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.”