Issue:  Vol. 45 / No. 10 / 5 March 2015

LGBT Democratic club on Peninsula elects new board

Peninsula Stonewall Democrats Chair Jason Galisatus. (Photo: Elliot Owen)

Peninsula Stonewall Democrats Chair Jason Galisatus. (Photo: Elliot Owen)

Members of the Peninsula Stonewall Democrats, a political club for LGBT people in San Mateo County, elected new leadership Tuesday night due to the departure of the group’s founding chair.

In January Jeffrey Adair, of Redwood City, was elected chair of the Democratic Party in San Mateo County, marking the first time an LGBT person has held the position. Due to his becoming chair, Adair had to resign from his leadership position with the Stonewall club.

Succeeding him as chair is Stanford University senior Jason Galisatus. The Redwood City resident, who was an early member of the Stonewall club, also serves as co-chair of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission.

“I am so honored to have been granted the esteemed privilege of serving as your chair. PSD is a club I am proud to be involved in, and I simply cannot wait to begin to get to work,” Galisatus wrote in a message to the club’s members sent today (Wednesday, February 18). “I’d like to thank Jeffrey Adair for his tireless efforts in bringing this club to fruition and serving as its chair from the very beginning. We wouldn’t be here without you! We wish him the best of luck serving as the chair of our central committee.”

The club also elected Pam Salvatierra as its vice chair, Noveed Safipour as secretary, and Jason Seifer as treasurer. Adair plans to remain involved with the club.

“I will continue to help lead the group, but as chair of the Dem Party in the county, there’s a lot on my plate,” he wrote in a note to the club members announcing the new slate of leaders.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 18, 2015 @ 12:29 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sisters vote not to do Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday in 2011 (Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

Pink Saturday in 2011
(Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence announced today (Friday, February 13) that they have voted to suspend production of Pink Saturday, the annual street party that occurs every year in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Concerns about safety have dogged the street festival, which draws thousands of people, for years, and in June 2014, one of the charitable drag nuns and his husband were attacked.

In an interview Friday, Sister Selma Soul said the Sisters voted “overwhelmingly” this past Tuesday, February 10 at their general membership meeting against doing the event this year. She didn’t know what the final tally was. This year’s event would have been June 27.

“We all feel awful about it, but the reality is, at this state, with no clear vision for the event,” the Sisters didn’t want to be involved, said Soul, whose legal name is James Bazydola.

“We said last year we would not continue it unless we could change it significantly,” said Soul. There had been “a lot of great ideas, but there was no clear leader and no clear vision coming together, and at this late date, we don’t feel the [Sisters'] order should continue with it without that vision.”

Soul, who coordinated the event from 2012 through 2014, said, “We’ll support anyone who wants to do street closure,” but they would “possibly” oppose another group using the name “Pink Saturday.” She said it would depend on “our confidence” in whether others could make the event “safe and successful for the community.”

In a news release, the Sisters – an all-volunteer group – said they “may explore new manifestations of ‘Pink Saturday’” in the future.

The party has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities, but Soul said her group has “diversified our funding a lot,” so it’s not as dependent on the annual pre-LGBT Pride event.

With rising costs over the years, “as a fundraiser, it’s really not very effective anymore,” she said.

Gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro, has been one of the city officials working with the Sisters to try to make fixes to the event.

In a text exchange with the Bay Area Reporter Friday, Wiener said he’s talking with the mayor’s office, police, transportation officials, and others about what to do next.

He said he’ll be talking to other officials “Over the next two weeks,” and they’ll consult with the Sisters “to determine how Pink Saturday will be managed and by whom. I’m optimistic that we will have a path forward.”

Over the last year, many have talked about starting and ending the festival earlier in the day in an attempt to cut down on rowdier crowds, who tend to show up later in the event.

“We very much want Pink Saturday to continue, likely as an event that begins and ends earlier than before,” said Wiener, who the Sisters informed of their decision Wednesday, February 11. “We believe an earlier start and end time will address a number of the problems the event has experienced in recent years.”

The supervisor pointed to the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule around the time of this year’s Pride celebrations whether same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states. Attendance at Pride is likely to increase, especially if the justices rule in favor of marriage equality.

“Pride weekend is likely going to be even bigger than normal,” said Wiener. “We have to be prepared, and that means prepared for Pink Saturday as well.”

Although different groups organize Pink Saturday and the Pride parade and celebration, many people think of the events as being related.

Wiener expressed support for the Sisters.

