SF club Mezzanine to shut down after building owners refuse lease renewal

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Lee Fields and the Expressions, Lee Fields

Lee Fields and the Expressions perform at Mezzanine in San Francisco on Dec. 2, 2016. Photo: Alessio Neri.

The management of popular nightclub Mezzanine announced Tuesday that it is being forced to shut down in less than a year because the owner of the building at 444 Jessie St. has refused to renew or renegotiate the club’s lease. The club will close in October 2019.

Mezzanine Owner Deborah Jackman started the club in 2003 and employees about 35 people, including an all-female talent-booking team. The club has hosted iconic performances like the San Francisco debut of Florence and the Machine, as well as Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, LCD Soundsystem and De La Soul.

“It’s a dream for [Jackman] to do at least one more New Year’s Eve; at least to ring in 2020,” but we’ve been told that’s not going to happen,” said Chris Sanders, the venue’s marketing director. The Mezzanine’s request for a three-month extension was also denied, he said. The building’s owners are working with a real estate firm looking to replace the club with more commercial office space.

“Why they need those last three months; that just sucks,” Sanders said. “With all the remodeling the room will need, three months shouldn’t matter.”

According to the Mezzanine, the owners are looking to charge 600 percent more for the space Mezzanine currently occupies. In a news release, Jackman slammed what she referred to as another instance of “corporate greed and commercial development” overtaking cultural institutions. The Mezzanine team has not officially asked music fans to contact the building owner to show support, but won’t stop them from doing so.

“If they do hear that there’s a lot of people from whom this club is so special… it couldn’t hurt,” Sanders said.

The Mezzanine leadership team has not yet had any talks about a possible relocation to a different venue, Sander said.

“I think we’re all open to that idea,” he said. “But right now we all want to focus on the next 10 months.”

Right now, the Mezzanine is still planning a “Sweet 16” celebration, scheduled for April, with numerous high-profile shows.

Update:

This publication has left a message seeking comment from building owner David Chritton, whose name is listed as property owner through City and County of San Francisco records.

Voicemails left for the president, co-founder and senior vice president of Colton Commercial, which is handling the transition of the Mezzanine property, were not returned as of 3:20 p.m. Leasing and Sales Associate Daniel Starr, who said he is not involved in the matter and does not know the owner’s future plans for the space, said the owners are making a smart move in the Bay Area real estate market.

“The market is the market,” Starr said. “If you’re a landlord, why wouldn’t you maximize your [assets].”

Check back later; this story is still developing.

Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.

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