Tenants of San Francisco practice space Moss Street Rehearsal Studios received 30-day eviction notices Aug. 13, bringing an end to the business after 35 years.
The rehearsal space, located at the corner of Moss and Folsom streets, is a turn-of-the-century Victorian subdivided into eight monthly practice units and one residence for an on-site manager. According to its owner, the space was founded in 1983 by musicians, including one who roadied for the Grateful Dead.
Jake Rodriguez, a nine-year Moss St. tenant and an experimental artist who performs as bran(…)pos, described it as the best practice space he’s encountered in the Bay Area. He called the eviction and news of the Hemlock Tavern’s closure a “1-2 punch by the Bay.”
Groups that have rehearsed at Moss St., which local artists describe as a fixture of San Francisco’s underground rock scene in the 2000s, include Thee Oh Sees, Burmese, Sic Alps, Erase Errata, XBXRX, Total Shutdown, and the Flying Luttenbachers.
Pam Dubier, a Sotheby’s realtor specializing in overseas investment and “high-end Northern San Francisco neighborhoods,” according to her website, bought the building and the business in 2007. The 30-day notices, posted to all occupied units, came from Daniel Bornstein, an attorney known for hosting eviction “boot camps” for landlords.
Dubier told KQED she bought the building because, growing up in New Orleans, she developed an appreciation for local music. But she added that there’s less and less demand for rehearsal space in San Francisco. “The musicians with money have their own studios at home now,” she said. “Unfortunately, a lot of local musicians have had to leave the area.”
Dubier said she’s struggled to fill two vacant units: one has been empty for six weeks, the other for three months. But the last post advertising a vacancy on the space’s Facebook page appeared more than a year ago, and local rehearsal space operators—especially in the East Bay—say monthly studio demand is the highest it’s been since the early 2000s.
For example, the waiting list for lockout units at three-story Oakland Music Complex, the largest space in the Bay Area, boasts more than 150 names, according to management.
Asked if 30 days is enough time for her tenants to find another practice space, Dubier brought up nearby Lennon Studios, which has 26 monthly rental units. “They’ve got an option six blocks away,” she said. But Jimmy Crucifix, who manages Lennon’s lockout units, told KQED that they have no lockout vacancies. “It’s really hard to find a monthly space—there’s always demand.” he said. “Right now our list is like 40, 50 pages long.”
Crucifix added that he’s already gotten three calls from tenants at Moss Street. “They’re desperate,” he said. “What I tell them is we have storage lockers for gear and that we do hourly, too.”
Dubier said she’s open to selling the business.