Tag Archives: West Berkeley

Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel sold to equity firm

Pacific Steel Casting Plant. Photo: Michael Layefsky
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West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel Casting, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, is slated to be sold to a private equity firm for $11.3 million, according to the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review.

Monday, a judge in Oakland approved the offer from Speyside Equity to purchase the steel parts manufacturing plant. A Pacific Steel spokeswoman told Berkeleyside on Thursday that there had been no other offers.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage regarding Pacific Steel.

Pacific Steel attorney Julie Rome-Banks said in court papers that the company employs 410 people, Dow Jones reported. The company was up for auction earlier this month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oakland.Continue reading »

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In Berkeley: Vegan, gluten-free Sanctuary Bistro

The Jones Horton Clan, of Sanctuary Bistro in Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Cehn
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Calling all vegan and/or gluten-free residents of Berkeley (that’s at least half the city, no?) a new restaurant is opening just for you. Not a place with a few vegan and gluten-free options on the menu, no. A sit-down restaurant where vegan and gluten-free diners can choose anything on the menu without having to ask what’s in it.

Sanctuary Bistro is its name, and it’s opening Friday, Aug. 1. The restaurant is at 1019 Camelia St. in West Berkeley, in the space that held Sushi Banzai for over 20 years. It’s also not far from a spate of development happening on Gilman Street in expectation of the Whole Foods Market under construction between Ninth and 10th streets.

A husband and wife are behind Sanctuary Bistro, Barry Horton and Jennifer Jones Horton. (They have two small children as well, but they won’t be helping out much in the kitchen.) The pair has run Local Love Vegan Catering for the past five years. … Continue reading »

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Homeless move to railroad tracks after Gilman ‘clean-up’

Gilman homeless railroad encampment. Photo: Citizen reporter
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Homeless individuals — many relocating from Albany or other parts of West Berkeley — have set up camp along the train tracks south of Gilman Street in recent weeks.

Although a few people have lived near the tracks for years, the population expanded after the residents at the Albany Bulb were evicted in May, neighbors say. Several new encampments have appeared following a city of Berkeley clean-up of the Gilman/1-80 underpass on July 18, which caused the homeless living there to disperse. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Asphalt: New technology will reduce odors

Berkeley Asphalt plant on Virginia St. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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Berkeley Asphalt plans to invest in a new manufacturing process designed to reduce emissions and odors in its West Berkeley neighborhood starting in January, officials announced recently.

Its neighbors have complained about the noise, odors, and pollution from the plant for at least 20 years, most recently in June when a group questioned whether the plant has been violating its use permit with excess odors and noise.

What the company has decided to do is convert to a new technology called “warm-mix” asphalt, which produces paving material at a lower temperature than traditional asphalt, yet performs as well on the road and releases fewer pollutants into the air, according to company officials. The decision was the result of negotiations between the company and city staff that began last year.

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West Berkeley Philz Coffee: Now officially open

West Berkeley Philz on Gilman Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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West Berkeley’s Gilman Street commercial corridor is getting busy, with Whole Foods Market set to open in November, and a new Philz Coffee outlet officially opening today, July 29.

Philz, at 1313 Ninth St., held a soft opening celebration Monday, and gave away free cookies and coffee to attendees from noon to 4 p.m. It’s the second Philz location in Berkeley, joining the Shattuck Avenue Philz in the Gourmet Ghetto, which opened in 2010.

Philz founder Phil Jaber was in attendance Monday, along with his son, Philz CEO Jacob Jaber, and many other members of the Philz team. Dozens of friends, supporters and other community members stopped by for a sip and a bite, and to check out the new shop throughout the afternoon. … Continue reading »

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Development may come to Spenger’s lot in Berkeley

Archeologists from Archeo-Tek, Inc. of Oakland excavated a site at 1900 Fourth St. in the winter of 2014 to look for evidence of the Berkeley shellmound's existence. Photo: Archeo-Tek, Inc.
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After months of poking, prodding, sifting and examining soil, an archeological dig beneath the parking lot across from Spenger’s restaurant on Fourth Street found no evidence it had ever been home to a Native American shellmound.

The findings that the site was not historically important means the owners will seek to develop it.

“Investigators found no historically significant remnants of the West Berkeley Shellmound within the parking lot grounds and have concluded to near certainty that none exist within the property,” says a report on the findings by archeologist Allen Pastron and his team from Archeo-Tec Inc., an Oakland-based firm. The dig team included an Ohlone Indian observer, Andrew Galvan. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: West Berkeley Whole Foods to open Nov. 4

An architectural rendering for the West Berkeley Whole Foods. Image: Field Paoli
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Whole Foods Market has announced the opening date for its new West Berkeley location on Gilman Street.

The 47,800-square-foot complex is scheduled to open on Gilman at 10th Street on Nov. 4, the company said Tuesday.

It’s the second Whole Foods location in Berkeley, and the 41st in the region. The company’s other Berkeley store is at Telegraph and Ashby avenues.

Read more about the new Gilman shopping district on Berkeleyside.

