Tag Archives: Lorin District

$750K grant may bring big changes to South Berkeley

The Adeline Street planning project is picking up steam. Image: Google maps
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The city of Berkeley is hoping to dramatically rethink many elements of South Berkeley, thanks to a $750,000 planning grant it received from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in May.

South Shattuck Avenue and nearly 1 mile of Adeline Street in South Berkeley might see more affordable housing, pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods, more park areas, a new theater, mass transit improvements, and more.

Those are just some of the ideas that have been proposed so far. Before any plan is adopted, officials will hold community meetings and do other outreach to gather ideas from residents, businesses and local groups and institutions. The grant will also permit Berkeley to do an environmental study, the city said earlier this year. (That study would “allow streamlined CEQA review for future projects on Adeline and south Shattuck Avenue,” according to project materials.) … Continue reading »

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Domino’s wins approval to open in South Berkeley

A simulation of the façade planned for a Domino's Pizza shop that's coming to Adeline Street in South Berkeley. Image: Acute Consulting
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A new Domino’s Pizza shop promising artisan options and a place for customers to watch pizzas being crafted won approval Tuesday night from the Berkeley City Council to open in South Berkeley after a lengthy battle with some of its neighbors.

Owners of the family-run pizza franchise have been trying to open at 3264 Adeline St. since late 2013, but have faced multiple appeals by opponents. City staff initially approved the application in January, but it was appealed by Houshmand Ghaderi, who owns The Vault Cafe, nearby at 3250 Adeline.

Ghaderi took issue with a parking waiver granted by the city to Domino’s and said he didn’t think the corporate chain would be a good fit with the neighborhood, which has been on the upswing in recent years.

The city Zoning Adjustments Board approved the Domino’s application unanimously in April, but Ghaderi again appealed. His appeal was rejected by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley woman sprayed by liquid, struck, robbed

Image: Google Maps
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A woman walking in South Berkeley near Malcolm X Elementary School on Saturday night was assaulted and robbed, police said Monday, after being sprayed with an unknown liquid.

The woman was walking at 9:45 p.m. near Prince and Ellis streets, not far from the Ashby BART station, when two people approached her, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, in response to a request from Berkeleyside.

The woman, a Berkeley resident, looked down momentarily and was “sprayed by a liquid,” which Coats said was “most likely pepper spray. ” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley kicks off Adeline corridor improvements push

New district banners, 6/6, Ashby and Adeline
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Coming up later this year, the city of Berkeley has pledged to focus some of its resources on the Adeline Street corridor in South Berkeley to address chronic problems and try to capitalize on the momentum of improvements already underway.

Last weekend, city staff and officials held a public meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center to begin to brainstorm with local residents and merchants what some of the local priorities are.

Mayor Tom Bates, Councilman Max Anderson and city manager Christine Daniel were in attendance, along with nearly 10 other city staffers, and more than 30 members of the public, said Charles Burress from the mayor’s office. … Continue reading »

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Sacramento Street clean-up efforts continue in Berkeley

A photo simulation of Creekwood, a new restaurant in development on Sacramento Street. Image: The Kastrop Group, Inc.
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A push to clean up and improve Sacramento Street, driven by Berkeley city staff as well as local residents and merchants, continues to gain momentum.

Last week, staff from the city’s Office of Economic Development met with community members to provide an update about public safety, commercial growth and beautification efforts that are part of the city’s plan to address some of the neighborhood’s chronic problems. … Continue reading »

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Easy Creole: Fun, über-casual Cajun joint in Berkeley

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Despite the fact that the Ming’s Chinese Food sign still hangs proudly above the small storefront on the corner of Alcatraz and Martin Luther King, it’s clear that the restaurant is no longer selling stir-fries. Instead of take-out menus and lucky fish tanks, there’s now an array of Mardi Gras beads and hot sauce bottles lining the windowsill. A precociously dressed mannequin stands watch at the door. And several sandwich board signs line the sidewalks up and down the block directing passers-by to the one and only Easy Creole, the über casual restaurant that has been serving informal Louisiana cuisine in the former Ming’s space since last spring. … Continue reading »

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Crime

South Berkeley robberies on the rise near Ashby BART

There have been at least 14 reported robberies around the Ashby BART station in the past 60 days, with several others also in the vicinity. At least seven of the robberies near the BART station involved firearms. Image: CrimeMapping
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Armed robbers have been targeting the South Berkeley neighborhood east of the Ashby BART station in recent months, with a spike in robbery reports since mid-November.

Over the past 60 days, there have been at least 28 robberies reported in the area between Adeline Street and Telegraph Avenue — between Ashby and Alcatraz avenues — in South Berkeley and North Oakland. (That number includes several reports just outside those borders.)

From mid-July to mid-September, there were six reports in that area, according to crime statistics posted online by local police agencies. During the next two months there were seven robberies reported in the vicinity. Most of those incidents, from both periods, took place in Berkeley. Then, from mid-November through mid-January, there were 15 reports, split nearly equally between Berkeley and Oakland. At least eight of those involved firearms. (One of those incidents happened Tuesday and does not yet appear as part of the available data set.)  … Continue reading »

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Police join forces on Berkeley-Oakland robbery series

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Berkeley Police Department has started a joint patrol with BART Police and is collaborating with the Oakland Police Department to investigate a rash of armed robberies involving stolen cars that have been concentrated within a few blocks of each other on the North Oakland-South Berkeley border near Ashby BART station.

