KQED reports that musicians at the storied Moss Street Rehearsal Studios at 76 Moss Street in SoMa received 30-day eviction notices on August 13, bringing the space’s three decade-plus reign as San Francisco’s premiere jam spot to a sudden and disquieting close.
According to the site’s Facebook page, Moss Street Studios was “founded by a few musicians and a Grateful Dead roadie [and] has operated since the early 1980s [...] in a turn-of-the-century historic building, which previously was an apple pie factory.”
The city assessor dates the building to 1907. City records indicate that owner Pamela Dubier bought the place in 2008 for just $65,000, although Dubier has not yet confirmed whether that bizarrely low sum could possibly be accurate. On top of previously landlording for bands on the rise, Dubier is a realtor working with Sotheby’s.
[Update: According to tax records Dubier provided, the actual sale was $900,000 in 2007. The version in the city’s online database appears to be an error.]
The Moss Street space was divided into eight available spaces for band use, plus a recording studio. Speaking to KQED, Dubier said that the SF music scene wasn't producing sufficient demand for the space anymore and that it wasn't worth it to keep the nearly 35 year old business rolling, but KQED says that despite alleged vacancies Dubier hasn’t advertised an opening at Moss Street for since 2017.
That appears to be true, with the most recent Facebook listing dating to May of 2017, with “studio C” advertised at $850/month.
Back in 2011, Moss Street kept its doors open by refinancing its real estate debt, according to a press release from TMC, the development company that offered the terms.
At the time Dubier said, “Bands are coming and going from the studio at all hours to rehearse. [...] Our success to keep up with nonconventional hours of operation, and the technical enhancements to our studios are what keep us at pretty much full capacity.”
Dubier has not yet responded to requests for comment on how business has turned down since then. It’s not yet apparent what future plans are for the space.
News of the band evictions comes right on the heels of the announcement that the Tenderloin’s Hemlock Tavern music venue will soon close to make way for condos.
[Update: In an emailed statement, Dubier confirmed that she is “retiring” from the rehearsals game, and said again that despite previously muscular business at Moss Street that demand has dried up.
“I really wish that we’d still have our waiting list for musicians to take spaces, but times in SF have changed for sure,” Dubier writes. “Perhaps [the building] will go to an artisanal chef and return to its origins—an apple pie factory.”]