February 27, 2014

Agents Take Next Step Toward Razing The Elbo Room

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As we first reported last month, the owners of 645 Valencia Street which is currently leased to the Elbo Room have filed preliminary plans to raze the Mission district building and construct a five-story condominium development in its place.

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While some felt our initial report overstated the seriousness of the plans and owners' intentions, our report was actually understated. As we outlined the following week:

A detailed set of architectural plans has been drafted for the project and the building’s owners have authorized the architects to act as their agents in submitting applications for environmental reviews, a historic resource evaluation, variances and Conditional Use. That's every step required to get the project formally approved.
In fact, a month after the Planning Department provided their feedback on the preliminary plans, the application fee for which was nearly $5,000 alone, a follow-up meeting was scheduled between the Planning Department and architects to discuss next steps and plans for submitting the Environmental Evaluation and Historic Resource report for the project to move forward.

While it has yet to be assigned within the Planning Department, the application for Environmental Evaluation has been submitted for the development, a geotechnical report has been completed for the site, and a Historic Resource Evaluation form has been signed with planning for a full Historic Resource Evaluation Report underway.

Once again, while it's possible that the building's owners will abandon their plans at any stage, the extent of work, forward progress and expense to date would suggest that this is more than simply an exploratory exercise, as some have suggested and (been) played.

First Published: February 27, 2014 3:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

One can only hope that with the new music venue they're designing for the ground floor that they'll make it much better than the Elbo Room. As in, great sound, no columns in the way, clean bathrooms and a professional, reasonably priced bar.

Oh wait, it's going to be replaced by another over-priced restaurant with condos overhead? -Sigh-

Posted by: Schlub at February 27, 2014 9:01 PM

Nothing stands still. I'll miss the ER but life goes on.

Posted by: OA at February 27, 2014 9:04 PM

@Schlub
That bar you describe sounds awful, and is equivalent to the overpriced boutique selling high end nose trimmers, or $20 jelly beans, or another small plate tasting course restaurant.

Nothing stands still, maybe it can move somewhere farther south. So it goes

Posted by: Sam at February 28, 2014 7:56 AM

Valencia is long gone. My parents dine on Valencia now.


Posted by: Zig at February 28, 2014 8:25 AM

Ugh. I'd rather see the Elbo Room disappear altogether than attend a show at the club Schlub just described.

Posted by: Fishchum at February 28, 2014 8:29 AM

A bar with welcoming dark corners as any good bar should have, to be replaced by another wide-open glass box. I don't know how to define "soul" but the Elbo Room has more of it than anything that will replace it.

Posted by: James at February 28, 2014 10:34 AM

"That bar you describe sounds awful, and is equivalent to the overpriced boutique selling high end nose trimmers, or $20 jelly beans, or another small plate tasting course restaurant."

Um, ok. Seems like you'll be getting your preferred alternative.

Personally, I'd like to see another good music venue, one that would improve on the Elbo room's music-challenged space. I've played there - it's not fun to do so; I've watched music there; it's not great to see music there.

The sad reality is whatever replaces this building will likely not be having a business that will be hosting music.

Posted by: Schlub at February 28, 2014 10:17 PM

Wasn't the appeal of this neighborhood originally the gritty, edginess of the 'scene.' Now it's Noe moms in barreling SUVs, Teslas, $12 coffee, double-wide strollers and millionaire hipster techies.

Maybe they can relocate the bar to another sub-par venue in a gritty part of the city someplace else? Assuming such a place even exists anymore ... where do the minorities live these days?

Posted by: Jimmy (Not a Real San Franciscan(TM)) at March 1, 2014 8:05 AM

Gritty wasn't the attraction. It was (relatively) cheap housing, drinks, and eats in a central location.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 1, 2014 11:58 AM

There's always the Tenderloin! That's central and relatively cheap!

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at March 1, 2014 12:11 PM

Bring it on over to the excelsior or bayview! We got grit, a mixed population (sans yuppies), and soul.

Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at March 2, 2014 5:56 PM

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