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Brainwash building hits market for $4.95 million

Beloved laundromat/cafe closed its doors last year

Photo by Brock Keeling

The commercial building that, until December, housed Brainwash, SoMa’s mainstay laundromat and cafe, went on sale this week asking $4.95 million.

The ad by realtor Ben Durham directly refers to the 8,000-square-foot space at 1122-1126 Folsom as “the Brainwash building,” pitching its classic SoMa elements like “exposed wood ceilings on the ground floor” and “glassed in window line along perimeter” in a fairly terse listing.

It’s no doubt a bitter pill for longtime Brainwash fans and regulars to see the space featured in listing photos, still looking for all the world like it’s ready to open up and serve coming morning. A neighborhood hub since 1989, Brainwash closed suddenly last December.

Eater SF reports:

Last year, [owner Jeff] Zalles revealed the business was in danger of closing due to declining revenue, pointing a finger at nearby housing construction which had put a damper on his business, he claimed. [...] Brainwash will be particularly missed in the San Francisco comedy scene, where its open-mic nights served as a local proving ground for new talent.

Photo courtesy of Ben Durham, HCM

The construction in question is a 100-plus unit housing development immediately next door that covered the cafe in scaffolding for years. The closure was shocking but at the same time not unexpected, with Zalle prophesying the grim news since the previous December.

The original owner meant for Brainwash to be a nightclub but went in for the laundromat format because SoMa had so few laundry facilities. With Brainwash’s closure, only two remain.

It might be too much to hope that the new owner chooses to address the shortage with a future opening. But there’s no law against living in hope.

1122 Folsom last sold in 1988 for $749,000, the equivalent of $1.59 million today.

Photo courtesy of Ben Durham, HCM