Tag Archives: West Berkeley

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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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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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

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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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