The building that used to house 99 Cent Depot, at 2205 Mission Street.
The corner of 18th and Mission. Photo by Anrica Deb.

This is old news by today, but in case you missed it: a brewery called Citizen Fox is coming to the long vacant discount store on the corner of 18th and Mission. It’s called Citizen Fox and will fill the huge 18,000 square foot space that has been vacant for years.

Rumors about the space have been in the works for as many years as it’s been vacant. In 2012, we reported that this space would be a grocery store, but this week Inside Scoop did indeed get the scoop when the new venture’s liquor license was posted. Here’s more:

Rich Higgins — a well-regarded local beer guru who has put together lists at places like Schroeder’s, Social Kitchen and Lolina — also seems to be involved as brewmaster, at least based on a blog post on the Citizen Fox website. There, he describes a bit about the beer side of the project:

“I’m stoked about putting together a great brewery that brews fresh, delicious beer, works closely with the restaurant’s kitchen, and contributes to the brewing community … The opening beer menu at Citizen Fox will be influenced by the things I love most about the Mission District — it’s [sic] warmth, liveliness, and vibrancy. The beer will be drinkable and delicious on its own, and will also be great paired with Citizen Fox’s California fare.”

According to San Francisco Magazine’s long piece on Mission Street from earlier this year, one of the backers of this project may be Owen Van Natta, a former Facebook COO.

The building’s buyer, according to sellers tracked down by San Francisco, is former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta. Van Natta was briefly on record as manager of Mission Street Ventures LLC, before being replaced by Tom Van Loben Sels, a Silicon Valley tax consultant who is the agent of the LLC that bought Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto mansion for him. A property deed lists the corporation’s contact as a woman who identifies herself on LinkedIn as the personal assistant for the Van Natta family.

Van Natta has bought four buildings on or near Mission Street in the last year and is set to buy another. Four of the properties are on the block between 18th and 19th Streets, including the 99 Cent Depot, the Christian Science church, and the Bollyhood bar around the corner on 19th—leaving the Beauty Bar and adjoining Little Baobab bar as the only holdouts on the corner. Kaplan says there’s a plan to turn the 99 Cent Depot into a ramen restaurant. The fifth property, currently under construction, is between 21st and 22nd, directly across from the Vida condos. It’s set to become an office space—a tech incubator, some say.

Van Natta’s broker, Bennett Mason, says, “His idea is a cool thing, contributing to the community and doing something that would make his two daughters proud.”

Sounds like plans may have changed since this was published in February, but we’ll keep watching for the Fox’s arrival.

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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

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    1. Don’t worry, Becca, the beautiful people drinking craft beer there will all be owners of million dollar condos.

  1. It’s unfortunate that so many of these new businesses revolve around alcohol since the Mission already has a problem with chronic inebriates.

      1. You’re missing the point. There are already too many alcoholic centric establishments in this neighborhood. You can already go handle your few drinks to your hearts desire literally on every commercial block. There are also multiple AA meetings … And many down and out people drinking, not to mention the masses pilgrimaging here to get their drink on ‘in the hood’.

        We desperately need more grocery stores, small businesses serving the community, things to do for kids and youth. And where do people wash their clothes these days? Laundromats are losing leases left and right. UNfortunately these are the types of businesses that struggle these days, while the expensive alcohol flows freely thanks to support from misguided capitalists like you.

        1. Grocery stores? Isn’t Duc Loi right across the street? In any event, I don’t think the “chronic inebriates” Godzuki is concerned about will be drinking at this place.

          1. Agreed. The problem B2TB is having is that he wants to micro-manage what businesses operate in the Mission.

            The neighborhood can and will support another bar in a way that it won’t support another low-margin business like a produce store. There are two WholeFoods within a reasonable walk, and dozens of corner stores.

            While laundromats are going because more people have in-home washer/driers which are far more convenient anyway.

            Unlike B2TB, I’m not in the business of telling other people what businesses they can have and cannot have. I prefer to let the customers decide.

            And in fact there is only one other brewpub in the Mission as far as I know, so the market is hardly saturated.

  2. In ONE year, ONE rich dude buys five buildings in same area, desperately “contributing to the community” so his TWO daughters can be proud of him? Business venturing in an working-class neighborhood beating out all competition is heroic indeed. Go daddy! Now buy me that porsche.

    1. Ana, you don’t like going out to eat or drink?

      You think leaving a building abandoned for two years is better than a new business with jobs?

      You think “working class” means that failure is glorious but success is bad?

      Why don’t you write a feature article on great Mission buildings that lie vacant and unused because that is so much more noble than taking risks and seeking to build success?