By the looks of it, Gus Murad, one of the neighborhood’s most polarizing movers and shakers, has left the building.
Several buildings, in fact — all on Mission, between 21st and 22nd.
Value Giant is the process of being sold for $4.5 million, according to one realtor. Elements Hostel and Medjool Bar were recently listed for a combined $7.1 million.
And the New Mission Theater, where Murad once envisioned condos and entertainment? On sale for $2 million. Maybe already taken.
“We’re talking to a very hot group from New York on coming in to the New Mission Theater,” says realtor Colleen Meharry. “I’m not allowed to discuss this right now, but if I’m able to pull this off, this will be the biggest thing I’ve ever done. Because it’s historic, you have to keep everything original. From the balcony to the urinals.”
But Murad had his own plans for the New Mission Theater. Why pull up stakes now?
For reasons as much personal as financial. “He’s so angry at the city for blocking those condos that he wanted to build on top of Value Giant. He’s resigned from the Small Business Commission. He resigned from the Business Improvement District. He’s got a new baby.”
“Look,” says Meharry, “Murad is one of my dearest friends. But you can’t pin him down. He’s like a moving target.”
Murad was not your typical Mission landlord. He was appointed to the Small Business Commission by then-mayor Gavin Newsom. He not only had a spokesperson, but that spokesperson, PJ Johnston, just happened to be the president of the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Johnston did not respond to e-mail requests for an interview with Murad.
Over the last few years, Murad’s holdings in the Mission were investigated with a vigor that some thought unusual for such a politically well-connected figure. When Murad was investigated for failing to file paperwork that proved that he was renting out the nine rooms in Elements that were slated for long-term tenants, Johnston described the investigation as “unusual” and “curious.”
“It sure seems like Gus is being singled out all of a sudden,” he said. “Nothing has changed on our end, but it all of a sudden appears to be a problem in some quarters.”
The 2500 block of Mission Street is an interesting case — a business improvement district of exactly one block, where owners of multiple properties, like Murad, loom large.
The district intends to be nicer — much nicer — than the rest of Mission Street. It successfully petitioned the Board of Supervisors this summer to raise the property taxes for everyone on the block, in order to pay for extra security cameras and floral arrangements.
According to Meharry, the block’s future is equal to that of Mission Street’s old days as the “Miracle Mile.” Meharry herself is in the process of putting in a nightclub on the block that is, in her words, much bigger than Foreign Cinema.
And then there’s the matter of the New Mission Theater
“Let me tell you,” she says. “you think the Mission’s hot right now, but if this deal goes through, the Mission is going to explode.”