UPDATE: 

Pagani USA’s corporate headquarters  moved into 461 Valencia St earlier this year, but its executives will “probably” be driving off soon, according to a corporate spokesperson who asked not to be identified by name.

The city, he said, wants renovations to the space that mean expenses  “higher than we want to incur.”

The luxury automaker will “probably move to a location where we would not need to do any type of renovation,” the spokesperson said.

The automaker’s San Francisco dealership will remain British Motor Car Distributors at 999 Van Ness, he said adding that the carmaker never intended to have a retail showroom on Valencia.

Instead, he said, they might have had a car displayed in front, but pedestrians would not have been able to walk in the door and no sales would have been done out of corporate because their dealership is already established on Van Ness Avenue.

San Francisco is Pagani’s corporate U.S. headquarters. The dealership here, he said, “is the largest (seller) in the United States and one of the largest in the world.”

He added that an earlier story saying the carmaker produced only 30 cars a year was inaccurate.    Pagani produces “approximately 100 worldwide” for just for one model, the Huayra, he said,

He added they would “probably” be moving their corporate offices out of Valencia Street once they have finalized a new location. He declined to say what would happen to the Valencia Street location. He also declined to say how many people were in the corporate office.

A reporter trying to visit the space on Valencia found it locked with all of the windows covered over.  No one answered the door. Through a small slit she was able to see an office that appeared decidedly unfashionable and makeshift with a few tables and a painting of car.

A sales person at the thrift store nearby said four people come in and out of the store during the week, but each one carefully lock the door behind them when they enter and leave.

“They lock up quick,” he said.

Last Thursday afternoon, the sales person said, they took out a Pagani, parked it on the street and drove it around.

From KenKenRamen on Twitter.

The story below was posted on July 13 at 4:45 p.m.

What some have called the most expensive carmaker in the world, the Italian Pagani Automobiliwould like to drive into 461 Valencia St and stay, according to Planning Department documents.

The space – north of 16th Street – was formerly the home of the gallery ArtZone 461. If Pagani’s 61-year-old founder, Horacio Pagani has his way, it will become the showroom for his handmade cars that sell for upwards of a $1 million.

The company is listed as the lessee of the space in a January request filed at the Planning Department. Since then it has applied for a “letter of determination” according to Candace SooHoo, a spokesperson for the department.

Pagani cars only began marketing in the United States in the last couple of years and apparently sell well in San Francisco.

“They only make 30 cars a year, and we sell 10 to 12 of them,” said a woman who answered the phone at the San Francisco Bentley, Lamborghini Lotus and Pagani dealelrship, British Motor Car Distributors at 999 Van Ness. (Update: A corporate spokesperson said this was inaccurate. The company makes approximately 100 cars of just one model, he said, but declined to give production numbers.)

She was surprised to learn that they might be moving elsewhere. Pagani could not be reached for comment.

The retailer first applied in January to make $45,000 in changes at the Valencia location, but that permit has been delayed. A note on the document reads, “Use appears to be a new car dealership and is not allowed in the Valencia,” corridor and warned that the approval should not be over the counter.

SooHoo added, “461 is not zoned for a showroom. The Department has concerns about the scope of the proposal. We’re currently waiting on further information from the project sponsor.”

At the very least, the company will likely have to go through a special approval process to open its doors. Key to approval will be the support from Valencia merchants who are likely to have a mixture of reactions.

Jefferson McCarley, the general manager of the Mission Bicycle Company, which makes handmade bikes,  wrote in an e-mail that the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, “will be opposing a Condition Use to put this particular car dealer on the street.”

He added, “It is not in line with our Mission,” which he explained is “to cultivate and beautify the corridor for the benefit of visitors, residents and merchants. Additionally, we endeavor to combine our voices and views toward the goal of maintaining the unique identity and independent spirit of the neighborhood.”

Others on the corridor disagreed.

Manuel Godino, the owner of the nearby Venga Empanadas,called the idea of having Pagani as a neighbor “perfect.”

The northern stretch of Valencia, he said, would benefit from people getting off at the 16th Street BART station and turning north on Valencia rather than the more common trek of turning south.

“If we have something nice like the best cars in the world more people are going to walk north on Valencia,” he said. “I’m so happy.”

David Auerbach, who owns Digital Fix further south on Valencia Street – a design store for all things audio, agreed. He called Pagani a “tourist attraction” that would bring in more visitors.

“If you look at them as a brand they are definitely boutique….about as boutique as it gets,” he said referring to the street’s restrictions on formula retail stores. “The fact that they have chosen Valencia is somewhat of a compliment.”

Follow Us

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

Join the Conversation

13 Comments

  1. Funny how the space is not zoned as a showroom, but was an art gallery beforehand. Isn’t an art gallery a showroom for art? Now people will look at a fancy car instead.

    Maybe they’d cut a deal with the artists to give them a dedicated wall with a weekly/monthly rotation of art to help the artists sell their work.

  2. My quote was shortened but I said “for a car company, this is as boutique as it gets”. I think it’d be an interesting thing for the neighborhood but I’m not yet decided whether it’d be a good thing or not necessarily, it all depends on how they do it!

      1. bring traffic? These businesses seem to have no concept of how gentrified they are. Perhaps Jefferson McCarley would like to move his store to Sunnydale.

  3. Luxury is a meaningless buzzword now. An expensive sports car is now a “luxury” car. A market rate new home is now a “luxury” home. is Bi-Rite a “luxury” market now? I know the new sections of Dolores park seem pretty luxurious in contrast to when i went there as a child.

  4. What the fuck happened to my home town? Valencia St has recycled appliance places, greasy from decades of compressor oil leaking on old rotting floors. 1999.

    To this? Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

    Fuck you elitist fuckwads.

  5. What’s the matter, Jefferson McCarley? You don’t want to share Valencia Street with a few cars? I don’t ride a bike. Am I still allowed on your street?

  6. Ditto on the art showroom versus car showroom. So Valencia is okay to sell motorcycles, but not cars? And its 999 Van Ness, not South.

  7. Jefferson McCarley, did you really call it “our Mission?” Also, what could possible be more independent, unique, or more beautiful than Pagani? …

  8. Its weird but makes sense.

    1) boutique cars are literally the same as fine art, prohibitively priced and extremely limited quanities
    2) there’s volvo, mini, VW, Audi and mercedes dealerships all within a mile. the area around the overpass is basically a dealership zone.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *