When news broke that the Elbo Room might be demolished to make way for new condos, fans of the longtime neighborhood bar and club responded fiercely. The ire didn’t stop when the people behind the plans spoke for the first time in person at a community meeting at Mission Station Thursday. The plan’s backers: the Elbo’s Room’s former owners, the very people who helped found the bar in the first place.
Dennis Ring and Susan Rokisky-Ring, who own the building at 647 Valencia Street -- but sold the Elbo Room business to their employees Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu in 2010 -- have plans to convert the two-story club into a five-story, nine unit condominium. Part of the couple’s motivation, they explained Thursday, is to have a place where they can retire.
“This is part of our vision for ourselves, for my husband and I to spend the rest of our days,” said Rokisky-Ring, who explained at the meeting that she’s been in the Mission since 1969, and lived within four blocks of the Elbo Room for 20 years. She says that their current house, a two-family home on Cumberland Street, has too many stairs. They will need a building with an elevator as they progress in years.
The plans, which are still in the very preliminary phases, include a mix of one- and two-room units, with 870 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. At the meeting, the Rings said they have promised the bar’s current owners to help them relocate should the plans become a reality, but that failed to win over everyone in the crowd of roughly 30 gathered Thursday.