For those who might not recall, there's an ongoing saga in Berkeley over a vacant lot on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street that's a major eyesore and home to quite a large rat infestation, which is a serious bummer for the neighboring Telegraph Avenue shops and the nearby UC Berkeley campus. The lot's owner, Ken Sarachan, owns several other businesses on Telegraph Avenue, including Rasputin Records, Blondie's Pizza and the old Cody's Books building. So, why does Sarachan not take care of or develop what's considered to be a prime piece of real estate tail? Sarachan says it's because Berkeley regulations and quota restrictions made it too burdensome to develop, but word on the street is that he's keeping it ugly and filthy because it's directly across the street from Rasputin's main competition: Amoeba Records.
In September of last year the City Council voted unanimously to file for "non judicial foreclosure" on the lot. That meant that Sarachan had to either pay off liens on the property or the site gets sent to auction.
The latest develop comes via Berkeleyside, which informs us that Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against Sarachan, telling him they intend to seize his lot to pay off the $640,00 he owes in liens and interest. "The city is alleging that Mr. Sarachan has not lived up to his agreement to pursue development of the site in a diligent and timely manner," said Zach Cowan, the city attorney. "As a result, we want to recover the liens we offered to waive if he did so." Godspeed, Berkeley.
· Unwanted Neighbors [Curbed SF]
· City to consider suing owner of blighted Telegraph Ave. lot [Berkeleyside]
· Ordinance Would Seek Upkeep for Vacant Lots [The Daily Californian]
· Berkeley Inches Closer to Laying the Smack Down on Ken Sarachan [Curbed SF]
· Berkeley files suit against owner of blighted Telegraph lot [Berkeleyside]
[Photo via CalEJ.org]