Cafe Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar & Grill may reopen after a new building proposal was submitted last week, well over a year since a fire destroyed the two eateries.
The proposal, submitted by building owner Kenneth Ent and designed by Kahn Design Associates, involves constructing a building of nearly 44,000 square feet, which will house Raleigh’s Bar & Grill, Cafe Intermezzo and 42 apartment units at 2441 Haste St., according to the application.
“What we’re really hoping for is the revitalization of Telegraph and making it one of the go-to places for everyone in the community that would like to go and enjoy what it has to offer,” said Charles Kahn, principal of Kahn Design Associates. “It’s an attempt to create a new, fresh feeling on the street. It’s a 21st-century building.”
For Al Geyer, owner of Telegraph business Annapurna and chair of the Telegraph Merchants Association, the new building plan is welcome news for business.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “We’re happy to see (the process) is being started. The retail restaurant and bar are really missed on Telegraph.”
In November 2011, a fire broke out in the five-story apartment building, and the two restaurants were destroyed. The apartment building was demolished in subsequent months after it was deemed structurally unsound and at risk of collapse.
“Our whole design is made so those two can come back, and I’m so excited about it,” said Gregory Ent, owner of the two restaurants and son of the building owner.
The proposed four-story U-shaped building, similar to the previous structure, will be centered around a courtyard.
Still, Daniella Thompson, a member of the board of directors of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, said she was disappointed by the new design’s failure to incorporate the historical elements of the previous building.
“It’s yet another cookie-cutter apartment building that we see popping up everywhere,” Thompson said. “To me, it looks like a Rubik’s cube. The old one had bricks and mosaics. It was unique, and it was the only building in town that looked that way.”
According to Pamela Embry, spokesperson for the city manager’s office, the city is currently reviewing the application. Once the application is reviewed and analyzed, it will be presented to the Design Review Committee and the Zoning Adjustments Board.
After the applicants obtain the required permits from the Zoning Adjustments Board, submit building plans and obtain the building permit, construction can begin.
“It’ll make a huge really positive statement,” the younger Ent said. “This is a big moment.”