by Rachel Swan
A couple weeks ago we wrote about a rat-infested, weed-choked, quarter-century old vacant lot on the corner of Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue, smack in the middle of a prominent but struggling retail node. As we reported, the Berkeley City Council recently began foreclosure proceedings against its owner, Ken Sarachan, who also owns Rasputin Records, Blondie's Pizza, and the empty building that used to house Cody's Books. The property's future is now a matter of dispute. Sarachan, who owes the city $641,000 in liens, wants to fight the foreclosure process. His nearest neighbor, Amoeba Music owner Marc Weinstein, wants to build low-income housing there, in a building that would hold an Amoeba satellite store on its ground floor. Local developer Patrick Kennedy has designs on the place if it goes up for auction. And, as Berkeleyside reported today, UC Berkeley architecture students drafted their own series of utopian models under the guidance of Professor Darell Fields. Among their proposals: an urban ecology center, an anarchist publishing house and "public" discourse space, and a place for "wandering and playing," inspired by a Sixties-era revolutionary movement in France.