“I completely respect the Sisters’ decision, which they made after thorough community outreach and thoughtful deliberation,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful for the many years of hard work the Sisters put in to Pink Saturday. The Sisters managed the event through some very trying years, and they did it solely because of their passion for the community.”

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, February 20 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 13, 2015 @ 6:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man knocked down, robbed near Dolores Park

A man was knocked down and robbed late Thursday night, February 12 near San Francisco’s Dolores Park, police said.

The incident occurred at 11 p.m. at 18th and Church streets when the suspect approached the victim, demanded his property, then shoved him to the ground and stole his cellphone and laptop, Sergeant Monica MacDonald, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

The suspect, who MacDonald said “fled the scene,” was described only as a black male and hasn’t been arrested.

The victim, 38, suffered abrasions to his hand but refused medical treatment.

Anyone with information related to the incident may contact the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message. The incident number is 150133468.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 6:07 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wiener calls for hearing on Kaiser’s HIV drug pricing

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is calling for a hearing on Kaiser Permanente making people who are living with HIV pay more for their drugs, Wiener announced today (Friday, February 13).

People living with HIV/AIDS and advocates are concerned about increased costs for medications since Kaiser has begun requiring people to pay a percentage of the cost of their drugs, rather than a copay amount. Other companies are reportedly doing it, too, but Kaiser has received the most attention.

“It’s very troubling to me to hear that Kaiser is dramatically increasing what people have to pay for HIV medications,” said Wiener, who’s heard it “may not be limited to Kaiser,” and there may be a “broader trend of reclassifying HIV meds as ‘specialty drugs.’”

Either way, “it needs to end. People need to have more access to HIV medications, not less,” said Wiener.

One local company that uses Kaiser to provide health care coverage to employees is Steamworks, which runs a bathhouse in Berkeley and has an office in San Francisco. Larry Hickey, Steamworks’ chief financial officer, said recently that an employee came to him after being “hit with a $900 bill for one month’s supply” of HIV drugs.

Wiener referred to the city’s “Getting to Zero” efforts, which is aimed at ending local HIV transmissions altogether.

“The affordability of HIV medications is a core part” of the initiative, he said. Among other concerns, “people who are positive need to have access to HIV medication so they can stay healthy and so they can suppress their viral load,” since that makes people “much less likely to transmit the virus to anyone else.”

“In San Francisco, we can’t have it that the cost of HIV medication is exploding. …We can’t allow that to happen,” said Wiener.

John Nelson, a spokesman for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, recently said in an email exchange with the Bay Area Reporter that Kaiser made the change “in order to align more closely with the standard plan designs offered in California.” He said, “This means that outpatient specialty drugs will be subject to a coinsurance payment,” which is “a percentage of the total cost” paid after deductibles.

“Coinsurance amounts range from 10 percent to 40 percent of specialty drug costs, depending on a member’s plan,” said Nelson

Wiener said that he’s “a big fan of Kaiser” and called the company “a terrific organization.”

“Kaiser does so many great things around patient care and broader issues of public health, so I look forward to working with Kaiser to try to resolve this,” he said.

Officials from the company will be invited to the hearing, which will likely be heard at a supervisors’ committee “within the next month,” said Wiener. He doesn’t know yet which panel that will be.

Kaiser is one of two insurance providers for city employees. Blue Shield is the other. Wiener said he’s inquiring whether Kaiser’s specialty tier is impacting city workers.

Asked whether it would affect Kaiser’s status as a provider for the city if the company doesn’t change its policy, Wiener said, “It’s very premature to say anything about that. I’m a big fan of Kaiser, and I really want to work with them to resolve this.”

Anne Donnelly, health care policy director for the San Francisco-based Project Inform, said other large plans “have most of the HIV drugs tiered at a reasonable level.”

A concern is if that Kaiser leaves the pricing change in place, others may follow.

“What’s worrisome about Kaiser is they’re a pretty big plan,” said Donnelly. “If they’re doing this, it does seem like a race to the bottom.”

Donnelly noted Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, has a working group looking at specialty drugs.

“We’re looking at several classes of drugs,” including those related to HIV and hepatitis C, said Donnelly. “What we’re trying to determine is if there’s something we can come to as a group that we can recommend or require in the 2016 plan offering” through Covered California.

