MEZZANINE’S LANDLORDS RENEGE ON PROMISED LEASE EXTENSION
We received the below message from Mezzanine today, explaining how their landlord is going back on their word and kicking them out 3 months early. It’s always sad to see a great local venue, along with their staff, and all the artists who were booked to perform there this winter, get screwed by a landlord, yet again. Here is Mezzanine’s letter, asking those who support art, culture & nightlife in SF, to share their disagreement publically, in hopes of swaying the landlord to do the right thing.
Via – Chris Sanders of Mezzanine, SF
San Francisco — The Chritton family, owners of Microbiz Security Company and landlords of Mezzanine, have reneged on their letter of intent to extend the lease for the famed SOMA music venue and longstanding staple in SF nightlife over the last sixteen years.
Mezzanine announced in November 2018 that they were being forced to close their doors due the Chritton’s refusal to re-negotiate the lease. The news was devastating to the San Francisco music and nightlife community which has seen numerous independent venues close or fall victim to conglomeration in recent years – a pitfall, many say, that has already cost SF much of its arts & music culture over the years. Mezzanine’s eviction is symbolic of this sad new reality.
“The Chritton’s reached out to me almost immediately following the initial press and told me that they now wanted to work with me, and would at minimum, grant us the 3 ½ month extension thorough NYE 2019,” said Mezzanine’s owner, Deborah Jackman.
On January 11th, 2019, a letter of intent was sent to Mezzanine ensuring the venue would be given the extension they were hoping for, with the added possibility of re-negotiating the lease long term. With a newly promised closing date of January 31st, 2020, the venue, acting on good faith, continued booking Fall/Winter events while waiting for the finalized lease to be signed by the Chrittons.
On May 1st, 2019 Mezzanine was officially notified that the 3 month lease extension was no longer on the table. “After giving me a letter of intent for the lease extension, shaking my hand, hugs exchanged and giving me their word that we were SOLID, the Chrittons, drew out the lease negotiation process for 5 months and then pulled the rug out from under us,” says Jackman.
Canceling these events not only hurts Mezzanine financially, it is deeply heartbreaking for the staff, promoters, artists, corporate clients, and fans that are counting on these events and have supported the venue’s livelihood for years. “Numerous studies have shown that San Francisco’s economic strength is inherent in its art and music scene. This short-sighted eviction and related course changes create real hardship for the exact people that attract people to our city: artists, and music professionals,” said HUSHconcerts CEO Robbie Kowal. “Mezzanine has always been good to its word, its neighbors, its customers, and our community, something we would hope might make its landlords at least fulfill their meager commitment of a bit more time,” adds Kowal.
In addition, Mezzanine has been working closely with Allen Scott of Another Planet Entertainment, to form a partnership to keep the venue open for the long term.
The Chritton’s company, Microbiz Security, put out a press release stating, “the lease was signed and Microbiz is moving forward with expanding their business” by taking over the space currently occupied by Mezzanine. This statement is a stark departure from their original reasoning for not renewing the venue’s lease; a 600% rent increase for the space.
The venue now hopes that community support may bring a change of heart to the Chrittons. “As we at Mezzanine were receiving encouraging support from our fans, the city, and our industry; the building owners, were getting push back about the fact that we were not given an opportunity to come to the table OR, at the very least to get a 3 month lease extension to let us finish out 2019,” Jackman recalled about the initial closure announcement. “At this point I feel the only hope we have is a public outcry, even louder than the first. That SF will not take this laying down. Please once again, make it known that you need Mezzanine and Mezzanine needs YOU to help us survive, at least until the end of 2019,” stated Jackman.