There's some confused news coming out that the recently threatened, 41-year-old comedy club The Punch Line was perhaps not under threat from a new tenant named Google after all — although the landlord has yet to speak up to clear up the confusion.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced during a rally outside City Hall Tuesday that the incoming tenant that wanted the space The Punch Line is in at 444 Battery was none other than Google. The larger building known as One Maritime Plaza is owned by a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley and managed by CBRE, and Google issued a statement Thursday saying that the comedy community and public are confused. The company says that while it's true that it is leasing the 25-story One Maritime Plaza and its adjacent one-story annex — which is where the Punch Line lives — it is not actually interested in The Punch Line space and is happy to let it stay there.
There's obviously either a) some miscommunication going on here, or b) the landlord and/or Google is trying to walk this back following the public outcry and the obvious bad press from a tech company pushing out a beloved SF cultural institution.
Google issued a statement Thursday, per the Chronicle's Datebook, saying in part, "The Punch Line has been a key part of San Francisco’s culture and community for 40 years. As a neighbor, Google is committed to trying to find a way for the Punch Line to remain a vibrant part of the Bay Area community for years to come."
CBRE has yet to issue a comment, but one obvious fact remains that Live Nation, which operates The Punch Line, says it was unable to reach a deal with CBRE for the space, and then publicized their intent to move the club on May 9. The original announcement said the club would close and possibly relocate when its current lease is up in August.
Comedians including Dave Chappelle rallied behind The Punch Line both on social media and in person, with Chappelle coming to town to do a couple of last-minute shows at the club this week and participate in Tuesday morning's rally.
Peskin, for his part, issued a statement saying, "I have been in direct and productive communication with Google Real Estate specifically about the Punch Line site at One Maritime Plaza, and I am cautiously optimistic about future developments."
He says he'll be moving forward with new zoning legislation next month that will prevent any non-nightclub use from occupying the Punch Line space.
Photo courtesy of the Punch Line