“I am hopeful that we can come up with something that is less discriminatory than what we currently have,” she said. Donnelly and others are hoping to meet with Kaiser, but “I just don’t know how much leverage we have. … The decision was made at the national level.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lee marks 11th anniversary of same-sex marriages in SF

Almost 11 years ago, on February 15, 2004, the line of same-sex couples waiting for marriage licenses at San Francisco City Hall stretched around the block. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Almost 11 years ago, on February 15, 2004, the line of same-sex couples waiting for marriage licenses at San Francisco City Hall stretched around the block.
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today (Thursday, February 12) recognized the 11th anniversary of the day when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“San Francisco today remains as deeply committed to the fight for marriage equality today as we were 11 years ago,” when Newsom “led the charge on one of the most important civil rights issues of our generation to ensure equal protections and rights for all,” Lee said in a statement.

Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide by June whether all states should allow such marriages.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that the pursuit of happiness, liberty and equality will prevail, and that Supreme Court justices will affirm the right to marriage for all Americans,” said Lee. “Never have we been more committed, and more united, as a city and a nation, behind marriage equality in our country.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 12, 2015 @ 1:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kink to offer ‘50 Skills of Grey’ classes



Taking advantage of the “50 Shades of Grey” film debuting on Valentine’s Day (Saturday, February 14), San Francisco’s Kink University is launching “50 Skills of Grey,” a four-day symposium to educate the “kink-curious” about the Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadomasochism (BDSM) practiced in the film and the books on which it’s based, according to a news release from the university.

The classes will teach skills ranging “from basic bondage to designing one’s own ‘red room of pain,’” the school, which is a project of porn company, said.

The hands-on sessions, which are available as a package or on an individual basis, start Thursday, February 19 with a one-hour introduction to BDSM. The symposium ends Sunday, February 22 with an “Adventure Scenes and Abduction Play” workshop. Other classes include “elevator sex, contracts, dirty talk, and coming out kinky on dates,” the university said.

Prices range from $9.95 to $29.95. The classes take place at Kink’s Armory headquarters, 1800 Mission Street.

A full class schedule is available at



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:39 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tenants of SF church’s apartment building will get to stay, new owner says

138-140 Eureka Street (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

138-140 Eureka Street (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

The man buying the four-unit apartment building owned by Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco for about $1.8 million said today (Wednesday, February 11) that all the tenants will get to stay.

Realtor Patrick Barber said tenants of 138-140 Eureka Street  will “absolutely” be allowed to remain. The announcement in December that the building would be sold had sparked some concern that tenants would be evicted.

Barber said the only changes he’ll make will be updates such as painting the building, which is over 100 years old, and ensuring compliance with the health and safety code. He said he wants the building to be “beautiful.”

He said he’s buying the property because “I’m a native to San Francisco,” and he thinks the city “is an incredible investment, even though some people think the market is overblown.”

With low rates giving him the ability to borrow money, the property “is the best possible investment for me and my family,” said Barber, who’s with the firm Pacific Union and is married with six children. He added, “I’m buying this for the long, long term.”

The sale will close Thursday, February 12. The building had been listed at about $1.5 million.

MCC-SF, which has been based in the Castro district and served as the spiritual home for many LGBTs for decades, put its church building at 150 Eureka Street and the adjacent apartment building on the market in January.

Last week, 150 Eureka Street, LLC was announced as the buyer of the sanctuary, which the church is selling because it’s in disrepair.

David Papale, who heads the 150 Eureka corporation, which paid $2.3 million for the crumbling building, said he plans to put luxury condos on the site.

The church recently held its last service at the property and is now sharing space with First Congregational Church of San Francisco at 1300 Polk Street.

The Reverend Robert Shively, MCC-SF’s senior pastor, has said the church decided to sell the sanctuary and the apartment building because “We feel selling them both at the same time gives us the best opportunity for the future.”

Other buildings Barber owns include 4327 18th Street, where tenants include Center Salon and Beyond. The salon is near Barber’s latest acquisition.

“My tenants love me,” he said. “I’m all about making a safe space for them to enjoy and leaving them alone so they can enjoy their homes.”

Asked via Facebook for his reaction to Barber’s pledge to let tenants at 138-140 Eureka stay, gay tenant Lawrence Chatfield said, “Well it’s obviously good.”

Barber said he won’t be raising the rent, and Chatfield, who’s lived in the building for almost six years, said, “He can’t raise rents in [the city] so that wasn’t surprising.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 11, 2015 @ 5:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Trans woman dead in Bayview stabbing

Taja de Jesus (Photo: Courtesy Nicole Denise Bertrand)

Taja de Jesus (Photo: Courtesy Nicole Denise Bertrand)

A woman who died after being stabbed last Sunday, February 1 in San Francisco’s Bayview district was transgender.

