Tag Archives: University Avenue

Proposed in Berkeley: 50 units in place of Anh Hong

A developer would like to replace Anh Hong with 50 new housing units. Image: Trachtenberg Architects
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A Dublin-based developer has proposed to replace a downtown Berkeley Vietnamese restaurant with a 7-story building featuring 50 housing units and a 1,500-square-foot ground-floor restaurant.

The building, at 2067 University Ave., would have no car parking, but it would provide parking for 48 bikes, according to preliminary project plans submitted to the city. The project site is located just west of Shattuck Avenue and close to the downtown Berkeley BART station.

Read more about housing in Berkeley.

Project architect David Trachtenberg is representing the property owner, identified only as “2067 University Avenue Apartments,” through the city permitting process.

Use permits would be needed to demolish the existing single-story building, construct the new building, reduce side setbacks and reduce the required parking. The project — scheduled for the consent calendar Thursday night before the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board — would need a use permit to reach its proposed height of nearly 75 feet.

The project seeks to use the state “density bonus” to build to that height, which means below-market-rate units would be included on site. … Continue reading »

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First look: The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley

This fried mozzarella and meatball sandwich was heavy and hearty, just like the real thing. Photo: Alix Wall
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You know when that craving strikes for a meatball sandwich? The kind that is slathered in tomato sauce with sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, topped with a generous hunk of mozzarella? A sandwich that requires multiple napkins to catch all the juice that dribbles down your chin?

The next time that very craving strikes, try something different and head to The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley. Not only will you enjoy the hell out of that sandwich, but you can feel virtuous about the fact that an animal didn’t have to die for it, nor did your sandwich contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. Yep, everything on the menu at The Butcher’s Son is vegan. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police: Berkeley double stabbing was unprovoked

Police were called to the 1000 block of University Avenue, near 10th Street, for a double stabbing early Tuesday. Image: Google Maps
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The 33-year-old Berkeley man arrested after a double stabbing in a University Avenue apartment earlier this week told authorities he “should have killed everyone there,” according to court papers.

Tristan Chaix was arrested at the scene, near University and 10th Street, and charged Thursday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon identified as a knife. He was on probation at the time of the attack for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury following a September 2015 conviction.

According to court papers, Chaix was in a home on University “when unprovoked he went into the kitchen” and got three kitchen knives, then “began to attack the people inside that apartment.”

He stabbed two men before the victims managed “to knock the knives out of his hands,” police wrote. Two of the four people in the apartment were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

“Chaix stated at the scene he should have killed everyone there,” according to police. Victims told police that, had they not been able to disarm Chaix “they would have been murdered.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested after double stabbing in West Berkeley

Police were called to the 1000 block of University Avenue, near 10th Street, for a double stabbing early Tuesday. Image: Google Maps
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A man authorities said appeared to be under the influence of alcohol is reported to have stabbed two acquaintances at a West Berkeley home early Tuesday morning, but they are expected to survive.

Both victims were taken to the hospital with what appeared to be knife wounds. The man was also taken to the hospital for evaluation, authorities said, before he was arrested.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Angela Hawk said the victims’ injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Few details were available due to the early stage of the investigation, but she said it appeared the man and his victims knew each other. His name was not yet available as of about 4 a.m.

Shortly before 1:40 a.m police were called about the stabbing at a second-floor unit in the 1000 block of University Avenue, west of San Pablo Avenue near 10th Street. … Continue reading »

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Critics question impacts of ‘Spenger’s parking lot’ project on Berkeley Fourth Street, Ohlone heritage

A rendering of what 1900 Fourth St. may one day look like. Image: TCA Architects
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Berkeley community and zoning board members had a chance Thursday to weigh in on what the environmental impact report for a large mixed-use project planned for 1900 Fourth St. should focus on.

The “Spenger’s parking lot” project has been in the works for years, with efforts ramping up in 2014 when project reps said they found no evidence at the site of a Native American shellmound created in West Berkeley by the Ohlone Indians.

Members of the public who came to share their views about the project March 10 with the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board said they were not convinced by that assertion. Some said the land where the parking lot is now should be purchased by the city and turned into a park to honor the history and culture of the Ohlone. The property at 1900 Fourth is a city landmark, dating back to 2000, within the potential boundaries of the West Berkeley shellmound. The exact location of the shellmound is unknown and has been a matter of much debate.

Other speakers Thursday questioned the scale of the project, and how it will fit in with the surrounding neighborhood, as well as traffic impacts, air quality and liquefaction. The lot is bordered by Fourth Street, Hearst Avenue, University Avenue and the railroad tracks running east of Interstate 80.

