections that link scientists at national laboratories, universities and research institutions around the world, allowing them to solve some of the world’s most important scientific challenges including energy, climate science and the origins of the universe.

The Department of Energy network “is optimized for transferring large scientific datasets,” she said.

One of ESnet’s major achievements in the last couple years has been the development of “OSCARS,” which stands for On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System.

“This software essentially allows researchers who are using ESnet to reserve bandwidth on the network to move massive, time-critical datasets around the world,” she said. … Continue reading »

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Huge price tag projected for homeless storage bin plan

Bates wants the city council to adopt a zoning overlay to protect historic buildings in the civic center area, like Veterans' Memorial Hall. He admits he hopes the push will undermine support for a Downtown Green Initiative scheduled for November ballot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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An innovative program to offer secure storage containers for the possessions of Berkeley’s homeless could cost nearly $350,000 a year in staffing, along with $50,000 in start-up costs.

Interim City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley provided the City Council with the estimates in a Feb. 26 memo that has been posted on the city website.

Read more coverage of homelessness in Berkeley.

The storage program must be in place before the city can begin enforcing a slate of other new rules designed to clean up Berkeley’s sidewalks and limit problematic behavior on them. Advocates for the homeless have said the laws will only serve to criminalize the community’s most vulnerable and downtrodden. Council voted to approve the new rules in December.

According to the memo, the city is looking at a six-month pilot program at 1931 Center St.: “The plan is to re-open the lockers currently located behind the Veteran’s Building and to add a structure in the same location to house an additional fifty (50) 64-gallon storage containers.”

The area would be secured, and staff would be on site daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to allow access. The city says it is also looking at additional sites “to ensure we locate the program in the most appropriate place.” … Continue reading »

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Tender Greens restaurant headed to Berkeley

A Chinese chicken salad from Tender Greens. Photo: Ellen Lu
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Just like waiting for the proverbial bus, those who have been hungering for good salads in downtown Berkeley will be getting not one, but two healthy eateries at the same time, as we can report that Tender Greens is opening up at 2071 University Ave. (at Shattuck). This follows on the news we reported last year that Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain out of Washington, D.C., that specializes in mostly vegetarian or vegan salads, had taken over the former Oscar’s burger location. Tender Greens is expected to open in Fall 2016.

Tender Greens, a chain with several dozen restaurants in Southern California, and three in the Bay Area — two in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek  — has applied to open in the space formerly occupied by the Chinese restaurant Taiwan, which closed last year after 42 years of operation.

Tender Greens describes itself on its website as “a fine casual eatery that combines our fine dining point of view and hospitality with a casual, quick dining atmosphere. Our restaurants serve fresh, healthy, chef-inspired, farmer’s market sensible dishes at an affordable price in a relaxed environment. By working with small local farmers, ranchers, artisans, boutique wineries, breweries and coffee roasters, we are able to provide the best quality ingredients and products for our guests.” … Continue reading »

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