Tag Archives: Ken Sarachan

2 historic Southside Berkeley homes on the move, literally

Blood House getting ready for its move. Photo: Ted Friedman
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A complex tripod of moving history is about to take place in South Berkeley.

In a unique and probably first-ever-in-Berkeley arrangement, two historical houses, one a city designated landmark, and the other a designated structure of merit, will be hoisted and trucked to a vacant lot a few blocks from their current locations, for a mini historical neighborhood cluster. … Continue reading »

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‘Moorish palace’ plans for Telegraph show little progress

The design for a mixed-use project at 2501 Haste St. Courtesy: Kirk E. Peterson & Associates
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The frustration was palpable Thursday night as zoning board commissioners noted the lack of headway by the property owner of a highly anticipated mixed-use project proposed on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.

The empty lot at 2501 Haste St., at Telegraph, has been vacant for more than 20 years, though owner Ken Sarachan has said he would like to build a 6-story Moorish palace-like structure there.

In 2012, Sarachan submitted preliminary plans to the community about his vision. But the process since then has been murky. Issues quickly cropped up related to the fate of an historic home on the project site, the potential need for an environmental review, and existing liens on the property which added up to $640,000. The latest hurdle is due to missing documents and details needed from the project architect, which must be turned in to the city before any approvals can take place. … Continue reading »

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‘Moorish-style palace’ for Telegraph Ave. is step closer

The design for a mixed-use project at 2501 Haste St. Courtesy: Kirk E. Peterson & Associates
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A six-story, mixed-use, Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns is one step closer to being built on Berkeley’s iconic Telegraph Avenue after the project sailed through a review by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board last week.

ZAB commissioners were generally receptive to the building’s unusual design, according to Commissioner Steven Donaldson.

Addressing the architect of the project, Kirk E. Peterson, ZAB Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe said she approved of the design. “It’s weird and I like that,” she said. O’Keefe said she grew up in Berkeley, had always appreciated the “weirdness” of Telegraph Avenue, and that it was good to see something unusual, “a little different,” proposed for the area. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley settles case with blighted Telegraph lot owner

ELEV-WEST-RENDERED
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The city of Berkeley and Ken Sarachan have settled a lawsuit over his empty lot at 2501 Haste St. on the corner of Telegraph Avenue, clearing the way for the construction of a a six-story, mixed-use, Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan.

Under the settlement, Berkeley agreed to drop its lawsuit to force Sarachan to pay $640,000 in liens or have the city sell the lot at auction. In exchange, Sarachan agreed to meet specific deadlines to pursue and build something on the lot that has been vacant for more than 20 years. … Continue reading »

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Rasputin to sell organic ice cream on Telegraph

A photo presented to the City Council on Tuesday night shows Rasputin's Dream ice cream for sale in San Francisco. Photo: Emilie
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Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue won a permit to serve ice cream, but not out of a take-out window on Channing Way, the Berkeley City Council ruled Tuesday night.

Popular ice cream sandwich spot C.R.E.A.M., which stands for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me — in reference to the 1993 Wu-Tang Clan song “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” — had appealed the permit request by Rasputin owner Ken Sarachan, citing concerns about disabled access on the sidewalk and potential traffic violations at a red curb should the take-out window open. Cookies Rule is located across the street from the proposed window at Rasputin. … Continue reading »

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Cream vs. Dream: Telegraph Ave. ice cream face-off

Supporters of Cream line up to speak before the Berkeley City Council. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The owners of one of Telegraph Avenue’s most popular ice cream spots have asked Berkeley officials to revoke the permit for a new ice cream take-out window set to open right across the street, at Rasputin Music.

Tuesday night, Berkeley City Council members heard the appeal, by Cream ice cream parlor, 2399 Telegraph, against Rasputin’s Dream Ice Cream, which won approval in September from the city’s zoning board.

Problem was, a city staff member said the city failed to notify nearby businesses about the proposal. If Rasputin’s permit is ultimately approved, the two businesses would essentially stare each other down across Channing Way. … Continue reading »

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Mad Monk Center to rise on Telegraph

An architectural rendering of what the Mad Monk Center on Telegraph could look like. Image: Avila Design
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The iconic Telegraph Avenue building that formerly housed Cody’s Bookstore could have a new identity before year’s end due to an ambitious project underway by local property owner Ken Sarachan.

Sarachan — who also owns Rasputin Music and Blondie’s Pizza, as well as the vacant lot north of Amoeba Music — describes his “Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media” as a two-story complex with a full-service restaurant, performance space, small flower kiosk, take-out coffee counter and analogue media shop that will bring together “the best assembly of records anywhere in California.” … Continue reading »

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Tackling Telegraph Avenue: Is this time different?

