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So you read the Jesse Thorn tweet: STUFF’s gotta go. STUFF, the two-story consignment store at 150 Valencia St. near Market Street ends its lease Feb. 11, 2024, and may not renew.
According to STUFF’s owner James Spinello, the landlord Thomas Murphy offered a new lease, on the condition Spinello pays triple the current rent, or $900,000 in annual rent. The space is where at least 60 different businesses sell everything from vintage jewelry to used houseware and silk Japanese paintings.
“It’s greed,” Spinello said. “He was stringing us along.”
Spinello said that, as recently as last November, Murphy offered to sell the building to Spinello for $7 million. Spinello agreed. Then, Spinello said, Murphy “literally ghosted” him; the landlord ignored door knocks, phone calls, and texts about Spinello sealing the deal. By February, Murphy said he’d sell — but for $10 million.
Murphy denies this account. He said that he doesn’t know where Spinello came up with the $900,000 dollar figure; Murphy said he told Spinello he’d renegotiate a lease and a new rent as the expiration date nears. But “I will take 900,000 all day long,” Murphy said.
He added that he never intended to sell the building. In 2019, Murphy’s partner wanted out, and Spinello offered to buy the building for $7 million. Unwilling to give up his share, Murphy rejected Spinello’s offer and bought out the rest of the building, which was then appraised at north of $6 million, he said. Still, Spinello kept asking about the selling price over the years. Finally Spinello said, “What will you sell it to me for, 10 million?” Murphy said sure, that sounds fine. “It was chit-chat,” Murphy said.
Murphy and his partner bought the property for $4.5 million in 2017, according to property records.
STUFF opened in 2011, and rents out spaces to to five dozen small businesses. Each vendor, or dealer, curates their space and names their price.
The dealers, including Thorn’s 78-year-old mother, rely on STUFF sales to supplement incomes. During the pandemic, customers wandered the mesmerizing aisles of oddities and named it their happy place.
“It’s shocking,” Spinello said. “Normally [a sale is] screwing one business. But this is 60. It’s a community.”
Until 2024, business continues as usual.
Carousel takes one last ride
Further south, another consignment store on Mission Street says goodbye. Kelley Wehman, the owner of vintage furniture and consignment store Carousel, told Mission Local she will not renew her lease at 2391 Mission St. near 20th Street. The brick-and-mortar shutters in October.
Sales haven’t been what they used to be since 2015, and despite her love of carnival-core, Wehman is no longer clowning around with market volatility. July figures reported the hottest sales among the business’s lifespan, while August reported the lowest. “This makes me throw up my hands!” Wehman said. Only rented events kept the business “in the green,” and those dried up during the pandemic.
Wehman attempted to close in 2019, but was grounded by her lease, which expires this October. Wehman plans for a blow-out sale this month — and to stop customers in the street if she recognizes them.
Homeless organization attempts to acquire vacant Red Building
Ever wonder what’s happening at the vacant Red Building on Mission Street?
Looks like Hamilton Families, the family and children homelessness organization, hopes to acquire it and move in, according to a Planning Department notice. The notice reveals Hamilton Families is asking for a change of use from commercial/mixed use to one allowing social services. Dawna Williams, the organization’s director of administration, said that if the sale goes through, all other locations will consolidate and move to 2567 Mission St. There, Hamilton Families guests will receive resources for housing stability.
According to property records, the management company Okada Brothers Inc. owns the building presently.
The bright red, three-story building last hit the market for $7 million in 2019 when it was owned by an LLC connected to Owen Van Natta, a former chief operating officer of Facebook, who owned several buildings in the Mission. In the past, the building hosted a bridal shop and a purported porn studio. The last ground-floor tenant was Klatch Coffee, which earned fame for a $75 cup of joe. It opened on Feb. 28, 2020, and closed during the pandemic.
Though the acquisition isn’t set in stone, Williams said the move would most benefit the clients, who already partner with and rely on other Mission nonprofits for their needs.
“It’s really time that we have an anchor in the community,” Williams said.
Former Cine Latino building resumes construction
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. There is, indeed, scaffolding at the old Cine Latino, just a nightclub away from the aforementioned Red Building. After a three-year hiatus, plans to finish building renovations proceed at the colossal, four-story building at 2551-7 Mission St.
The building, formerly the old Cine Latino theater, was bought by Vera Cort, a trustee for the Vera Cort Family Trust, in 1998 and earmarked for a fitness center. The trust and its affiliates own several properties in the neighborhood, including 2601 Mission St., a block away from the theater; the building where Trick Dog is, on 20th Street; and the building that houses 1890 Bryant Street Studios.
However, fitness center plans stalled following the death of the project engineer, and of the separate death of Cort’s husband, Robert. Additionally, workers removed the building’s facade in 2012, a move the Planning Department six years later deemed “beyond the scope” of permitted work. Permits were revoked, and the work halted. Later, the Corts sued, and the city reinstated permits in 2020, leading to present-day construction.
Despite the building’s present haphazard appearance, only a few renovations are left on the to-do list, according to two sources close to the property. The plans for a gym are dead, so the building’s future use is TBD.