Tag Archives: Michael Caplan

Aduro Biotech leases entire West Berkeley building

Wareham Development has rebuilt a historic building at 740 Heinz Avenue as part of its Aquatic Park Center, an 18-acre biotech campus in West Berkeley.
Photo: Wareham Development
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By Lisa Tsering

A biotech company that did the largest IPO in Berkeley history has leased an entire West Berkeley warehouse and will move its labs and offices there by 2016, helping to bolster the city’s reputation as a world-class life sciences hub.

Aduro Biotech Inc., led by UC Berkeley biochemist Stephen T. Isaacs, specializes in creating drugs designed to strengthen the immune system to fight off cancer. They work on some of the toughest-to-fight tumors, such as pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma.

The company went public in April, raising $119 million in Berkeley’s largest-ever initial public offering. It currently employs around 80 people in a smaller space on Bancroft Way. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Honda hopes to take over Any Mountain space

Berkeley Honda is hoping to take over 2777 Shattuck Ave.,the space now occupied by Any Mountain. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley Honda, which was displaced from its home at 2600 Shattuck Ave. in November, is making plans to move down the street into the building now occupied by Any Mountain, at 2777 Shattuck. Any Mountain has yet to find a new location in the city.

If Berkeley approves the auto dealership’s application, it would end a seven-year odyssey for one of Berkeley’s largest generators of sales tax. The dealership learned in 2008 that it had to leave its home of 40 years on Shattuck Avenue to make way for a mixed-use development called Parker Place. The dealership attempted to move to other locales in Berkeley, only to see them fall through. It is now renting temporary space at 2627 Shattuck Ave.

“It’s going to be Honda’s latest showroom design,” said Tim Beinke, the dealer/operator who owns the business with his father, Steve. “We have a lot of new products coming out. We have plug-in cars and a list of smaller vehicles.” … Continue reading »

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Target to open small city store in downtown Berkeley

Target plans to open a TargetExpress store in downtown Berkeley in March 2015. This is a photo of the first TargetExpress store, which opened in July in Minneapolis. Photo: Target
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Target is coming to town.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is poised to turn a long vacant building at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way into one of its new-concept TargetExpress stores by March 2015. The store will only be 12,000 square feet — compared to the average Target store size of 80,000 square feet — but will sell food, clothing, accessories and consumer electronics that will appeal to students, commuters and downtown’s growing residential population. … Continue reading »

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Is the tech boom putting pressure on Berkeley rents?

Rents have been going up at 1450 Fourth St., a complex of live-work spaces and some tenants believe the tech boom is putting pressure on prices. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Artist Leigh Wells still hasn’t gotten accustomed to the constant noise from the trains that run right behind her West Berkeley live-work space. And she tries not to think about the toxic emissions from the neighboring steel manufacturing plant. In fact, if it weren’t for the affordable rent, and the close-knit artist community at the 1450 Fourth St. complex, she’d never dream of living there.

But when the rent in a unit in Wells’ building went for $300 a month above asking price — and her own rent was given a $450 hike — she quickly realized that times are changing. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s long-shuttered UC Theatre to get new life

A rendering of what the newly renovated UC Theatre could look like. Image:
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For the last seven years David Mayeri has had a dream: to refurbish the old UC Theatre on University Avenue, which has been closed since 2001, and re-open it as a state-of-the art concert venue.

Mayeri, the former chief operating officer of BGP, the successful concert company started by Bill Graham, has come tantalizingly close over the years to pulling off the project. He got city approval to refurbish the 1,400-seat landmarked theater in 2009 and seed money from the now deceased millionaire music lover Warren Hellman. … 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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TCHO Chocolate to move from San Francisco to Berkeley

Tcho SF by Essentialsaltes:CC
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TCHO, the high-end chocolate company founded in 2005, will move its entire production and retail facility from San Francisco’s Pier 17 and an East Bay warehouse to 3100 San Pablo Ave. (just south of Ashby) in southwest Berkeley.

The company has signed a 12-year lease, with an option to grow, for 49,000 square feet in the Marchant Building, part of a 395,000-square-foot property consisting of retail, office, R&D, and light industrial space. The move will begin in April.

