Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scorecard of Closed or Ailing
S.F. Gay & HIV Institutions

With so much turmoil and budgetary problems at a seemingly ever-increasing number of gay and AIDS organizations, and businesses across several sectors of the gay economy going under, changing hands or in trouble of one sort or another, I couldn't keep track of just the names, never mind the reasons behind the turmoil.

I've gathered a comprehensive list, just to map out failed business enterprises in the Castro and other city districts, to get an understanding for myself of the queer landscape in San Francisco over the past two years. Only entities that died or faced significant challenges since 2009 are included.


Black Coalition on AIDS
Budgetary and programmatic changes at the SF Department of Public Health that kicked in recently means a whopping $300,000 reduction in city funding for this minority organization. It was already under duress from previous funding shortfalls in government and private donations.

Marcus Conant, MD
One of America's first and most experienced AIDS doctors gave up his Castro Street practice last year, because of insurance hassles taking up more of his time away from patients. He's retired and moved to New York City. [SF Chronicle]

Castro Country Club
The clean-and-sober hangout on 18th Street recently held a town hall to discuss their strategy for purchasing their building, while simultaneously contending with an annual deficit between $40,000 and $60,000. Baker Places, the club fiscal sponsor, takes care of that expense. [BAR]

Lyon Martin Health Clinic
The board of directors attempted to just lock the doors and say goodbye in four-day, but the clients and community supporters began a turn-around project to save the clinic. A bailout from the SF DPH was never an option because of gross mismanagement. Hanging on for the time being. [Google News]

New Leaf
This mental health and substance abuse counseling agency dissolved itself with a carefully constructed timeline and strategic plan to go out of business, after 35-years of existence. Some New Leaf clients were sent over to Lyon Martin Health Clinic for services. [SF Chronicle]

SF LGBT Community Center
What started out as an patronage project of Democratic Party A-gays has weathered fiscal crises thanks to bailouts from the city, and can't maintain the charade of being a grassroots-supported community center. Municipal planners granted a special zoning variance just for the center's parcel of land, allowing it to lease part of the facility to a restaurant or other profit-making business. [BAR, SF Appeal]

SF Pride
Oh, dear Goddess, where to begin with this misbegotten nonprofit? The accounting screw ups with vendors that negatively impacted the funds available to pass along to the dozens of service agencies that provide volunteers? An expanded deficit and no reserves on hand? The seriously under-qualified executive director Amy Andre who was forced to resign? The city controller's audit and findings of bad management and board practices? Recent waves of resignations of board members and staffers? [BAR, SF Chronicle, SF Weekly.]

Shanti Project
They've lost city funding for their classes providing emotional well-being advice that is no longer considered a direct, necessary service for people with AIDS. No word yet on how much the city will cut from Shanti's budget. [BAR]

Stop AIDS Project
As with other HIV agencies, this one will also see a serious reduction in funding from the city's health department, at a time when it is struggling to maintain existing prevention efforts. A bright spot is that they will collaborate on a single project with the SF AIDS Foundation. [BAR]


A Different Light
The once-venerable and hopping hub for homo wordsmiths quite a number of full moons ago shed its mission as a bookstore for the LGBT community, one that served as a community center, nurtured writers and readers interested in more than porn available at nine other Castro stores. ADL disrespected so many folks that their is no mourning over its tired-ass closure. [SFist]

Castro Theater
Our cherished movie palace jewel is closed every Monday and Tuesday during April, for a total of eight dark nights. The owner and manager say business is fine, that it's basic film packaging and booking at issue in recent months. [Petrelis Files, SF Examiner]

Femina Potens
Who can tell me if it's been nine-months or longer since the feminist art gallery and performance space left it's prime spot on Market at Sanchez? Their web site states they are "between spaces" at present. [Femina Potens]

Mama Calizo's Voice Factory
Performance and rehearsal space that operated from the former Jon Sims Arts Center on Mission near Van Ness, closed in the summer of 2010 due to a fire department inspection that found numerous, previously unnoticed code violations too expensive to correct. [BAR]

Modern Times
Word from the socialist bookstore and meeting place is that they're vacating their Valencia Street venue at the end of April. They carried queer titles and hosted many a queer writer or political workshop. According to the SF Appeal, Modern Times has located new digs on 24th Street and will re-open in May. Yeah! [SF Appeal]


A.G. Ferrari Foods
The Castro outlet for this East Bay based, family-owned chain of boutique Italian delis was spared the chopping block earlier this month, when the company went into bankruptcy and other local shops sold their last salami slices. Ferrari's gayborhood location is not on solid ground, and I wish them well. [SF Chronicle]

