Yesterday, the news hit that the Gold Dust Lounge's landlord was suing the bar owners for not leaving the premises as of March 10, when their lease was up. But it seems Gold Dusters have recovered today with another last-minute victory that could (hopefully) preserve the favored watering hole.
At the regular Board of Supervisors meeting, newly appointed Supervisor Christina Olague proposed a moratorium on conversions in the Union Square district, which would essentially stop Jon Handlery, landlord of the Gold Dust Lounge building, from replacing the bar with a new Express clothing store.
Here's what Olague said:
I think we need an assessment of this important conservation district to determine if tighter controls are necessary to prevent the displacement of locally-owned restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment venues by the highest bidders, or we will risk losing the in the mist that attracts people to shop downtown instead of where they live. What kind of shopping experience will they have when there is nothing left to talk about when they go home, and how much will it cost the city if they stop coming?
Specifically, the supervisor is interested in "landmarking" this building for its cultural history, pointing out that the quirky tourist bar has been a huge contributor to the historic Union Square district and its national landmarks, such as the iconic cable cars. And she should know -- as a member of the city's Planning Commission for the last seven years, Olague is nothing if not pedantic when it comes to city planning and preservation.
"We can hopefully stop the displacement of a contributor ... with yet another national retailer selling goods that can be purchased in any mall in in the city in America."
So it appears Gold Dust Lounge patrons have another reason to hit the bar today and get lit.
"Willie Brown warned Jon Handlery this was coming," Lee Houskeeper, spokesman for the bar told us. "I am pretty sure Christina has the votes."
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