Warehouse art spaces around the Bay Area will be facing heightened scrutiny for many months following Friday's deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Spots like the Salt Lick in downtown Oakland were quick to draw the ire of neighbors who complained of an alleged illegal venue, and now we learn that at least one San Francisco art spaces is also under the microscope. A complaint opened December 6, just several days after the blaze, shows that city officials are investigating a warehouse property adjacent to Flora Grubb Gardens in the Bayview for "alleged conversion of warehouse to illegal residential use."
According to SocketSite, the building in question is allegedly being used both for housing and as a venue by "heavy pedal bike rodeo" group Cyclecide — despite lacking permits for public assembly or residential use.
"Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo is a club of alter-bike mechanics, mariachi-punk musicians and cycle crazed clowns who love building bikes and creating custom works of interactive art," the group's website explains. "Together we form a traveling pedal-powered carnival that is fun for people of all ages."
SFist reached out to Cyclecide for comment, but have yet to hear back as of press time.
That officials around the Bay Area would immediately start cracking down on unpermitted art spaces perceived to be similar to Ghost Ship following the fire was predicted by many, including this publication, and the city investigation (the complaint status is marked as "under review") of the property at 1660 Jerrold Avenue is perhaps only the first of many. Pressure is already building on one such space across the Bay in San Leandro, where CBS 5 reports that an art collective by the name of Gate 510 received a visit from the fire marshal earlier this week.
“First thing Monday morning, and ever since then, it’s just been threats and threats and threats,” Cheryl Edison of Gate 510 told the channel about the official's visit. “This property is a concrete and steel building with sprinklers throughout. That [Ghost Ship] property was a warehouse that was not up to code in any minimal way.”
The Alameda County Fire Department told the channel that their investigation into the property, which houses several businesses as well as art spaces but notably has no housing, has nothing to do with the Ghost Ship blaze. Edison disagrees. "As a result there has been a backlash from the fire department and the city to shut down what has become a vibrant community,” she explained through tears.
As the investigation into the cause of the Ghost Ship blaze continues, the crackdown on allegedly unsafe art spaces around the Bay Area is likely just beginning.