Planning Department documents show the church-turned roller rink has plans to transform into “36 group housing rooms,” which could be badly needed housing, or could be a giant Airbnb scheme.
Clearly no one is leaving the house right now, as the coronavirus scare is leading to cancellations of 'non-essential' public gatherings. But one would figure that the public health concerns will eventually die down, and workdays and nightlife will hopefully return to normal. But the nightlife — and the daytime family fun — might be slowed by a toe stop, for the rollerskating community, at least, as the Chronicle reported this weekend that the Church of 8 Wheels building may be torn down. This could soon mean “last skate” for the former Sacred Heart Church at Fillmore and Fell Streets, which was converted to a roller rink in 2013, shuttered briefly for repairs in 2016, and most recently and regrettably, was the site of a bizarre MAGA hat sword attack a year ago.
According to the documentation above from the SF Planning Department, the property owner is seeking a “conversion of a vacant church into residential uses including 36 group housing rooms and one dwelling unit with subterranean parking garage.” So these “36 group housing rooms” could be some badly needed housing, or could be some corporate housing Airbnb scheme. SFist would have checked all the individual permit requests for more information, but the SF Planning website for that information is having a spinning pinwheel of death kind of day.
But the spinning wheels of the Church of 8 Wheels have been rolling long before taking over that Fillmore church location. The project is an outgrowth of the Sunday Golden Gate Park roller skating meetup that’s been going for decades, and the Church’s founder Rev. David Miles Jr. has been involved in the popular Burning Man attraction Black Rock Roller Disco that dates back to 1999. So the organization has wheels, and can travel.
To that end, the Church is prepared to move to another church if need be. There are other vacant churches in town. Further, the Planning Department permit requests hasn’t even had its first public hearing yet (that’s scheduled for March 25), and City Hall red tape can make these things take years. In the meanwhile, the right rolling Rev. Miles has a “mobile rink” that’s been deployed to Burning Man and other destinations.
“It’s not religion, it’s roll-igion. That’s what makes this so special,” Miles told the Chronicle. “It’s like religion you can feel and touch, expressed on wheels.”
The Church of 8 Wheels will still continue is regular schedule of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday skating sessions for the foreseeable future.
Related: Caitlyn Jenner Laces Up Roller Skates At SF's Church Of 8 Wheels [SFist]
Image: Courtney Y. via Yelp