Tag Archives: University Avenue

Crime

Woman pepper-sprayed by would-be robber in Berkeley

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A man who tried to rob a woman in Berkeley, after they arranged online to meet in a downtown parking garage, pepper-sprayed her Sunday before fleeing the scene, authorities report.

UCPD said the attempted robbery took place at about 1:30 p.m. in the parking garage at 1995 University Ave., between Bonita Avenue and Milvia Street. The building also houses UC Extension.

The woman had just met the man online and they had then arranged to meet in person, according to UCPD.

When they met in the garage, however, the man tried to rob the woman.

“The victim resisted and the suspect sprayed her with pepper spray,” according to a statement from UCPD. “The victim screamed and the suspect fled the scene.”

The man was last seen by witnesses running on Berkeley Way westbound.  … Continue reading »

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Premier Cru owner used coffee shop as hook-up HQ

John Fox, left, at the counter of a Fourth Street store with a young woman. Fox, who admitted to spending $900K to meet women online, drew attention because he showed up so often.
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John Fox, the corrupt owner of wine retailer Premier Cru, didn’t travel far when he spent $900,000 of embezzled funds on women he met online.

The lanky 66-year-old with fading red hair used to meet scantily dressed 20-year-olds at least two or three times a week at Artís Coffee on Berkeley’s Fourth Street, less than a five-minute drive from his offices at 1011 University Ave., according to observers.

Fox met the young women so frequently that workers in the neighborhood took note. Some of them even started to snap photos of Fox with various dates because they were curious how a middle-aged man connected with so many young women who looked 40 years younger than him.

“He picked up girls literally a couple times a week,” said one worker, who asked that his name not be used. “They were always really young. You never saw him with the same girl twice.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man charged after aluminum bat attack in Berkeley

Zuber Awad. Photo: ACSO
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A homeless man charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon after an attack with an aluminum baseball bat in West Berkeley in July is scheduled to appear in court to be sentenced Wednesday.

According to court papers, Zuber Awad, 26, was with another man’s girlfriend at University Avenue and West Frontage Road on July 1 when angry words were exchanged.

Police say Awad then hit the other man with an aluminum baseball bat causing an injury that required eight stitches.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, Awad was identified to police as a homeless camper in the area who was known to wear a diving weight around his neck.

Police arrested Awad the day after the baseball bat assault at about 10:10 a.m. at Cedar and Second streets in West Berkeley. According to police, he was on probation at the time of his arrest for battery causing serious bodily injury.

According to police, Awad said he did hit the man but that he did so with his closed fist, not the bat. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley to build 10-story hotel at University, Oxford

UC Berkeley is in negotiations with a developer to construct a hotel on University Avenue and Oxford Street. Photo: UC Berkeley
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UC Berkeley is negotiating with a developer to construct a 200-room, 10-story hotel on the northwest corner of University Avenue and Oxford Street.

The university issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project in 2015 and received seven responses, according to Christine Shaff, the communications director for UC’s Real Estate Division. The university narrowed that down to a finalist, with whom it is negotiating, she said. Shaff declined to release the name of the development group.

Cal wants a developer to build a single structure that abuts University and Oxford, stands 115 feet high and has about 200 rooms, according to the RFP. The university has requested the structure be an “upscale, full service or select-service hotel” with a public lobby, dining facility, meeting space and recreational space. The design and inclusion of those elements would depend, of course, on the design the development group comes up with, according to the documents. … Continue reading »

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Grocery Outlet to close Aug. 20; housing planned

The Berkeley Grocery Outlet is closing Aug. 20 to make way for housing. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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It’s the end of an era in West Berkeley with Grocery Outlet closing later this month to make way for about 150 new housing units.

Grocery Outlet told Berkeleyside that its final day open in Berkeley, at 2001 Fourth St., will be Saturday, Aug. 20. That followed an email blast from the company to customers alerting them of the closure.

“We’re Sad to Go,” the email read. “It is with heavy hearts that we prepare to leave our Berkeley location. Please take advantage of our Liquidation Sale.”

Shoppers who visit the store now will find 20% sales in many departments.

“Thank you for being our customers in Berkeley. We’ll be opening more Bay Area locations soon,” the brief message reads.

One employee who said she was not authorized to speak with the media said store staff would be transferred to other locations. Berkeleyside has reached out to Grocery Outlet for confirmation.

Shoppers said Wednesday that they were sorry to see the store close. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Fire calls: Blaze at Berkeley dry cleaner causes $100K in damage; man rescued from water at marina

Authorities responded to a fire at Martinizing Dry Cleaning early Tuesday. Photo: Ky Le
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A burglar alarm at a dry cleaner in Berkeley brought authorities to investigate what turned out to be a fire inside the University Avenue shop earlier this week.

The fire, at Martinizing Dry Cleaning, 1319 University, caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to the Berkeley Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said police were dispatched at 12:24 a.m. Tuesday for a motion sensor that had been triggered on the burglar alarm.

When police arrived, they found a fire burning inside the business, which is about three blocks east of San Pablo Avenue. The call was upgraded to a fire incident at 12:27 a.m. BFD was dispatched at 12:29 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man charged after chase, stolen van crash in Berkeley

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An Oakland man has been charged with felony car theft and reckless driving during a police chase into Berkeley earlier this month.

Alonzo Choyce, 30, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Choyce was driving a 2016 Ford van at 23rd and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland around 11 p.m. July 12 when officers tried to stop him for a traffic violation.

Officer Sean Wilkenfeld of the Oakland-area CHP office said Choyce immediately began trying to flee from police, who initiated a pursuit.

After pursuing the Ford for a few blocks, officers discontinued their pursuit due to the suspect’s reckless driving,” he said. “However, other officers spotted the vehicle heading towards the freeway on West Grand and Frontage in Oakland and were able to re-initiate pursuit.”Continue reading »

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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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