Famed panaderia given marching orders, but other building tenants are not
La Victoria, a 67-year-old traditional Mexican bakery, and five of its subtenants are being evicted from their home on the corner of 24th and Alabama Streets — but, for reasons that are not immediately apparent, other commercial tenants of the building have not been evicted.
Jaime Maldonado, La Victoria’s longtime owner, said that he served the bakery’s operators — who have been subleasing it from him since January — and the five subtenants a 30-day notice earlier this week. The family trust has found a buyer for the building, he said.
Although Maldonado is a part of the trust, his stepmother, Susanna Maldonado, controls it. The evictions are part of an agreement Jamie Maldonado made with the trust.
The building went up for sale in March for $3.4 million. Despite Maldonado’s attempts to negotiate an agreement between his family’s trust and the Mission Economic Development Agency to keep the bakery in place, Maldonado said his family has selected a different buyer. He does not know who that buyer is.
The slated closing of La Victoria would be the end of an era. The bakery started on 24th Street in 1951 and became a popular gathering spot in the 1960s and ‘70s – arguably a golden age for the Mission’s Latino arts and political culture. The slow demise of the neighborhood institution appears to be a byproduct of a drawn-out family feud between Jaime and his stepmother.
Maldonado told Mission Local that having to evict his own subtenant — and, in doing so, shutting down his bakery — is not the way he wanted things to go. He says he had no choice, and is bound to the terms of an arbitration agreement between him and his family trust.
“I am cooperating with Maldonado Trust in any way, shape or form to make sure what is agreed upon is executed in a fair and legal manner, regardless of my personal feelings,” he said.
And yet, other commercial tenants of the building — Texis Jewelry and Gemini Barbershop — do not appear to be going anywhere.
Tony Majano, Gemini’s owner, told Mission Local that he has not received an eviction notice. Majano said he signed a five-year lease sometime last year and has more than four years left on it. He added that he has a good relationship with the Maldonado family. “We have received no notifications from the city or the fire department,” he said.
The jewelry store’s owner is on vacation, and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.
The eviction of the bakery — and only the bakery — “makes no sense to me,” Maldonado admitted. “Why does a buyer want a small neighborhood jewelry store and small hairstylist there and not a bakery? I don’t know, I can’t answer,” he said.
Maldonado reiterated that he is legally bound to carry out the terms of a recent legal settlement between him and the trust. Calls to his stepmother, Susanna Maldonado, were not returned by press time.
Laura Hernandez, a Mission resident who started subleasing La Victoria bakery month-to-month from Maldonado this January, said the bakery’s 20-odd employees, including herself, will lose their jobs when the business vacates. “They [the Maldonado family] want us out so they can sell the building and empty it because the family has a problem,” said the mother of three daughters.
Hernandez, only weeks ago, attempted to buy the business from Maldonado, she said. But, according to Maldonado, the offer fell short of his asking price.
Danny Gabriner, who both co-operates La Victoria and subleases kitchen space for his bakery, Sour Flower, said that some of the four other subtenants, who use the bakery’s kitchen as an incubator space, have been formally served with eviction notices to leave by August 25.
All of them are seeking legal advice from the city’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development. “We’re working with the city to try to find out what our legal rights are,” Gabriner said.
Gabriner said that, unlike the other subtenants, he has a 10-year lease on the space, which is only five years old. The others, he said, have signed month-to-month leases, including the lease for La Victoria that he and Hernandez operate.
Maldonado disputes Gabriner’s claim that they entered into a 10-year lease. “He has a one-year, month-to-month lease,” Maldonado said. “The track record will show everyone has a one-year month-to-month lease.”
Gabriner added that he and the other subtenants are applying to have La Victoria designated as a legacy business, which would require a new owner to seek a conditional use permit before making changes to the business.
Hernandez isn’t holding out hope. Asked what she might do next, she said: “Maybe cry a little, and then find another local job.”