The rising retail rents of the Mission can make even a multi billion dollar international chain store balk. Citing a hike in their rent, the large T-Mobile store at the corner of 20th and Mission is moving into a smaller, presumably cheaper, locale down the block.
In moving to a new location T-Mobile will go from a 3,000 square foot corner space to a 1,100 square foot one, which is in the same building as the former El Capitan Theater, on Mission between 20th and 19th Streets.
“They’re basically downsizing,” said Javier Solarzano, a paid expeditor for the mobile phone brand. He said that the new store will offer the same services and have the same number of employees as the existing one, but in a space a third of the size.
Solarzano wouldn’t comment on how much the rent increased, nor would the franchise’s owner David Massry return requests for an interview.
When reached for comment, T-Mobile’s current landlord was unaware that the store had plans to move to a new location down the street.
“It’s funny that you (Mission Local) know they’re moving and I don’t,” said Stefano Casalino, an employee of longtime San Francisco developer Edward Litke who owns the large property at 20th and Mission.
This May, the cellphone chain filed a request with the Planning Commission to operate a formula retail business (aka a chain store) at the former location of shuttered discount store Gold Star Imports at 2369 Mission Street—less than 100 feet from its spacious location at the corner of 20th and Mission.
The request to operate a chain store comes less than a year after the cellphone company got approval to operate its large corner store on Mission Street. The store itself had been open for four years without Planning Department approval, and finally got approval after a planner noticed that it has slipped through the Planning Department’s reach.
With T-Mobile moving, a prominent corner faces a looming vacancy with a large footprint. Casalino said he had no new tenants in mind at this point, but “it goes without saying, if [T-Mobile] moves, I’m going to try to find another tenant.”
The Planning Commission votes whether or not to allow the chain store to operate at this new location on Thursday, August 14. Given that they approved the formula retail use in October, with a Metro PCS across the street and another T-Mobile at Valencia and 17th, the new T-Mobile is likely to get approval once more.
According to planning documents, the new store will make minimal changes to the existing storefront at 2369 Mission. Solarzano says that once the Planning Commission approves the chain store use, T-Mobile will get going with its short, though significant, move.
Update: On August 14, the Planning Commission approved the conditional use request for T-Mobile’s new location. There was no public comment nor did the project sponsor appear before the commission.
Note: We got onto this story thanks to a community contributor who sent in a photo of the chain store notice here. You can send in other photos or tips to missionlocal@gmail or you can upload photos directly here. Thank you to our intrepid community contributor.
See below for the T-Mobile newest conditional use authorization request to operate a chain store on Mission Street: