Tag Archives: Ken Sarachan

How Quirky is Berkeley? Bulwinkle on Telegraph Avenue

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As the old Cody’s bookstore building on the southwest corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street rises from the ashes, Ken Sarachan’s vision for the Mad Monk Anachronistic Media Center has begun to emerge. When Sarachan moved his Rasputin’s records into the space that today is Bear Basics at Telegraph and Durant, he turned to Mark Bulwinkle and his steel sculpture. Bear Basics has taken the place of Rasputin’s, but the Bulwinkle sculpture remains. And, as Sarachan nurses the Old Cody’s project along, he has turned to Bulwinkle again.

The second story Bulwinkle balcony is powder-coated sheet metal depicting what Bulwinkle calls the flora of Telegraph Avenue. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley close to deal for long-empty Telegraph lot

Ken Sarachan, who owns multiple properties on Telegraph Avenue, bought 2501 Haste St. in 1994. The Berkeley Inn was located there until a fire destroyed it. The mural was recently removed. Photo: Ted Friedman
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UC Berkeley and property owner Ken Sarachan are close to a joint-venture development deal for the long-empty lot at the north-east corner of Haste and Telegraph, which means that new student housing might be in place there by August 2017.

“We are in negotiations, deep negotiations,” said Robert Lalanne, UC’s Vice-Chancellor for Real Estate. Lalanne said he would like to think they are getting very close to a deal.

The university would take over Sarachan’s entitlement of the proposed development for the site: a six-story Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan. The university would then turn over the project  to a developer, who would build the structure. Lalanne declined to name the developer as a contract had not been signed. … Continue reading »

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Historic house trucked across People’s Park to new home

Corner Dwight/Regent. Moving into placer. Photo: Ted Friedman
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After decades of painstaking planning, a historic south Berkeley house was moved this weekend, trucked across People’s Park to its new home.

Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, the 138-year-old John Woolley house at 2509 Haste St. was hoisted one block south to 2506 Dwight St., the site of a newly developing cluster of Berkeley historic homes.

The move is part of a deal that saves the house, a city-designated landmark, while opening up its site at the corner of Haste and Telegraph Avenue for development.

“I’m glad to see it moved and preserved. It’s a significant early house in the Southside neighborhood,” said Anthony Bruce, the Executive Director of the Berkeley Architectural Historical Association (BAHA), noting that he was speaking for himself and not the organization. … Continue reading »

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Michael Bloomberg has now spent $370K in support of Measure D; other Berkeley election news

A still from the Yes on Measure D ad paid for by Michael R Bloomberg. It ran during the 4th game of the World Series
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Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, contributed another $285,000 in support of the Yes on Measure D campaign in the last few days, bringing his total contribution to $370,000. More may be coming, according to Howard Wolfson, his senior aide.

All you need to know about the elections is at Berkeleyside’s Election Hub.

Bloomberg paid $200,000 for television ads, including one that aired during the fourth game of the World Series, according to Wolfson. (Campaign finance statements had not been filed as of press time). A second ad will run on Berkeley cable television through the election, he said. Bloomberg also gave a second $85,000 directly to the Yes on Measure D campaign. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Mark Bulwinkle’s steel artworks

"Quirky Berkeley"
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For more than 40 years, Mark Bulwinkle has lived life on his own terms, doing what he wants to do every day with a unique artistic vision, a welder’s torch, and a Yankee work ethic. His art, especially his cut-steel sculptures, add a genius quirkiness to Berkeley.

Bulwinkle grew up in a house on the Boston Post Road in Weston, Massachusetts. Weston is the wealthiest suburb of Boston and has the highest per capita income in Massachusetts. When Bulwinkle was young, Weston had one of the highest ranked public school systems in Massachusetts.

Next stop for Bulwinkle was the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a BFA in 1968. Pittsburgh impressed Bulwinkle — something about that steel. He describes being in Pittsburgh after a bucolic childhood in Massachusetts as like being on Mars. He then earned a Masters in Fine Arts at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1972, focusing on printmaking. He liked San Francisco. He describes it as appearing to a boy from Weston, Massachusetts as “the thirteenth moon of Pluto.” … Continue reading »

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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

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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?

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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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