The longtime home of Open Sash and Door, Inc. has given way to "creative" office space or even restaurants. But this door business hasn't closed yet. Photo by Lydia Chavez.

Former Ocean Sash and Door building at 17th and Shotwell will house ‘creative’ offices or restaurants

In a sign of the times, one of the dwindling actual “production, distribution and repair” (PDR) spots in the Mission has decamped, and will give way to something far more upscale that doesn’t involve vast amounts of sawdust and the constant din of saws.

Ocean Sash and Door, Inc. in May quietly sold its home of more than 40 years at 17th and Shotwell; new co-owner Robert Mellett may put restaurants on site, or “creative space, people who are making stuff.” This, Mellett continues, “is something I’m leaving to my broker.” Workers are, currently, refinishing the corrugated iron siding and have installed a large plexiglass door for whomever comes next. Ocean Sash and Door owner Mike York notes that this door job did not go to him.

Unlike so many family-owned Mission shops that have left the neighborhood, Ocean Sash and Door did so voluntarily, expanded in the process, profited off the deal, and is still here in San Francisco.

The business relocated its sales office and glazing, finishing, and door pre-hanging facility to Oakdale Avenue just off Bayshore and sent its large machinery and window and door manufacturing equipment to a warehouse in Concord. Mike York and his brother, Wayne, bought the business from their dad, Gene, some 43 years ago — and Mike says it’s never been so clean.

“We are making all the dust up in Concord right now,” he explains.

He also may never have been so busy. During a brief phone interview, the shop’s phone lines rang constantly in the background. The new location, in an industrial zone, is convenient for contractors and builders who were already perusing the neighborhood.

Mike York says he sold the 17th and Shotwell building for around $3 million and split the proceeds with his brother, Wayne, who immediately retired (“and now he works for me,” notes Mike York). It was a bittersweet moment for him, as he’s worked more than four decades in the Mission. But, to put things extremely mildly, this neighborhood is changing. The former door-and-window manufacturer’s neighbors are, now, a dance theater and a hip bowling alley. The adjacent space Ocean Sash and Door used to rent to store 1,000 doors is now occupied by an outfit called “Mafia Bags.”

“Needless to say, we knew this was coming,” York says. “We had to do something.”

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So, they bifurcated the business, sold the building, and moved out of the neighborhood. The buyers include Mellett, an Irish-born contractor who designed the successful coffee/tech power meetup spot The Creamery on Fourth Street and Nessa Brady, who owns The Creamery and nearby restaurant The Iron Door.

York says Mellett told him the plan for the site was to subdivide it into two spaces, install men’s and women’s restrooms, and look for two restaurants who’d move in (since the site is zoned PDR, this would require a variance). Mellett mentioned “creative” offices to Mission Local, but didn’t rule out restaurants. He hopes to have the spaces on the market for leasing by March or April.

If some manner of public-facing business occupies the site, it could be a shrewd move for the new owners. A 12-story tower — with zero parking spaces — is slated for just a stone’s throw away, at 18th and Mission. Plenty of new foot traffic would appear to be coming to this neck of the woods.

The industrial chic “SERVING THE BAY AREA SINCE 1880” in white paint on rust-colored metal may remain, but the establishment is gone. And York refuses to be nostalgic about it.

“I spent a lot of time over there,” he says. “Now I’m here. I like it here.”

Joe Eskenazi

Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. “Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior...

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  1. Glad to see business owners profit and do what’s good for them, rather than stick to some old nostalgia that’s trying to hold on to the past.

    Btw, When business owners profit from their business it’s called greed. But when homeowners make millions of dollars from property values, it’s called..

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