A sprawling complex is planned at 1900 Fourth, across from the historic Spenger’s restaurant, set to reach up to 5 stories, with 135 apartments and a 372-space parking garage open to both residents and the public. The project’s approximately 207,600 square feet are slated to include about 33,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses. The property is owned by Ruegg and Ellsworth, a real estate group that co-owns the parking lot with the Spenger family, which sold its Fresh Fish Grotto years ago. Robert Ellsworth, a Berkeley native, is co-owner of Ruegg and Ellsworth. The developer of the project is BHV CenterStreet Properties based in Danville.

(A video “fly through” of the project, created by the architect and set to music, appears below.) … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Gunfire in South Berkeley, fire on University

Fire in the 1700 block of University. Photo: Kevin Hobbs
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Update, 9:45 p.m. In other breaking news, BART service has stopped in Berkeley due to a person on the tracks between the MacArthur and Ashby stations. A major power outage also hit West Berkeley on Sunday night. Tune in to Berkeleyside’s Facebook page and Twitter for updates. (Accounts are not needed to view the pages.)

Update, 8:38 p.m. Police confirmed that the information that follows is accurate regarding the shooting. No victims have been identified at this time, and no arrests have been made. Said Lt. Alyson Hart, watch commander, “We are still piecing together what may have happened.”

Regarding the fire, eastbound University was closed between Grant Street and Jefferson Avenue as a result of that response. Motorists were advised to find another route.

Original post, 8:15 p.m. First responders have been busy Sunday night despite the wet weather, with gunshots reported in South Berkeley and a structure fire on University Avenue.

Reports about the gunfire are preliminary, as Berkeleyside is waiting for official news from authorities. The fire is under control and at least two people have been displaced. One person was taken to the hospital after the fire for medical care.

According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, police were called in the 2800 block of McGee Avenue, near Oregon and Russell streets, shortly after 6 p.m. for multiple reports of gunfire.

There were numerous calls about at least one male seen with a gun. Witnesses reported several people running away from the block, and police detained at least two people at about 6:10 p.m. and were looking for others who may have been connected. (They were not arrested, BPD said later.) … Continue reading »

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The science of coffee: Algorithm opens in Berkeley

Algorithm Coffee. Photo: Jesse Weiser
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Walking into the new Algorithm Coffee shop is like stepping into an alternate universe. Sleek and minimalist, the space is worlds away from the snarling, honking traffic of University Avenue in West Berkeley. It bears almost no resemblance to its former identity as the eclectic, bohemian Café Yesterday that shuttered late last fall.

Still in place is the long counter near the front door and side bar outfitted with beer and cold brew taps. And Aaron Hubbard, who took over the café in 2014, is still pouring coffee.

But, he says, he is now doing it his way. … Continue reading »

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Tender Greens restaurant headed to Berkeley

A Chinese chicken salad from Tender Greens. Photo: Ellen Lu
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Just like waiting for the proverbial bus, those who have been hungering for good salads in downtown Berkeley will be getting not one, but two healthy eateries at the same time, as we can report that Tender Greens is opening up at 2071 University Ave. (at Shattuck). This follows on the news we reported last year that Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain out of Washington, D.C., that specializes in mostly vegetarian or vegan salads, had taken over the former Oscar’s burger location. Tender Greens is expected to open in Fall 2016.

Tender Greens, a chain with several dozen restaurants in Southern California, and three in the Bay Area — two in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek  — has applied to open in the space formerly occupied by the Chinese restaurant Taiwan, which closed last year after 42 years of operation.

Tender Greens describes itself on its website as “a fine casual eatery that combines our fine dining point of view and hospitality with a casual, quick dining atmosphere. Our restaurants serve fresh, healthy, chef-inspired, farmer’s market sensible dishes at an affordable price in a relaxed environment. By working with small local farmers, ranchers, artisans, boutique wineries, breweries and coffee roasters, we are able to provide the best quality ingredients and products for our guests.” … Continue reading »

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Community

Berkeley pier unlikely to re-open before 2018

The Berkeley pier was shuttered indefinitely on July 22, 2105 after Berkeley officials determined it was structurally unsound. Photo: Dorothy Brown
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It’s going to cost so much to repair Berkeley’s historic fishing pier that the city can’t even afford to study the issue until mid-2017 at the soonest.

That’s according to a brief report released last week by Dee Williams-Ridley, Berkeley’s interim city manager.

