Union Square Gallery Owner Will Open in the Mission

Weinstein's new gallery will be in the building next to the New Mission theater.

Weinstein's new gallery will be in the building next to the New Mission theater.

 

If everything goes according to plan, the owner of the well-known Weinstein Gallery, famous for its 20th Century offerings of work from Picasso, Chagall and Calder, will soon also be in business back in the Mission District.

The location at 2548 # 2 Mission St.  – next to the 114-unit Vida condominium project and the New Mission theater – is directly behind his parents old business, now the San Francisco Buddhist Center.

The 1926 building has 6,000 square feet of open space on the bottom floor and will feature theater, dance and fine art, said Rowland Weinstein, who moved back to the Mission more than two years ago.

The Mission location will be a “multi-cultural space” where young local artists can show their work, Weinstein said. The Weinstein Galley will remain on Union Square.

“It very much feels like coming back home,” he said. “To me at this stage, I want to do it in my community for me that was a big part – I want to migrate into the city of San Francisco and particularly the Mission District — for me this is the best fit.

Weinstein fondly recalls his time at the theater program at Mission High School — his alma mater — and the import and exports business his parents owned on Bartlett Street decades ago.

Both Weinstein and Collen Meharry, the current owner of the Mission Street building declined to name the price as the deal has not yet been closed. It is listed with the Urban Group Real Estate for $4 million.

“To some degree there has been a lot of arts that have been pushed out of the Mission District,” he said. “The big driving factor is to provide a venue which will always be about arts but also to encourage artist to continue to come back to the Mission. Hopefully it encourages other galleries other organizations to continue to stay.”

That has been a problem that Weinstein is all too familiar with. At least three art galleries in Union Square, where the Weinstein gallery currently resides, have lost their leases as landlords are looking to cash in on the hot demand from tech and other companies.

He says that the Weinstein Gallery at 383 Geary Street, which he leases, will remain there for the foreseeable future. The gallery on Union Square became national news in the summer of 2011 when Mark Lugo, later sentenced to 16 months in jail, walked into the gallery and stole Picasso’s Tête de Femme sketch.

The sketch was recovered.

In the Mission, Weinstein had to fend of some of the same suitors competing for space on Union Square. Meharry said she received many offers from tech companies that wanted to make the Mission their home.

In the end, she gave Weinstein the hometown discount by rejecting an offer from a restaurateur who was offering $400,000 more than the current price, she said.

“I turned an offer down because I didn’t feel that is the best group for that block,” said Meharry who also owns the building where the Foreign Cinema is located. “I just felt like having a nice gallery would be far better for people on the streets and tenants for them to come here.”

The development of the Mission block, between 21st and 22nd streets, which hosts Foreign Cinema and will soon feature the Alamo Drafthouse movie house at the New Mission Theater and the Vida project, was part of the appeal, Weinstein said.

For Meharry, who owns a real estate company, this was the best possible outcome.   After $2 million and four years of developing the property into a restaurant on the bottom and office space on the top floor, Meharry decided to sell and put the property on the market at the beginning of the year.

Both parties were happy with the outcome.

“The mission district is always where I want to do it,” said Weinstain. “I didn’t look elsewhere when the building was brought to my attention it was so perfect to what I wanted to do.”

28 Comments

  1. Ben

    It’s not the art that’s leaving, it’s the artists. The Mission will be like Soho in no time. This is better than another fancy restaurant though, for sure.

    Hopefully the tech money people will finally start buying art. Last I saw on this site, the only support for the arts from tech was some super lame bus-painting contest for some pathetically low amount of money.

    • California Gril

      This is wonderful news not only for San Francisco but also for the art community.

      I love your statement John about SF being the “capital of bad art”… really? As a fulltime artist who has leased a studio in the Mission for many many years I am here to let you know that there are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing artists working in this city. The sad thing for you is that you are probably not privy to all that goes on. We are day and night dug in painting and creating so you don’t see it. The Mission is thriving from my perspective.