Berkeley Police believe three robberies that happened in Berkeley may be related, based on the similar descriptions of the suspects, the modus operandi and the location of the crimes, and they are working with OPD to determine if any of several North Oakland robberies connect to the Berkeley ones. “We are sharing information to determine any possible connections and are following leads as they develop,” said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

Because of the proximity of the crimes to Ashby BART station, Berkeley Police started to partner with a BART officer focusing on crime prevention in the area, “similar to its program with UCPD regarding robbery suppression patrol,” they said. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Sacramento Street corridor on the rise

Berkeley city staff are taking aim at a South Berkeley neighborhood that has struggled economically in recent years by teaming up with residents, as well as business and property owners, to make improvements hoped to make a difference in the near-term along Sacramento Street.

Last week, some 30 people attended a meeting at San Pablo Park to review possible changes and collect community feedback for efforts that are underway. Among attendees were the city’s director of public works, Andrew Clough; director of parks and recreation, Scott Ferris; public works engineer Ahsan Kazmi; Jim Hynes, assistant to the city manager; and Berkeley Police Capt. Erik Upson.

(One attendee, Zach Franklin, created the video above to tell the stories behind several local businesses and institutions around Sacramento Street and Ashby Avenue.) … Continue reading »

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Duo to open Creekwood restaurant in South Berkeley

A photo simulation of Creekwood, a new restaurant in development on Sacramento Street. Image: The Kastrop Group, Inc.
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Two lifelong friends have teamed up to renovate a former bike shop in South Berkeley to create a new neighborhood restaurant in an area that’s undergone a revival this year.

Creekwood Café & Catering — still at least six months from opening — is the brainchild of Greg Poulios and Mark Louie. Both are 44-year-old California natives who met as pre-school students in Oakland. They stayed friends through high school and college, then later worked at the same restaurant in San Francisco. Their lives continued to be interwoven in the decades since.

“We’ve always talked about doing something of our own,” said Poulios. “We were looking around and we finally found the spot.” … Continue reading »

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Black Panther son opening Rasa Caffe in Berkeley

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Rasa Sun Mott is hesitant to say he’s opening a café because the universe aligned to make it so. It sounds too hokey, or too Berkeley, he says. But he admits it does feel that way, saying “It just feels right,” repeating it for emphasis.

Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, just concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign that helped him raise enough funds to help him open Rasa Caffe, on Adeline Ave., near Ashby BART. The café is scheduled to open in a month.

“If you would have told me two weeks ago that I would raise $10,000 in five days I would never have believed it,” he said. “It pushed me out of my comfort zone to do this, but at the same time, it was such a natural process to have my concept come to life.”

Mott is the son of educator Ericka Huggins and James Mott, a singer in the Black Panther group the Lumpen. They never married, and Mott was raised by his mother, in a home with activists like Huey Newton and Angela Davis always around the house. In the 70s, Huggins founded the Oakland Community School in East Oakland, a school that not only fed its students, said Mott, but clothed them and sent their parents home with groceries.

Along with her activism, Huggins was interested in yoga and meditation, which affected young Mott as well. At age 12, he declared he wanted to go to India, and he went with a guardian to live in an ashram, without his mother. He returned there again to live when he was 16. … Continue reading »

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Calling all artists: Chances to make your mark in Berkeley

Artist Misako Miki designed this utility box at Durant and Shattuck avenues. Photo: Streets Alive!
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Two local organizations have put out separate calls seeking artists to participate in projects underway in collaboration with the city of Berkeley.

One of the projects, with a focus on sprucing up utility boxes, is spearheaded by the Earth Island Institute’s Streets Alive! effort, and the other comes from Expressions, a local art gallery that’s organizing a January 2014 show about homelessness.

Brighten the streetscape

Streets Alive! is looking for local artists to design six utility boxes in South Berkeley — on Sacramento and Adeline streets — and on Telegraph Avenue near UC Berkeley.

The call for artists outlines thematic suggestions for each box, along with its proposed general location: Sacramento Street (sustainability); Adeline Street in the Lorin District (arts and theatre; the farmers market; food and eats; and diverse cultures); and Telegraph Avenue (“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow on Telegraph Avenue”).

Streets Alive! welcomes artists “of most art mediums,” including painters, photographers, mixed-media artists and graphic designers. Artists are asked to submit three to five work samples and complete an application. Portfolios will be accepted, via email or postmarked, through Nov. 15.

Any artist from Alameda County is eligible, though “strong preference” will be given to Berkeley-based artists. Artists whose designs are selected will receive a stipend of $300 to $400 for the creation of a final design; all rights of use and ownership will be turned over to the city of Berkeley and the Earth Island Institute in the end. … Continue reading »

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Nano-brewpub and lounge planned for Alcatraz Ave.

The architect's design for the front facade of a yet-to-be-named nano-brewery planned for Alcatraz Avenue. Image: Edward Ogosta Architecture, Inc.
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A new nano-brewpub in the Lorin District recently won approval from Berkeley’s zoning commissioners, and looks poised to join the ranks of Berkeley’s burgeoning beer scene later this year.

Owner Viet Vu, who lives in San Francisco with his wife, said he’s aiming to open the spot, at 1763 Alcatraz Ave., within seven months. Vu, 37, said the atmosphere will be intimate and laid-back, with several kinds of house-brewed beer for sale along with 10-13 other local craft beers to drink on-site. Wine and light snacks will be available, but distilled alcohol will not be served.

(Update, March 29: The restaurant will be called Hoi Polloi Brewpub, and owner Viet Vu told us the background: “I always liked the idea of the 99% so to speak. I always liked the idea of: This is who we all are, this mass of people. I grew up in a working-class background, and the name kind of represents that.”) … Continue reading »

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