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The Old Avalon Ballroom May Be Next The Real World House

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Word hit the street that the 29th (and maybe final) season of the hot mess that is MTV's The Real World will be returning to San Francisco next year. Thanks to SFist, we've now learned that the debaucherous crew will stop being polite and start getting real at 1244 Sutter Street, smack in the middle of Polk Gulch. Their new house will inevitably be remodeled into some ridiculous party pad, but we thought we'd take a look into its own reality-show-worthy history.

1244 Sutter Street (or 1268 Sutter, depending on your entrance) was constructed in 1911, and designed by local architect Alfred Henry Jacobs. Originally housing a dance school, it eventually served as the galleries of Butterfield & Butterfield auction house for many years.
In 1966, Robert Cohen and Family Dog Productions founded the Avalon Theater at the location. Founded by Chet Helms, Family Dog put on and promoted concerts throughout the 1960s and were known for their psychedelic promotional posters and handbills. Originally Family Dog promoted concerts at The Fillmore, alternating weekends with Bill Graham, but a series of fights between the two (which many think were faked to generate free publicity) caused Helms to permanently relocated to the old dance hall at 1244 Sutter. The Avalon Ballroom hosted bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, The Doors, Steve Miller Band, 13th Floor Elevators, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

[Photos via Family Dog]

Eventually the venue lost its lease in 1968, and the building was converted into the Regency 2 movie theaters. It remained a move theater until 2001, and was later used as the offices for fabric design company American Pacific Linens. Internet company Wantful.com moved in around 2012, occupying and renovating the entire former ballroom space and mezzanine.

[Photos via Polatnick Properties]



They were looking to share the space with other tenants, but it seems that didn't work out since the entire building is listed on the property management site as available for lease.
SFist tracked down some permitting information, making it look like the space is being built out for bathrooms and a kitchen, plus electrical wiring for cameras. No word yet on when the new cast will move in, but we're sure they'll be hard to miss.
· Is This Polk Street Pad The Next 'Real World' House? [SFist]
· 1244 Sutter Street [Polatnick Properties]
· The Avalon Ballroom [Family Dog]
· Now playing at old Avalon Ballroom: Internet startup [SF Business Times]
· Alfred Henry Jacobs papers [Magnes]
· Van Ness Area Plan [SF Planning]