      And Ben, stop worrying so much about what someone does for a living. As disclosure am annoyed most days by those pesky little young techies… the good news is that they will grow up. I am grateful for the seasoned techies as they are creative (in a very different way) and do value art… and do buy my art, they buy my colleagues art, they do contribute to the arts. But, hey this forum is not going to even get close to reporting that side of it.

      I am so grateful for living in this city where there really are so many artists and such a tight supportive community.

      Am I nervous about loosing my studio? Always. Art will survive.

      • @John

        One’s occupation has very little bearing on one’s emotional level of growth. Your generalizing attack on all artist’s is absurd and really just shows how little respect you have for art and culture in the first place.

      • I agree that there is still great art going on in the Mission and I think it’s awesome you’ve managed to make a full time living out of it. But a lot of good artists have been forced out of the area by raising rents and I feel many artistic communities have suffered as a result.

        Again, I’m glad this isn’t the case for you, and I love and fully agree with your ending statement. Art will survive.

      • John

        Being an artist means a low probability of, say, being able to support a family in San Francisco. Being a professional means a high probability of supporting a family in San Francisco.

        So someone might love to be an artist but instead feel a responsibility to become an accountant, banker or tech worker.

        Being an artist might be more fun, interesting or personally rewarding, but it is the more mature thing to do to instead consider the other people you are responsible for.

        For some people, following their dream of being an artist might be a reality, either because they are one of the few who can make a good living out of it, or because their partner or spouse can carry them financially.

        But for most, I would argue that the professional route shows more emotional maturity and selflessness.

        I have no problem if someone genuinely wants to be an artist, writer or musician, even if that is borne out of self-indulgence. But I do think it involve either privilege or sacrificing taking accountability for others, which many would regard as the hallmark of maturity.

      • two beers

        I suppose you consider rent-collecting a professional activity?

      • John

        The provision and management of housing services is a profession, and there are professional qualifications and certification for those who do it on a large scale.

        Even more so in a jurisdiction with complex regulations applying to it. Which is why you are seeing small landlords quitting the business, and larger and more professional property managers filling the gap.

        Calling it “rent collection” is pejorative and you are better than that, or should be. Given that housing is a vital need in this city, those who risk capital to provide it should be honored. You don’t want to imagine the alternative.

      • marcos

        Why not change the subject and answer a different question? The collection of rents is not a profession, it is the parasitical behavior of leeches.

      • John

        The renting of anything is a valid form of exchange of value. Not everyone can afford a Mission district condo like white male tech workers such as yourself. And for those less privileged than people like you, the provision of rental housing is vital.

        I recall you discussing that you might relocate away from SF and would then rent out your condo. I guess you have aspirations to parasitical leechdom yourself.

        The only thing worse than people renting out homes is people deciding not to rent out homes.

    • two beers

      Your chosen livelihood is universally disparaged. Don’t flatter yourself that you “provide housing.” You do no such thing.

      All you do is collect fees on an asset that you assumed ownership of, but which someone else created. You add no social utility. To the contrary, like the rest of the financial sector, you are a net social drain on actual productive activity, a black hole of EXTRACTION and WASTE. that is in direct opposition to productivity.

      All you are is a glorified tax collector (no insult meant to tax collectors, who actually do perform a necessary social function).

      • marcos

        No less an authority than the father of capitalism, Adam Smith himself, inveighed against rentiers.

      • John

        Then Adam Smith would have been delighted to support the Ellis Act which helps reduce the number of rentiers and renters in the city, helping to ease this scourge.

      • marcos

        Yes, because traditional capitalists would prefer to see capital deployed towards productive uses.

      • John

        Capital goes where the returns are greatest for a given level of risk. Those who cannot afford to buy a home in SF better hope that the risk-reward profile of providing homes for rent in SF remains worthwhile, or they will have nowhere to live.

      • two beers

        You’re a fraud and a phony.

        There is no “risk” when the asset you commandeer is implicitly guaranteed by the Federal Reserve. That cost of that guarantee is the exact cause of the local tech/RE bubble, AND the cause if the nationwide recession/depression.

        I was wrong about your being a glorified tax collector,.

        What you are is a glorified (and self-entitled) welfare queen.

