Elbo Room move delayed, owners carve out another year on current lease

Granted a one year lease- extension from its landlord, the Elbo Room will continue to operate out of its current 17th and Valencia street location until 2019.

“We are excited. It means everybody still has jobs,” said Matt Shapiro, co-owner of the iconic Mission District bar, shortly before calling a staff meeting to inform his employees of the good news on Monday.

The Elbo Room has been operating at 647 Valencia St. for almost three decades and was recently granted legacy business standing by the city, but was threatened with displacement when the building’s owners revealed plans to develop condominium- housing on top of the bar in 2014.

When the Elbo Room’s original lease expired in 2015, owners Shapiro and Erik Cantu managed to negotiate a first lease extension that would have pulled them through to January 1, 2018. But in most recent developments, their landlords offered to grant them another year, keeping the popular bar in place until 2019.

“[The landlord] just offered it us – he asked what our plans were and we told him that we are working on [finding] another location,” said Shapiro, responding to rumors that the owners had planned to take over the space of the salsa venue El Valenciano at 1153 Valencia St., which went on the market in January.

But that effort did not pan out, said Shapiro.

“El Valenciano was not beneficial for us at this time,” said Shapiro. While his landlords are still awaiting the building permits to convert 647 Valencia St. into condos, Shapiro said that they extended the invitation to stay to their long term tenants.

“Even if they get the [permits] tomorrow, it could be long time until they could start with the project. So it’s mutually beneficial – what’s the point of keeping a vacant building if you can collect rent from us?” Shapiro said, adding that he and Cantu will use the additional time to scout for new locations, preferably in the Mission.

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