Tag Archives: West Berkeley

New beer garden, retail planned on Spenger’s block

An artist's rendering of "Fourth & Spenger" at 1901 Fourth St. Image: Abrams/Millikan
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Citing the need to revitalize a business that’s been on the decline for decades, a developer is seeking to make major changes to the West Berkeley block where Spenger’s Fish Grotto has operated since 1933.

Berkeley’s Abrams/Millikan, an architecture and design firm, has big plans for the Fourth Street property, which include the creation of a new beer garden, and the addition of retail shops, office space and parking. The existing restaurant use will remain, but on a smaller scale.

The city’s Design Review Committee took a look at those plans last week, but Abrams/Millkan — working with San Francisco-based Jamestown Properties — held a community meeting in June to provide an overview of the project. According to developers, about 20 people attended, and seven people signed a petition in support of the project, which is called “Fourth & Spenger.” The project was submitted to the city by Elliott Abrams later that month.

Read more about development in Berkeley.

In total, developers plan to add just 10,000 square feet of structure to the property. But some existing buildings on the block are set to be demolished and replaced with new uses, including about 3,500 feet for the beer garden and adjacent patio, nearly 18,000 square feet of new retail shops — on the corners of both Fourth and Fifth streets at Hearst Avenue — and 1,900 square feet for a new fish market next to the restaurant. … Continue reading »

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Catahoula ‘Kaffeegarten’ hits West Berkeley

Catahoula is working on its new West Berkeley location. Photo: Catahoula
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Coffee lovers rejoice: The old Sketch soft serve spot on Berkeley’s Fourth Street is now Catahoula’s Kaffeegarten.

The Richmond-based artisanal roaster is all about “high end coffee at a moderate price,” but takes its mission further: “We are about bringing people together and community. Not the ‘Third Community’ liquid culture of Starbucks, but an authentically local flavor where people from all walks of life… gather.”

Timber Manhart runs the business, and sells signature blends as well as single origin beans. He describes Catahoula as a “no char zone,” meaning roasts meant to draw out flavor are king. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Bayer HealthCare may expand in West Berkeley

Bayer HealthCare. Image: Flad Architects
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Bayer HealthCare won unanimous approval Thursday from the city of Berkeley’s zoning board to make significant changes at its West Berkeley campus, on Grayson Street, to prepare it to manufacture a new generation of the company’s recombinant DNA treatments for hemophilia.

Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander said in May that the new 3-story facility would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to the treatments.

Berkeleyside wrote about the project, at 801 Grayson St., west of Seventh Street, in May. The project was approved as part of the consent calendar before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday evening. … Continue reading »

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Ruby Livingdesign opens on Berkeley’s Fourth Street

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The former Restoration Hardware store on Fourth Street in Berkeley is reopening next week as Ruby Livingdesign, a modern furniture and design store that has three other locations: in San Francisco, Mill Valley and Menlo Park.

The new store will be open Monday, Sept. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. and will serve bubbly all day to celebrate its arrival in Berkeley. It will also have special opening-day deals.

Ruby Livingdesign was founded 10 years ago by Dee Dee and James Littrell. The store stocks high-end lines, such as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Hickory Chair Furniture,and Environment Furniture. It also offers custom furniture design services.

The 6,000-square-foot store has been remodeled to incorporate galleries with complete room vignettes, according to a statement released by the store. The shop will also feature the work of local artists in its room set-ups. The work of Berkeley-based glass artist Erik Eiserling will be on view in the store when it opens. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley mother, daughter charged with physical and financial abuse of elderly relative

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A Berkeley mother and daughter are facing two felony counts in Alameda County Superior Court after authorities say, over the course of three years, they stole from a nearly 80-year-old relative to pay their bills, and almost killed the woman by failing to keep up with her health needs.

Renee Jackson, 54, and her 25-year-old daughter Chanay Jackson were charged last week by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with elder abuse that endangered the health of Erma Jean Jackson, Renee’s mother, and theft and embezzlement from an elder or dependent adult exceeding $950. Authorities said the abuse took place between August 2011 and August 2014.

According to court papers, Renee Jackson, a phone operator, was her mother’s official caregiver, while Chanay was in charge of her grandmother’s finances. Both women had access to Erma Jean’s checking account.

The case initially came to the attention of authorities when Adult Protective Services began to receive reports of physical and financial abuse or neglect, Berkeley Police Detective Alexander McDougall wrote in court documents. As of December 2012, there had been at least five reports involving the family. … Continue reading »

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Woman stabbed on AC Transit bus: ‘What did I do that made you want to murder me?’

A woman was stabbed Monday night on an AC Transit bus like this one. Photo: Paul Sullivan
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This article has been updated to include comments by the father of the alleged assailant.

Update: 8/16 If you want to help Mariah, you can made a donation at a You Fund Me site that has been set up for her. It’s like a personal kickstarter: http://www.gofundme.com/d5bars

Original Story: The woman who was repeatedly stabbed by a man when she was riding an AC Transit bus on San Pablo Avenue on Aug. 11 said she had not even noticed her alleged assailant before he pushed a knife into her eye. But she did spot the man who came to her rescue.

Mariah Elizabeth, 21, of Oakland (Berkeleyside is not using her last name) had gotten on the northbound 72M bus at 40th and San Pablo around 10:00 p.m. or so Monday. She was on her way to the San Pablo Lytton Casino. As she bounded up the steps of the bus, Mariah spotted a young man in his 20s skateboarding across the street. He, too, got on the bus. … Continue reading »

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Vandals target César Chávez memorial, dog park markers

The solar calendar installation at César Chávez Park has been the target of recurring vandalism over the past few months. Photo: Chris Benton
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The solar calendar installation at César Chávez Park in Berkeley is an homage to the famous activist, a peaceful waterfront vantage point and, lately, the target of multiple acts of vandalism.

Repeatedly over the last few months, stones from the installation’s retaining walls have been removed or thrown in nearby bushes, and signs with descriptions of the tribute have been smashed. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Berkeley standoff over; man surrenders

Emergency personnel responded in significant numbers to an incident on Sixt Street and Virginia in West Berkeley today. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, Aug. 11, 4 p.m. Berkeleyside has received some additional information from the Berkeley Police Department about how this call came in. Police said initial reports indicated that the man who refused to come out of the West Berkeley storage facility last week may have been armed with a “long gun,” which Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said generally means some type of rifle.

“We also had reports that the suspect made threats to burn the facility down. After he was detained, he was found in possession of several replica firearms, with the orange safety tip removed, making them appear like real guns,” Coats said via email. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

Coats said no arrests have been made, and that the man who was detained may still be in the hospital.

Update, Aug. 6, 6 p.m. Via the Berkeley Police Department: The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Whether or not criminal charges will be filed remains to be determined, as investigators are still working on the case, said department spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. … Continue reading »

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5-story complex proposed on Grocery Outlet site

Grocery Outlet has occupied the building at 2001 Fourth Street since 1992 and is set to close. If the proposed development is approved, the building will be demolished. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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A mixed-use, five-story complex could be the latest in a sequence of developments to pop up near an industrial area of West Berkeley by the Fourth Street shopping district.

Architect David Trachtenberg, acting on behalf of the Read family, which owns the property 2001 Fourth St., has applied for a use permit for the 71,250-square-foot lot at the current site of discount market Grocery Outlet. If the Zoning Adjustments Board approves the project, the two-story building that houses Grocery Outlet will be demolished to make way for the new development. … Continue reading »

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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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