Rumors about the demise of the Elbo Room have been swirling for more than a year. The owners of the building at 647 Valencia Street in the Mission announced official plans last November to build nine condos on the site, including one that they could move into themselves. Throughout all of the speculation, Elbo Room owners Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu claimed that the bar was there to stay, but now they have posted a letter to their Facebook page announcing that their lease is up in November and that they will be looking for a new space for the Elbo Room.
In their Facebook post, Shapiro and Cantu say that they are "in shock" that their lease is ending despite the fact that a Preliminary Project Assessment for condos on the site was submitted way back in 2013. They also note that the property's owners, Dennis Ring and Susan Rokinsky-Ring, recently had a meeting with "the powers that be" and that the Rings feel confident that the condo project will become reality.
The Rings are the founders of the Elbo Room but sold the business to Shapiro and Cantu back in 2010. They have lived in the Mission for more than 40 years and currently live a few blocks away, but they say they are concerned that their house will have too many stairs for them to climb as they grow older, and have said that their motivation for turning the Elbo Room into condos is to have a place to live in with an elevator. Plans for the site from architects Kerman Morris show a five-story, nine-unit building with room for commercial space on the ground floor and a roof deck up top.
Neighbors have already shown their dismay for the plans and have talked about trying to block the owners' plans on the grounds that the existing location has cultural significance (it was once landmark lesbian bar Amelia's). But with the Elbo Room now moving out no matter what, it is looking more and more likely that the site is headed for something new.
· The Mission's Elbo Room to Be Demo'd for Condos? Or Not? [Curbed SF]
· Elbo Room [Facebook]
· Elbo Room to Close, Make Way for Condos [SFGate]
· Yes It's True: The Elbo Room Is On Its Way to Becoming Condos [Curbed SF]
· Elbo Rumor [Curbed SF]