Proposed
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Nearly 200 Berkeleyans came to Willard Middle School on Thursday night to hear and offer ideas about improving Telegraph Avenue, which has suffered in recent years from declining retail sales, empty lots and plenty of handwringing.

“I have great enthusiasm and great optimism that we’re going to make things happen,” said Mayor Tom Bates after the meeting. “I’m not going to hold back, it’s too important an issue. I’m going to really immerse myself in the issue. I’m not going to let this drop. I have this term of office, and I intend to fully maximize what I can do.”

Bates said there are a number of factors that mean current efforts could really mean a new start for Telegraph, particularly the three concrete projects planned for the unused corners of Telegraph and Haste, and the university’s redevelopment of the student center on Bancroft Way, which could encourage much greater activity and flow of pedestrians.  … Continue reading »

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New building proposed for Sequoia site on Telegraph Ave.

Kahn Telegraph building
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The owners of the property at 2441 Haste St. at Telegraph, scene of a devastating fire in Nov. 2011 that destroyed the five-story Sequoia Apartments, have submitted a proposal to the city of Berkeley to build a new 42-unit, 43,000 sq ft apartment building.

The project would also include retail spaces intended for two restaurants that burned down that night: Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar & Grill.

The proposal, which was submitted to the city by Kenneth and Gregory Ent on Friday, Feb. 22, would be designed by Berkeley architects Kahn Design Associates, working with developer ROEM. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Proposed site of Biondi's Cafe. Image: Google Maps
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FROM CLOTHES TO PIZZA Landlord Ken Sarachan has applied to open a new “family and student oriented” eatery — serving salads, gourmet pizza and pasta — named Biondi’s Cafe, at 2360 Telegraph Ave. You may remember it as Wet Seal, which has closed. (Thanks to Charles Siegel for the tip.) Architect Mark Thieme said, in his application to the city, the space “will feature a bar and restaurant seating with a bistro style atmosphere.” Interior improvements will include “a new commercial kitchen, open seating areas, bar type seating, accessible restrooms and a production lift” for storage on the existing mezzanine. The cafe will seat about 80 people, with a capacity of 150. The space has applied for permission to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and could offer live music. The application is set for review before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Jan. 10. … Continue reading »

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New Sproul, design ideas provide optimism for Telegraph

An architect's rendering of the new Eshelman Hall, along Bancroft Way
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The future of Telegraph Avenue was the focus of a special work session of Berkeley’s City Council on Tuesday evening. Where most discussions of Telegraph concentrate on the many problems of the area — declining retail sales, vacant lots, troubling street behavior — Tuesday was filled with positive images and ideas for the avenue.

At the center of the discussions was one concrete project — the University of California Berkeley’s Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment — and one ambitious series of new ideas, created by Berkeley Design Advocates following their design charrette last April.  … Continue reading »

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Off The Grid food truck fest to launch on Telegraph Avenue

Off The Grid by Paul Miller:CC
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Off The Grid, the popular gathering of food trucks that has already proved a hit in North Berkeley, will launch on Telegraph Avenue on Thursday, July 12.

Just like the North Shattuck Wednesday food fest, “Off The Grid: South Side Berkeley on Telegraph” will feature a rotating selection of eight to ten food trucks every Thursday night. They will be located on Haste Street, just west of Telegraph, and the area will be closed to traffic for the duration of the event which runs from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Along with the trucks, some seating, lights and music will be provided.

Matt Cohen, founder of Off The Grid, says he sees the new market as complementary to the one in the Gourmet Ghetto as it will feature few of the same trucks. He hopes it will appeal to students and families in particular, and help bring foot traffic to an area that has had its share of problems. … Continue reading »

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Popular restaurants closed by fires face further delays

All that remains of the Sequoia Building is the one-story façade on Telegraph that housed Café Intermezzo and Raleigh's. Photos: Lance Knobel
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It looks like a number of Berkeley restaurants won’t be recovering as quickly as hoped from a recent set of fires.

The Daily Californian is reporting that the proposal to erect temporary tents to replace Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar & Grill, which were destroyed Nov. 18 when the Sequoia Building burned down, hasn’t gone forward. Property owner Greg Ent submitted a permit application in January, but has not responded to changes requested in mid-March by the city. Ent has also stopped talking to the project’s architect, Kirk Peterson, according to the Daily Cal.

“The latest I’ve heard is a rumor that the (Ent’s) insurance company’s money couldn’t be used for the temporary structures,” City councilmember Kriss Worthington told the paper. “That may mean the owner of the building has switched gears from the temporary operation into looking at getting into a permanent building operation.” … Continue reading »

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