Everyone's crossing their fingers that the current building boom will help alleviate the completely insane rent situation in SF—but it may come at the cost of many of the city's best nightlife venues. A Chron feature reveals that Latin dance club Cafe Cocomo (in the Dogpatch) and EDM club The Sound Factory (on Rincon Hill) will both close in the next few months to make room for condo developments, and Bottom of the Hill and The Independent are both getting neighboring condo buildings that could spell trouble for the venues.
The battles between owners of high-end apartments and their noisy music-venue neighbors has been going on since the late '90s, when a noise-hating 11th Street resident successfully battled to make Slim's add extra soundproofing, at a cost to the club of over $250K. Subsequent NIMBYs have taken aim at Brick & Mortar Music Hall (which put in $50K of additional soundproofing to appease neighbors) and The Chapel (where a resident of an adjacent million-dollar condo built after the club will likely force additional soundproofing costs as well).
Given this dismal and expensive track record, Bottom of the Hill is justifiably concerned about the 395-unit building headed to an old Cor-o-van storage center across the street, as well as two smaller buildings planned for neighboring Missouri Street. "It seems like development is a train coming down the track," BOTH co-owner Tim Benetti told the Chron. "We will do our best to negotiate survival, but if it's too big and comes too fast, I don't know how we are going to negotiate that." The company behind the big new condo building claims they plan to take the club into account when soundproofing their project, but an acoustical consultant says developers don't usually do more than required when it comes to soundproofing new buildings, and that even the best soundproofing won't help with the street noise of the often inebriated patrons spilling out of clubs.
Meanwhile, over on Divis, The Independent is facing its own condo gauntlet, with buildings on either side of the venue slated to become nine-unit residential complexes. "We are very much aware of the fact that residential development has the potential to disrupt the way that we operate," one of the club's bookers told the Chron. And we haven't even made mention of Valencia's Elbo Room, which continues to be mired in a will-they-or-won't-they situation of potential demolition and condo conversion. If the residential development boom continues, the next few years could be pretty rough for the dwindling crop of local nightspots.