Drag show impresario Heklina, a.k.a. Stefan Grygelko, amidst the recent controversy over the rebranding of her iconic party Trannyshack, is trying to buy the building on the northwest corner of Folsom and 11th. It's a huge space that was formerly the home of The Oasis, and more recently, Caliente Club, that's been vacant for five years. A new zoning ordinance for SoMa that stipulates that no new bar can open within 200 feet of a residence is holding up the deal, and fans of nightlife are being asked to contact Supervisor Jane Kim's office to pester them for a zoning exception.
"The space is 180 feet from a residence," Heklina says. "No one wanted this zoning, even the residents around the area. It's unnecessary, and since it just keeps the building dormant it's a huge waste for everyone."
There has been some tension in recent years between new residents and existing bars and nightclubs, in SoMa and elsewhere, notably with one NIMBY fight in particular involving Slim's which caused them to have to go liquor-free briefly in 2011. But I'm sure most would agree that a new lively club at 11th and Folsom, which is a weekend hub of loud revelry already, is preferable to a dead and dormant building.
Heklina has been seeking to open her own club in the area for a while. She's been operating Trannyshack as a monthly event at DNA Lounge down the street since 2008. She and three partners (D'Arcy Drollinger, Geoff Benjamin, and Jason Beebout) along with some investors have put an offer in on the building at 298 11th Street, and the offer's been accepted, but the existing zoning rule would prevent them from being able to secure a liquor license. She says that Kim's office has been moving to fix the problem, but they're moving "really slowly. Like molasses."