A downtown fire in Berkeley last weekend damaged a city-designated “structure of merit” at 2111-13 University Ave.
As the photos above, from 1948, and below, from 1946, show, the building (built in in 1911) was once the Varsity Market.
“I’m very glad there are no reported injuries and the fire appeared to be controlled before it spread too extensively on this extremely important historic block,” said Berkeley Voice columnist Steven Finacom of the Berkeley Historical Society and the Berkeley Architectural Association. “As a historic preservationist, I’m concerned that the damaged building not be demolished as a result of this fire. The City of Berkeley has approved a plan to renovate this building and other structures on the block, with restored historic commercial facades, and new apartments built behind. It’s extremely important that this facade be retained and incorporated into that project.”
Finacom provided the photos of the weekend fire below, as well as the information on the building from the historical designation of the Acheson block.
UPDATE: From Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association:
2111-2113 University Avenue is not a designated Structure of Merit. This erroneous information, cited by consultant Frederic Knapp in his Historic Outline for the Acheson Block (June 1910), was gleaned from a City of Berkeley document, the Downtown Berkeley Design Guidelines, Appendix, List of Landmark and Significant Buildings, 1994.
Here is the complete list of designated Structures of Merit:http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/structures-of-merit.html