Two years ago, and as recently as last month, we were under the impression that the popularity of 2011-built Hayes Valley "cargo-tecture" complex collectively known as Proxy guaranteed its existence through 2021. But now we're hearing rumblings via the Examiner that Biergarten's fate is still something of an open issue, with its lease about to expire in November. The question is whether its skinny parcel be developed into what would likely amount to 15 units of market rate housing?
The Board of Supervisors postponed a vote last week on whether to extend that heavily Instagrammed bit of Bavaria's lease for another five years. And, according to Socketsite, even if the renewal is granted, a rent increase could raise issues when $2,000 a month becomes $5,500 a month on November 1st.
Socketsite also has it that the potential units would number as many as 26 and that a community beer garden on the first floor has been suggested as a sort of appeasement.
Board budget analyst Harvey Rose thinks it's time to sell, “to a developer for market rate housing, as it was originally intended, given the current demand for housing in the City and the high demand for land to develop housing. After all, proceeds would “provide new funds to the City for transportation, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and require the inclusion of 15 percent affordable housing in the development.”
So should we get those shovels out sooner rather than later? It's true that Proxy has always been a temporary concept, but Biergarten in particular, started by the team behind nearby German restaurant Suppenküche, has really had its intended effect and maybe more, and it deserves credit as a community gathering place (even if that line can be horrible on warm days). And Supervisor London Breed has been leading the charge to keep it around. "Let them drink beer," she wrote in a text to the Examiner.
Biergarten Construction in 2011. Biergarten via Facebook
In an interview with Hoodline, Aaron Hulme, one of the brothers who own Biergarten and grew up in San Francisco, recalls that "this was a discarded neighborhood. But it was in the center of San Francisco, so it has always had an immediate feel to it, and it has always been someone's home."
He adds that most people in the area live in apartments and don't have backyards, so "They come to Biergarten to hang out. They can sit here for as long as they like.'via Proxy