The Borderlands Books saga may well be turning a page to a novel solution that ensures the sci-fi and fantasy bookstore’s permanent survival. Not long after announcing the closure of the Valencia Street bookshop famed for its late, great hairless cat, Borderlands owner Alan Beatts told Mission Local that “Unless something really astonishing and perhaps almost biblical happens in San Francisco, we will not be able to pay rent in San Francisco.”
The good book has apparently allowed that “almost biblical” something to begin realizing its prophesy. A Wednesday morning report from Mission Local declares that Borderland Books is in the process of trying to buy the 1373 Haight Street building that’s currently home to Recycled Records (whose owner has plans to retire soon). Beatts is trying to raise $1.9 million though the mixed-use retail and residential building is listed at $2.35 million but tells Mission Local’s Laura Wenus that he’s already got $500,000 secured and another $300,000 pending.
“The only reason I have the nerve to do something like asking people to lend me $1.9 million a dude who runs a bookstore is the way that the sponsorship program worked out.” Beatts tells Mission Local. “I have no idea if this is going to work out, but it beats figuring we’ll be out of business in 2025, so I might as well take a stab at it.”
Beatts elaborates further on the Borderlands Books blog. “This week I made an offer on a building that is meant to be a permanent home for Borderlands,” he wrote last Friday. “But (you knew there had to be a ‘but’), due to a number of factors, not the least of which being a lower-than-normal down payment, the institutional lenders that I have talked with are not interested in financing the purchase. So, if I'm going to make this work, I need to find individuals who would be willing to lend directly to the company.”
Borderlands has survived its original planned closure thanks to a $100/year customer sponsorship program.
Hoodline notes that the current adjacent Borderlands Café would probably not survive the transaction. Hoodline’s Camden Avery also points out that Borderlands’ current Valencia lease runs through 2025. So if they can’t cobble together the $1.9 million in the two weeks required to buy the Recycled Records building, it doesn’t necessarily mean curtains for Borderlands.
If you have a few thousand (or million!) dollars laying around and want to invest, you can pop into Borderlands and ask for Beatts or email him at abeatts[at]borderlands-books[dot]com.