November 21, 2008

Tough Times For The Fledgling Fillmore Jazz District's Rebirth

"Thus far, four nightlife establishments that received funding from the [San Francisco Redevelopment Agency] — Yoshi’s, 1300 On Fillmore, Sheba Lounge and Rassales — have all approached the agency looking for additional loans and to restructure debt to survive what may be a prolonged economic recession. All four businesses are seeing revenues 10 percent to 20 percent below projections, according to the memo."

Fillmore businesses ask redevelopment agency for loans [San Francisco Business Times]

First Published: November 21, 2008 12:30 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

It's really not surprising. The redevelopment of this area has been terrible. Someone plowed the victorians under and filled the Fillmore with sterile, low-rise, stucco schlock. If I wanted to hang out in a mall, I'd head south on 101.

A tragic end for what was once a vibrant and diverse neighborhood. Justin Herman's vision is complete. I hope we've learned our lesson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillmore_district

Posted by: Sb at November 21, 2008 1:10 PM

Another case of developers doing what's right...for themselves...under the guise of doing what's right for the neighborhood. I don't think this conflict of interest is accounted for in the bidding process.

Posted by: EH at November 21, 2008 1:25 PM

Wow.....I was at Yoshi's last Friday for night for dinner and the place was pretty crowded.

Posted by: Fishchum at November 21, 2008 1:30 PM

1300 and Yoshi's just need to lower their dinner prices. Both are good...but way too expensive.

Posted by: Yo at November 21, 2008 1:31 PM

Yoshi's and 1300 should swap space and sublease from each other. As noted in the following thread, sublease space is MUCH cheaper than the initial rent, and so the lower rent they would pay to sublease would enable them to each save a LOT on their rent.

With the money they each save by subleasing instead of renting, they can then buy 835 Forrester in the thread after that one, and build a bar-b-que pit in the back yard cliff, and increase their menu items, thereby making even more money. They can sell any excess inventory at the run down Safeway nearby, that any realtor selling real estate in the area will tell you is not really that bad.

If they use an Alt-A loan for the purchase, as described in the thread after that one, they can avoid any repayment, thereby saving even more money.

And therefore, they won't need a bailout from the Town Agency of RedeveloPment, or TARP, that is the subject of this thread, and many threads below.

Posted by: tipster at November 21, 2008 3:00 PM

... and I've always thought that providing free wifi during happy hour was a GREAT idea.

Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 21, 2008 3:04 PM

The lower Fillmore will always be a trouble spot. Has been for the last 40 years, nothing will change in the next 40 years.

Posted by: Daniel at November 21, 2008 3:38 PM

Not with that attitude it won't.

Posted by: EH at November 21, 2008 4:00 PM

There needs to be a mixture of day to day retail shops, restaurants, cafes, and banks and not just a number of huge jazz clubs for the area to thrive. You need to make it worthwhile for the area residents to get out of their cars and their homes.

Maybe the area will look up after Japantown reconfigures their mall and the whole area becomes a safer walkable neighborhood.

Posted by: Live Smart at November 21, 2008 4:04 PM

I think the redevelopment of Japantown has the potential to make a great endcap to Upper Fillmore. I don't think it will do much for the area south of Geary. Sad to say...but that area is just awful even with the new building.

Posted by: CameronRex at November 21, 2008 4:41 PM

After Yoshi's there aren't enough Jazz fans to support these places

This is public planning at its worst

It would have been better to let the market to turn this into what it wanted which is mostly Korean and Japanese businesses and stop trying to create artificial "districts" centered on the past

Posted by: zig at November 21, 2008 5:00 PM

The neighborhood is underbilt, unused spaced, poor planning -- could have another 10,000 owners there, if the police block, PGE half-block, McDonalds, and the whole lost Geary/Fillmore intersection were reconsidered. There's no urban buzz without people, housing, and shops -- and a reason to be there. A few restaurants and jazz doesn't a neighborhood....Reinventing the govt housing, as mixed-income higher density would also go a long way to bringing back a needed population.
Huge potential here, but only if don't under build.
Even upper Fillmore has lots of turnover -- we simply don't have the critical mass to sustain many businesses @ these rents.

The SOM tower issue & the low-rise cautious J-Town proposals suggest change is not soon.

IMO.

Posted by: invented at November 21, 2008 5:29 PM

Hip hop, trip hop, track, and MCs have all but buried jazz. Everything about this venue needs to be modernized starting with the music and including all the elements that make a place a destination. The need is for people with vision to lead this.

Posted by: Mole Man at November 21, 2008 5:30 PM

Oh, boo hoo. These clubs got sweetheart deals and now have their hands out again. The city shouldn't be bailing out private businesses that opened without a realistic business plan. They'll only be back crying for more money next year. If the jazz district isn't working, pull the plug. Let the market decide which of the clubs will survive.

Subsidizing this makes about as much sense as trying to re-open that vaudeville theatre on Divisadero. There aren't enough people interested in spending the night listening to music in a club to keep all these places open. They will never be able to compete with the entertainment choices that people have in their own homes.

Posted by: bgelldawg at November 21, 2008 5:34 PM

tipster - actually, the Safeway down the street from 1300 and Yoshi's has been remodeled and is much nicer than before. And no, I am not a real estate agent.

Posted by: ChinaNobDweller at November 21, 2008 5:55 PM

Sometimes if you build it, they DON'T come...

Posted by: JohnK at November 21, 2008 6:31 PM

How about the property owners within the Fillmore Jazz Community Benefit District (CBD - do you think they got their money's worth for their increased property taxes? I think the assessment was about $.30 per sf for 5 years and of course many enjoy their low Prop 13 basis - so the burden wasn't too bad. But is this another example of how taxation and legislation do not lead to prosperity?

Posted by: FSBO at November 21, 2008 6:35 PM

I lived at Fillmore and O'Farrell for 6 years, my husband and I were actually some of the first tenants at the Fillmore Center in 1989. The area actually looks a lot better to me, but realistically, not too many people currently in SF are going to remember a 15 year period of history from WWII to the 60's. The 'Fillmore' they are trying to recreate only lasted from about '43 to the early sixties. Maybe the city should just let this become a 21st century neighborhood.

Posted by: Portalheights at November 21, 2008 7:52 PM

So it's come to this: spending tax dollars to bail out night clubs?

Posted by: pteddy at November 23, 2008 1:05 PM

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