Two businesses on the site of the demolished Sequoia Building at Haste and Telegraph may re-open, and plans are under way to build a new structure on the site. City officials are hosting a meeting today to discuss the future of the site with its owners, who are known to have retained an architect for a potential new project there.
Telegraph Avenue has been declared a disaster zone in order to provide federal aid to businesses, homeowners and tenants affected by the November 18th fire at The Sequoia Building.
The elevator system in the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street where a fire broke out on the night of November 18th, ultimately destroying the 39-unit building, had not been inspected in over a year and its permit had expired, according to an article in the Berkeley Voice.
The demolition of the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street was temporarily halted after part of an exterior wall on Haste Street accidentally collapsed on Wednesday, causing a violation of the demolition permit. The result is that the building will now be taken down to a lower height than originally planned.
By Wednesday evening, the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street was effectively no more, or at the very least no more than a gigantic heap of debris and rubble.
Investigators for the Berkeley Fire Department say the five-alarm fire that broke out on November 18th at 2441 Haste Street originated in and around the elevator machinery in the basement of the five-story building, and that the fire was accidental in nature.
As demolition crews prepared to partially demolish the fire-ravaged building at 2441 Haste Street Monday afternoon, a group of former tenants of the building were planning to meet this evening to discuss securing settlements from the building’s owners and fixing damage from a fire which, they say, could have been prevented.
Update, 5:18pm: Writing in the Berkeley Voice, Doug Oakley reports that the owner of the Sequoia Building will begin tearing it down Monday, but it remains in danger of collapsing and is a public safety problem until that happens, according to city officials.
By Steven Finacom
Update, 11.24.11: The Berkeley Fire Department reports that all 68 residents of 2441 Haste Street have been accounted for. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries or fatalities as a result of the building’s five-alarm fire on November 18th.
The city of Berkeley and the merchants of Telegraph Avenue are encouraging the community to shop on Berkeley’s most famous street this holiday season after a devastating fire left many people homeless on Friday and closed down one section of the commercial strip indefinitely.
Update, 11.21.11, 9:09 am: ASUC (The Associated Students of the University of California) is organizing a Donation Drive for those displaced by the fire on Haste and Telegraph. Many of the residents of The Sequoia Apartments were students. Visit the ASUC Donation Drive Facebook page for details.