On California Street in Nob Hill, Live Nation has been pushing to develop the Nob Hill Masonic Center into a proper concert venue and not just an auditorium with a couple folding tables for a bar (albeit a pretty one). Naturally, neighborhood groups like the Nob Hill Coalition and the Nob Hill Association weren't having any of it. At one point, a neighbor even feared more frequent events would bring all sorts of unsavory drug users to Huntington Park across the street.
After five years of negotiations between neighborhood groups and the event promotion company, the Chronicle brings word today that Supervisor David Chiu successfully convinced the neighborhood groups to give some concessions in the deal. Although, it's not much, really:
After an original proposal that asked for 95 events a year and 11 concession stands selling alcohol, the final wording has the number of concerts capped at 54 a year and just two bars unless attendance goes over 3,000.
"I think we've had them come down to a more moderate level," said Greg Galanos, president of the Nob Hill Coalition. "At the same time, I don't think anyone wanted Masonic to go dark. That wasn't in anyone's interest."
Only two bars for 3,000 concertgoers still seems like a huge bummer, and there's no word yet on whether we'll get room for that mosh pit they promised, but at least we can expect more real concerts and not just Obama fundraisers to start popping up on Nob Hill just as soon as the ink is dry on the deal. A portion of the proceeds from events will be used to upgrade Huntington Park (which is apparently lousy with needles) and fund homeless services in neighboring, lower altitude neighborhoods like Chinatown and the Tenderloin.
Previously: Nob Hill Denizens Think Concertgoers Are All On Heroin