The owners of the old Sequoia Building site on the corner of Telegraph and Haste last week submitted plans to the city of Berkeley to enable them to reopen Raleigh’s and Café Intermezzo, two restaurant businesses that were gutted by the fire that destroyed the 1916 building on November 18th, 2011. If approved, the plans would also allow them to launch Gabriella’s, a restaurant they owned but had not yet opened on the site, and which also burned down.
The city of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against Ken Sarachan, telling him they intend to seize his lot at the intersection of Telegraph and Haste to pay off the $640,000 he owes in liens and interest.
Two businesses on the site of the demolished Sequoia Building at Haste and Telegraph may re-open, and plans are under way to build a new structure on the site. City officials are hosting a meeting today to discuss the future of the site with its owners, who are known to have retained an architect for a potential new project there.
Telegraph Avenue has been declared a disaster zone in order to provide federal aid to businesses, homeowners and tenants affected by the November 18th fire at The Sequoia Building.
The elevator system in the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street where a fire broke out on the night of November 18th, ultimately destroying the 39-unit building, had not been inspected in over a year and its permit had expired, according to an article in the Berkeley Voice.
The demolition of the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street was temporarily halted after part of an exterior wall on Haste Street accidentally collapsed on Wednesday, causing a violation of the demolition permit. The result is that the building will now be taken down to a lower height than originally planned.
By Wednesday evening, the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street was effectively no more, or at the very least no more than a gigantic heap of debris and rubble.
Investigators for the Berkeley Fire Department say the five-alarm fire that broke out on November 18th at 2441 Haste Street originated in and around the elevator machinery in the basement of the five-story building, and that the fire was accidental in nature.
Demolition began this morning on the Sequoia Building at 2441 Haste Street at the corner of Telegraph Avenue in order to make what remains of the fire-damaged structure safe.
As demolition crews prepared to partially demolish the fire-ravaged building at 2441 Haste Street Monday afternoon, a group of former tenants of the building were planning to meet this evening to discuss securing settlements from the building’s owners and fixing damage from a fire which, they say, could have been prevented.
Update, 5:18pm: Writing in the Berkeley Voice, Doug Oakley reports that the owner of the Sequoia Building will begin tearing it down Monday, but it remains in danger of collapsing and is a public safety problem until that happens, according to city officials.