      • marcos

        How many people over the past decades never would have moved to San Francisco because it was too expensive? When I moved out here 25 years ago, it was a tremendous risk as there were no guarantees that I’d last here.

        Adam Smith would have supported a tax on rents that would cut profit down to a reasonable rate of return such as 8%, not to actually collect the tax, but to direct investment towards economically productive purposes.

      • pete

        Do you hate your landlord?

      • marcos

        We don’t have a lord, religious or land. The last guy we rented from was awesome, no rent increases for 10 years, all bills paid and we got hefty relocation compensation because he had the forsight to sell to a nonprofit that used City affordable housing funds to build their inpatient drug treatment center. We got a condo and the short-sightedness of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and CCHO by spending affordable housing dollars on drug treatment instead of housing cops, teachers and firefighters soured the voters on all subsequent affordable housing measures until the surrender with the trust fund.

  2. California Gril

    Not getting into one of your pissing matches… really. But LOL at your comment. Please read what I wrote. I did not say anyone “should” grow-up. I said they “will”. I can see that you are thinking that us artists should get “a real job”? Well btw.. I am a homeowner in SF, I pay taxes and much to my horror, am a grown-up. Still laughing at your post.

  3. Kudos to Collen Meharry for having the integrity to turn down a larger offer and instead making her decision based on what would actually enhance the neighborhood.

  4. erika lopez

    california girl, don’t mind “john.” there’s no point to defending yourself with him because there are zillions of bitchy bitter comments from “john.” you can’t match his free time, so don’t even try. “john’s” just lonely and cranky. the internet is what makes “john” come alive. “john’s” funny because i think he’s the kind of lonely sad guy the internet comment spaces bring out from under the rocks. he probably only goes out to visit children’s cancer wards to kick the bald ones and call them dead beats when no one’s looking.

    you’ve gotta just smile and i tend to avoid comments now, anyhow. but this was an interesting story.

    happy easter, “john.” now don’t go celebrating by pouring salt on slugs. be nice today. it’s okay. we won’t tell. write someone a compliment. agree. feel empathy.

    don’t be such a cxnt all the time. this is san fran fxcking cisco and you’re still here and it’s BEAUTIFUL outside.

    –erika lopez
    still in the mission for now
    (but i quit art. it’s all self indulgent tourist crap now anyhow. artists have become whores. but the rent’s so damn high. i get it. and the fighters are dead and gone.)

    see, john? i can totally out-bitch you any day. i’m puerto rican for a start. from there just tap out, love.
    (smile)

  5. Ben

    What’s this nonsense about professionalism vs art? Like any other practice, art has it’s professionals as well as it’s non-professionals. I know many artists who make more money than their more traditional counterparts. Personally, I own my house in the Mission – I’m a professional – a professional artist.

    My point in response to John above is that there’s seems to be a prevailing attitude that artists don’t make work that has value. This is pervasive especially in the tech community, and their “free economy” new age principals, that are consequently proving to be quite hypocritical given the enormous wealth they’ve absorbed from our culture.

    Perhaps this new gallery can help change that perception.

    • Ben

      John, many “professionals” have other jobs to help pay their bills as they make their way in their careers. Especially in real estate; but one could name any number of your other professional hierarchies, even lawyers. The idea that the successful is a small minority is no different than any field.

      Meanwhile, the redressing of the idea of “the arts” is coming fast and furious to this part of the city. Let’s hope this gallery pays some sensitivity to the situation.

  6. marcos

    Mission Street never left the map.

  7. Frank

    $4 Million to buy a building for an arts venue? That’s very generous.

  8. SF Resident

    Very, very happy to hear that this gallery will be moving in. Welcome to the neighborhood!
    I’m planning to move back into my building there when I’m older, and the hood is a bit cleaner.

    @ John, I pretty much agree w/ you on housing: it is a service! If renters don’t want to rent then they should save and buy, or move somewhere more affordable.

    When I moved to SF 15yrs ago my rent was more than 1/2 of my take home pay for a studio. For those who think it’s impossible to buy – It is possible, but this is a destination City and if you don’t want to work hard then there are others who do, especially immigrants. I’m one, and I’m very grateful to be here.

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