TCHO’s recently appointed CEO, Andrew Burke, said the move was prompted by the need for more space as the company is growing fast. “We looked extensively for a long time, but could not find the space we needed in San Francisco. The Marchant Building was the ideal mixed-use space –manufacturing/warehouse/retail/office,” he said. The new location is more than 30% larger than the Pier 17 space, which has been the company’s headquarters for the past nine years. … Continue reading »

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Off The Grid food trucks launch new Berkeley market

Off the Grid debuted on Telegraph Avenue on Thursday evening, attracting large, enthusiastic crowds. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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Food truck organization Off The Grid has confirmed it will start a new Berkeley market on Sunday Feb. 9. As expected, the new location is the North Berkeley BART parking lot, and the market, which will feature 10 or more trucks every week, will be open for dinner on Sundays, from 5:00-8:00p.m.

It will be the second weekly food truck gathering for Berkeley. Off the Grid is also on the south side of the Cal campus, at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street, on Mondays from 5-8 p.m.

Trucks at the Feb. 9 launch will include Koja Kitchen (which recently opened a brick-and-mortar spot on Telegraph Avenue); Kasa India; sliders and fry vendor WhipOut!Liba Falafel (which is slated to open a restaurant in Uptown Oakland this summer); burrito makers Burr-Eatery; and Lexie’s Frozen Custard.Continue reading »

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Berkeley staff aims to grow city’s ‘innovation ecosystem’

Polly Armstrong presents the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce's first Visionary Awards at the Skydeck. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The city of Berkeley has, in recent years, been working to make the community a better place for technological innovation via efforts to fight “brain drain,” make it easier to find office space, and create connections among its more than 300 startups to strengthen the “fabric of the innovation ecosystem,” city staff told council members during a special session last week.

The city is among the top technological and intellectual centers in the country, due to its proximity to institutions such as the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. But it has struggled to keep creatives based within the city limits due to the pull of Silicon Valley, limited room for businesses to grow, an antiquated business permitting process and a lack of connections among startups, said city staff last Tuesday night. Some have even described the atmosphere, previously, as “toxic.” … 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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Wooing larger stores may be key to Telegraph’s success

Student shopping and nightlife needs may play a key role in the future of Telegraph Avenue. Photo: kukkurovaca
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Telegraph Avenue could use more large clothing retailers and a grocery store, along with more options for nightlife and buying household goods, if it hopes to grow financially moving forward, city staff said Tuesday as part of a special work session on the avenue.

Some officials said the city needs to take a proactive approach to marketing properties that become available, and perhaps adjust the city’s permitting process to make it easier to attract larger businesses. Others said landlords might take it upon themselves to lower rents for new businesses, so the burden isn’t only on the city.

“I think we have to go out on dates,” said Councilwoman Linda Maio. “I think we have to identify retailers that we want, that we have a space for. I think we have to introduce them to the mayor. I think we have to wine and dine them and bring them into town. I think we have to show them the campus and the enormous potential here. I don’t think it’s going to serve us well to sit back and wait for somebody to come our way.” … Continue reading »

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Local business

Berkeley a jobs magnet, restaurants, Apple have impact

Fourth Street Apple store. Photo: Patrick Nagel
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Berkeley has lower unemployment rates than the county and the state, and the city remains something of a jobs magnet, according to the first ever quarterly economic development report prepared for tonight’s Council meeting by the city’s economic development department.

The report, which draws together data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey with the city’s own tracking of retail sales tax and other sources, provides a portrait of Berkeley’s economy following the national recession and the slow recovery in recent years.

“Over time, what you’ll get with these reports is a very good overview of what’s going on in Berkeley,” said Michael Caplan, economic development manager for the city. This week’s report will be followed by a workshop focusing on Telegraph Avenue in May, and a second report and second workshop in the second half of the year.  … Continue reading »

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Off The Grid says goodbye to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

Off the Grid
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Off The Grid, the food truck fest that has been a fixture on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto every Wednesday evening since June last year, had its last day in that location yesterday.

The city took the decision to stop hosting the market due to its impact on local brick and mortar businesses and property owners, and also because a reconfiguration of the space it used — at the intersection of Shattuck and Rose — is due to begin next year.

The sudden departure of the hugely popular street food gathering will come as a surprise to the estimated 1,500 people who make a beeline there every week to tuck into on-the-go edibles from the likes of Brass Knuckle, Fiveten Burger, Liba Falafel, and the CupKates Truck. … Continue reading »

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