Rent Hikes Force Amici’s, Pete’s, Pedro’s, & Gemignani’s to Close Outside Ballpark
It’s rough being a Giants fan these days. With the organization’s legendary Manager Bruce Bochy retiring, and the team working on its 3rd consecutive losing season, things aren’t as bright as they were during the Championship years of 2010, 2012 and 2014, when San Francisco dominated all of baseball.
Businesses around the ballpark have seen a significant loss in foot traffic since the losing streak began, fewer fans are coming to see games, Giant’s game attendance is at a 10 year low, and that hurts business around the ballpark. But while the Giants will eventually rebound, it’s not clear that small businesses will.
Stadium attendance is probably the only the 2nd reason four different established restaurants have closed around Giant’s Stadium this month. Rent hikes in the area have been obscene. With the new Warriors Stadium going up just blocks from Giants stadium, big corporate players have been clamoring to get a toe hold in the area, landlords are salivating, rents are surging.
Amici’s Pizza (2004-2019), Pete’s Tavern (2007-2019 & Pedro’s Cantina 2010-2019) all closed on King St. this week. Tony Gemignani’s Slice House on 2nd St. (2015-2019) also closed in August. You can still order Amici’s pizza though, they operate a delivery only spot in an undisclosed address in SoMa. Tony Gemignani still has its spot in North Beach, Pete & Pedro were both owned by Peter Osborne’s Golden Bear Restaurant Company, they also own MoMo’s down the street (which is still open). But around the stadium, empty storefronts abound.
Last year Mission Bay and South Beach became the priciest places to rent an apartment in San Francisco, both areas were averaging more than $4,000/month for an apartment. Mind you, these areas are not just new, boxy, and devoid of personality, they have nowhere near the municipal transportation needed to support their growing populations. With two sports stadiums, a children’s hospital, and thousands of new apartments within blocks of each other, this area is going to be an insane clusterfuck of traffic for years to come. The two sports teams combined have 120+ home games each year (not including postseason) there will be problems getting ambulances through the gridlock, carrying sick children to the ER. The thought of which is stomach-turning.
While billionaires are carving up massive swaths of our city’s waterfront to build stadiums and corporate towers, with corporate suites and luxury condominiums to match, the city had to fight a lawsuit by wealthy residents to open just a 200 bed navigation center on the Embarcadero. Small business owners, especially in the service industry are being priced out and kicked aside, you can bet that the corporate partners of the Chase Stadium people will move right in to take their place.
This week restaurant owners held a meeting at City Hall to voice their concerns with the obsene cost of doing buisness in SF, which is driving away the service industry in droves. Thankfully we do have some politicians who care about small business, but the cost of permitting and following city ordinances for small business owners are still very high, and the time it takes to get permission to open a business is exorbitant. Sometimes restaurant owners are forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent, while they wait for the city to allow them to open. The landlords certainly don’t care, so the City Supervisors must. Unless we want our city to look like one big condominium complex with an empty storefront on the bottom floor, and nowhere good to eat, we have to do something to help and protect our restaurant industry.
Let’s hope going forward that common sense wins over greed, San Francisco.