In addition to the 31,000-square-foot grocery store, the complex is slated to include a 1,666-square foot coffee roastery and 2,000 square feet of retail offices on site, according to project documents submitted earlier this year.

The grocery store, at 1025 Gilman, is expected to bring 180 to 200 new jobs to the area, said Jen Monaco, store team leader. … Continue reading »

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Rodents, trash prompt city of Berkeley clean-up of homeless camp on Gilman; residents ‘scattered’

Police officers visit the homeless camp on Gilman Street in West Berkeley daily to provide outreach for residents. Photo: Drew Jaffe
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Citing concerns about garbage and rodents, both dead and alive, the city of Berkeley sent in a team to clean up Gilman Street beneath Interstate 80 where homeless people have been living in recent months, city staff said Friday.

At least one advocate for the homeless criticized the effort, saying no one was told in advance about the operation, which dispersed residents and will make it harder to provide important services to them, he said.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Friday shortly before noon that the operation to address ongoing sanitation problems on Gilman under the freeway had gone smoothly. He estimated that perhaps a dozen people were on site when the city arrived Friday morning. … Continue reading »

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New affordable housing project headed for Berkeley

This proposed four-story building on San Pablo Avenue, to include 23 units, would be built with money from Berkeley's Housing Trust Fund. Image: HKIT Architects
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A vacant lot in West Berkeley is slated to become an affordable housing complex aimed mostly at people with disabilities after a unanimous vote by the city zoning board last week.

Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA), a Berkeley-based non-profit housing developer, sought permission from the board July 10 to modify a use permit originally granted to a different property owner in 2007.

SAHA representative Jonathan Astmann told the Zoning Adjustments Board that the project at 2748 San Pablo Ave. (at Grayson Street) would provide 17 rentals for people with disabilities, including three for families with a member who has HIV/AIDS. The project had been approved previously as condominiums.

Read more local real estate and development coverage on Berkeleyside.

The four-story project would have 23 units, unchanged in number from the earlier permit, but requested a reduction in parking spaces — from 27 to 13 — to fit the needs of residents. Astmann said SAHA property residents tend to own fewer vehicles. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley pair faces felony identity theft charges

Image via Facebook.
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A Berkeley couple facing seven felony counts related to identity theft allegations is set to appear in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.

Berkeley police arrested Albert Thomas and Juanita Roles at their southwest Berkeley apartment in the 1200 block of Haskell Street earlier this month after a search warrant turned up identity theft materials, illegal drugs, more than $2,000 in cash and more.

According to court papers, police served the search warrant July 2 at the couple’s home.

The search turned up fake credit cards and checks, at least one stolen check, a card embosser and card encoder, blank card stock and blank check stock, according to court papers.

Police also found crack cocaine packaged for sale, packaging materials, a digital scale and $2,575 in cash. … Continue reading »

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City of Berkeley gives Gilman Street homeless a reprieve

Police officers visit the homeless camp on Gilman Street in West Berkeley daily to provide outreach for residents. Photo: Drew Jaffe
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The city of Berkeley, which had planned to remove the personal possessions of the homeless living on Gilman Street under Interstate 80 on July 15, has backed off its insistence that the homeless encampment is a public nuisance.

City Manager Christine Daniel sent out a memo July 9 saying the city is terminating its public nuisance determination. Berkeley just learned that the East Bay Community Law Center is working with city agencies to find temporary housing for the Gilman homeless. The city wants to give everyone more time to find new arrangements, Daniel said.

Daniel emphasized, however, that the encampment is posing a health hazard and the city’s patience is limited. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Stolen car seen in Berkeley, driver arrested after chase

CHP chase. Photo: Oakland CHP
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A Berkeley man spotted driving a stolen car on the freeway near Gilman Street was arrested Tuesday morning after leading authorities on a high-speed chase, authorities said.

Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, Oakland-area California Highway Patrol spokesman, said 38-year-old Felix Blas was spotted driving a stolen Acura on eastbound Interstate 80 near Gilman Street at 9:05 a.m.

Blas fled in the Acura, which had been reported stolen out of San Pablo, said Wilkenfeld, and a CHP officer pursued him.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s soft scoop spot Sketch to close for good

Sketch soft serve cacao nib ice cream with olive oil and sea salt. Photo: lelseyk
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It’s the end of the road for Sketch. The popular soft-serve ice cream shop on Berkeley’s Fourth Street will close its doors for good on Sunday, July 6.

Eric Shelton, co-owner of the store with his wife Ruthie Planar-Shelton, said the reason is purely personal. “It’s a decision we have made as a family,” he said. “We don’t want to sacrifice more time spent with our daughter and any other kids we may have down the road.”

The couple, who both have a fine dining culinary background, opened the current store, their second, at 2080 Fourth St. in the Fourth & U complex two years ago. They opened the original Sketch two blocks north of their current location, also on Fourth Street, in 2004 when Planar-Shelton was pregnant with their daughter Audrey. That store, with its vintage cart outside, was open for five years before the pair closed it in 2009, citing similar reasons to the ones they expressed this week: a desire to put family first. At the time, the store was one of the first small-batch, organic ice cream purveyors in the area. … Continue reading »

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