Bagdad Cafe
Named after a comedic German film of the 1980s, this greasy spoon closed the kitchen in early April, but promises to open again under new owners and a re-thinking of the menu offerings. When they no longer served potato pancakes, there was little reason for me to eat there. [Grub Street SF]

At Church and 14th Streets, what was until last month known as the BOC, Bar on Church, is now empty but getting exterior and interior makeovers. Hopeful signs a new club will shortly open for customers at this central location? Maybe. For many, the bar is better known for once being the home of the Transfer, a proud dive. [Petrelis Files]

DeLano's Supermarket
Selling everything from soup to nuts and beyond, this 18th Street market abruptly announced a closing date last November when the parent company declared bankruptcy. The good news about the building is that a Mollie Stone's Market took possession, and since February meeting the household shopping and food needs of area residents. [SF Grub Street, SF Chronicle]

Eagle Tavern
More than a leather bar for almost 30-years at the same spot - Harrison and 12th - literally a worldwide famous location for a few generations of the global gay tribe and allies. It's a confusing trail following the landlord and bar owners' versions of the facts, but the last day is expected this month. [Google News]


Affordable Italian pasta-and-salad trattoria is closed and I missed the news about its demise, but Googling showed Fuzio said "Caio Castro" the first week of April when the lease was up. No word on what might go in there next. [Eater SF]


The short existence of the dim sum establishment came and went so quickly, it barely registered on my radar that the cavernous space on Market opposite the Safeway store had been leased by new management and was serving food again. It closed three week ago. [Petrelis Files]

Ristorante Capri
Another moderately priced Italian joint is changing owners, after a healthy 26-year run next to the former Tower Records store on Market Street. Capri will close in the early summer and no date yet on when a new eatery opens in the same space. [Grub Street SF]


Academy of Friends
The purpose of this charity is raising funds for AIDS nonprofits by hosting an annual top-dollar gala on the day of the Oscars. Executive and board turnover, coupled with questionable management, created a steep drop in profits from the pricey party, leaving AIDS groups around town disappointed promised funds never materialized in the two most recent years. [BAR]

Bay Times

In the past six weeks, the smaller local gay paper has not published a print edition for five of those weeks. No word from the owner what the financial situation is at the rag, but they have maintain their web site and update it every Thursday. I'd like to see it printed regularly again. [Petrelis Files]

Kard Zone
The proprietor of the notions and cards store on the ground floor of the Tower Records died last year of abusing multi-substances, Brad Villers, leaving no one to take over the business. The shop remained locked by the cops for months, until Under One Roof made use of the space for a short time. It's now empty and dirty. [Petrelis Files]

Gym SF

The work out club on Market Street above Books Inc, has signs posted on their mirrors detailing their last date of business and for guys to empty the lockers. Turning that venue into a sex space would be my ideal change at the club. They must vacate the premises by April 30th. [Petrelis Files]

Human Rights Campaign Store

Late last year, HRC took over the lease of Harvey Milk's old camera shop on Castro Street and controversy erupted since many feel HRC and Milk are not a good match. HRC's old store at 19th and Castro Streets sits empty and available for lease, while they now sell their merchandise at the former camera store. [Petrelis Files]

Trader Joe's/Tower Records
This retail grocery chain wanted to take over the former Tower Records building on Market near Noe, but factors like poor planning for increased car traffic and strong opposition from area residents killed Trader Joe's proposal. There are no other major potential tenants or buyers for the property. [BAR]

Under One Roof, Castro Street
The agency's sales and profits are in a serious decline at their main shop on Castro, so AIDS service organizations who once received thousands of bucks annually, now get a fraction of that. [BAR]

Under One Roof Annex
Who knew this store existed for more than a year on the second floor of the Tower Records building? Not I, until walking past the entrance last week when stocky guys were moving the merchandise into trucks because the lease is up. [Petrelis Files]


Anonymous said...

Wow! Depressing, but thanks for putting this together. The LIFE program at Shanti was a great experience for me after the horror of testing positive; helped me get back on track.

Michael said...

you're welcome. it was sad to see many of the now-empty store fronts, take a few photos, and note their addresses, then compile the list. if you want depressing, take a look at all the long-standing vacant stores _not_ on my list.

has it been 3 years since plan'it earth left market street near books inc? not sure but big 'for rent' hangs in the window.

see any living person in the former patio on castro? who can recall when it was renovated? there's a small dummy bar, with stools and overhead lamps at the patio, to better entice a potential bar owner to lease the joint.

don't forget the empty ice cream parlor on castro, between slider's burgers and the castro theater parking lot.

and i also missed closed shops on the side streets.