Williams-Ridley told the Berkeley City Council in the Feb. 9 memo that the city had hoped to have a consultant “investigate possible methods to repair portions of the pier and the potential costs, but the needed scope and cost associated with the work has escalated beyond the limits” of the approved budget.

Williams told council the analysis itself is likely to cost between $150,000 and $200,000, and said that allocation won’t be considered until the budget cycles for 2017-18 and the following year.

Scroll to the bottom of this story for a brief update from the city.

“The pier is a beloved asset to the entire region, and staff will continue to research grant opportunities with the hope of finding funding to repair the pier,” she wrote. … Continue reading »

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One year mellow at Berkeley’s MeloMelo Kava Bar

MeloMelo Kava Bar. Photo: A.K. Carroll
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I walk through the single glass door of Berkeley’s MeloMelo Kava Bar in the middle of a rainy Friday afternoon. There’s a man in a plaid shirt reading a book on a bright orange couch in the back corner and a woman perched on a bar stool, gazing into an empty coconut shell.

“They’re called bilos,” says part-owner Nicholas (Nico) Rivard from the other side of the polished Monkeypod bar that serves as the focal point of the establishment. His hair is pulled back and he smiles as he pours murky-gray liquid into two shining shells. “That’s what they call coconut shells on the islands.” … Continue reading »

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Troubles mount for Premier Cru as FBI steps in

In December 2011, John Fox was all smiles as he held large scissors to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Premier Cru's new retail store at 1011 University Ave. Photo: Premier Cru
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The troubles of John E. Fox, the co-owner of the high-end wine company, Premier Cru, are mounting.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that it is looking into the company, which filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8 listing assets of $7 million and liabilities of $70 million.

Read more on the Premier Cru story.

“The FBI is investigating claims of a Ponzi scheme involving the Berkeley wine company Premier Cru,” said spokeswoman Michele Ernst. “It appears there is enough evidence that the FBI has determined an investigation is warranted.”

Ernst is asking anyone with complaints, concerns, or tips to email them at a specially created email address, premiercru.complaints@ic.fbi.gov. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Premier Cru paid its tech staffer in wine

Seven customers are suing Premier Cru, a wine retailer at 1011 University Ave., for not delivering wine they had purchases. Photo: Gordon Commercial Realty
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Update 2/6/16: The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into Fox Ortega Enterprises, which owns Premier Cru.

Court documents filed by the bankruptcy trustee on Feb. 5 disclosed that”the FBI is investigating this matter.” Previously, the FBI Had only acknowledged it was taking calls from disgruntled customers.

Original story: As John E. Fox, the co-owner of the embattled wine retailer Premier Cru was struggling with his company’s enormous debt, he asked if he could charge $25,000 on his IT technician’s credit card.

Brian Nishi, a computer expert who had worked for Fox for 20 years, agreed, according to court documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. But when Fox could not repay Nishi, he gave him $25,000 worth of wine instead, according to court documents.

For that reason, the U.S. Trustee for Region 17 is objecting to the hiring of Nishi to help search through a secret computer that Fox may have used to keep track of his debts. Tracey Hope Davis wrote to bankruptcy judge William J. Lafferty that Nishi, who was also Premier Cru’s in-house tech specialist since 2008, had a conflict of interest. … Continue reading »

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Lasher’s Electronics may be forced to close after 56 years

Ellen and Bob Lasher's electronics store was deemed seismically unsafe in 1991. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Al Lasher’s Electronics may be on the brink of closing after 56 years at 1734 University Ave.

The city of Berkeley deemed the building, near McGee Avenue, seismically unsafe in 1991, requiring the owners to retrofit the property by 1997. Lasher’s was one of 587 buildings to receive this mandate under the city’s seismic hazard mitigation program for unreinforced masonry buildings. Twenty-five years later, it is one of eight that remain on the list.

The city issued the owners, siblings Bob and Ellen Lasher, numerous notices and citations over the years. A final 2015 notice, which the Lashers appealed, warned the shop owners of the city’s intent to put a lien of $3,125 — the amount of recent outstanding citations — on the property. At its Dec. 15 meeting, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to halt fees and defer filing the lien, giving the owners 90 days to apply for a building permit for the retrofit and one year to pull the permit.

The Lashers say they are unsure they can afford to retrofit and stay open. They have received bids to do the retrofitting work ranging from $150,000-$300,000, Bob Lasher said. The retrofit would also require Lasher’s to close for at least two months, which would be a blow to business, he added. … Continue reading »

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