Earlier this year, rumors swirled that the beloved Mission bar the Elbo Room could be on its way to becoming condos. At the time, Elbo Room responded with a post on their Facebook page that declared, "Not Going Anywhere, Anytime Soon." It looks like the Elbo Room is, in fact, fated to go condo and that the people behind the plan are the bar's founders, who sold the bar business back in 2010 but still own the building. The owners, Dennis Ring and Susan Rokisky-Ring, have been in the Mission for more than 40 years and live a few blocks away. At a community meeting last week, which Mission Local reported on, they explained that their current house has too many stairs and that they want to build the condos to ensure they have a building with an elevator where they can live as they age.
The building now housing the Elbo Room would be demolished, according to a Preliminary Project Assessment filed in 2013. Early plans for the Valencia Street building by architects Kerman Morris show a five-story, nine-unit building with room for commercial space on the ground floor and a roof deck on top.
At last week's community meeting, the Rings promised to help the Elbo Room relocate somewhere within the Mission, but audience members remained skeptical. The Elbo Room won't be going anywhere until at least the end of 2015, when its lease ends.
The condo project will also have a rash of approvals to obtain before breaking ground, so the timeline could stretch out even longer. One of the biggest issues is the spot's history as lesbian bar Amelia's; the bar could be declared a historical resource because of its cultural history. Even if the city decides to allow the development to go ahead, the condos are guaranteed to be plagued with controversy from unhappy neighbors.
· The Mission's Elbo Room to be Demo'd for Condos? Or Not? [Curbed SF]
· Elbo Room's Possible Fate? A Retirement Pad for Bar's Past Owners [Mission Local]
· Preliminary Project Assessment — 645-647 Valencia Street (PDF) [SF Planning]