The medical examiner’s office has identified the woman as Taja de Jesus, 36, according to Bay City News. A medical examiner’s office couldn’t confirm the name this morning (Friday, February 6) because his computer was down.

Police responding to a stabbing found De Jesus at 9:02 a.m. Sunday in a stairway in the 1400 block of McKinnon Street, Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, said in a summary.

A Bayview police station newsletter said, “officers were provided with the unit number and were informed that the suspect was still inside. On arrival, the officers located the 36-year-old victim inside the unit with multiple stab wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The officers secured the crime scene, preserved all evidence, and obtained witness statements. The suspect had fled prior to the officers’ arrival, but is believed to have been identified.”

A friend confirmed to the Bay Area Reporter that de Jesus was transgender.

In an interview Friday, Gatpandan said a suspect has been identified, but there hasn’t been an arrest. She could not provide a description or other information related to the suspect, but said police might release more information “later in the week.”

Gatpandan said at least one person had come upon de Jesus after the stabbing, but they did not witness the actual incident.

The case is “not being investigated as a hate crime,” she said. She couldn’t discuss a possible motive, but said, de Jesus “wasn’t stabbed for being transgender.”

A knife was used in the incident, but Gatpandan couldn’t share more information about the weapon.

Although she couldn’t provide more information on the suspect, Gatpandan said, “He’s not a threat to public safety, so no one should be worried about a murderer running around.”

Cleaning crews' vehicles outside the apartment where Taja de Jesus was killed. (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

Cleaning crews’ vehicles Friday, February 6 outside the apartment where Taja de Jesus was killed. (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

[Update Friday, February 6]: Danielle Castro, a friend of de Jesus’, said that de Jesus’ mother told her that the suspect hanged himself. She didn’t know the man’s name. De Jesus’ mother couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

In response to an email, Gatpandan said it “has not been confirmed” that the suspect hanged himself, but citing unnamed police sources, SF Weekly reported Friday that he had hanged himself in the 4000 block of Third Street Monday, February 2. According to the medical examiner’s office, the man has been identified as James Hayes, 49, a “Bay Area resident with no confirmed address at this time.”

Jen Arens, a social worker at the Salvation Army near where de Jesus was killed, said de Jesus had recently had problems with her boyfriend. She couldn’t elaborate, but in a follow-up email, she said de Jesus “never indicated that her relationship was violent.” Arens didn’t recognize Hayes’ name, but said “a  lot of people go by nicknames.”

Castro said de Jesus was “very light-hearted, funny, and just a beautiful, gentle soul,” and “very religious,” but she’d also struggled with drug use and other problems.

A “die-in” is being planned for 4 p.m., Monday, February 9 at City Hall to protest violence against transgender women.

De Jesus had lived in the apartment where she was killed, friends said. Workers Friday were cleaning up bloody carpet and other materials from the unit.[End update]

Anyone with information related to the case may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 150097137.

The B.A.R. will have more on de Jesus in the Thursday, February 12 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 6, 2015 @ 10:58 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Benefit set for trans homeless person who died in Castro

The person known in the Castro as Anastasia. Photo: Courtesy Downtown Donna

The person known in the Castro as Anastasia. Photo: Courtesy Downtown Donna

The SF Eagle bar in San Francisco’s South of Market district is hosting a beer bust for Anastasia, 50, the transgender homeless person who died December 31 outside the Peet’s Coffee shop in the Castro neighborhood.

City records shared this week with the Bay Area Reporter show several calls were made to emergency responders to help her just before she died.

The Eagle benefit is from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, February 7 at the bar, which is located at 398 12th Street.

“No family has come forward to claim her,” a flier for the event says. “She was so very loved by those in the neighborhood. Let’s all make sure that she will be laid to rest with dignity.”

In another announcement, organizers said a non-denominational memorial will be held at Sullivan’s Funeral Home, 2254 Market Street, but the date hasn’t been determined.

All proceeds from the Eagle “will pay for the various costs involved,” organizers said. “Anything raised over and above this amount will be used for a plaque in Anastasia’s honor.” The rest will be donated to the Homeless Youth Alliance.

Drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, are $15 with food. Food only is $6.

“If you’d like to just come in and donate to the cause for Anastasia’ s memorial any donation will be collected as well, and is greatly appreciated,” organizers said.

For information on other ways to contribute, send an email to

“All humans deserve the dignity of love in their final hours and to not die alone,” the announcement said. San Francisco “is a compassionate city and we hope that with all the changes our beloved city is undergoing, that we not forget our most vulnerable inhabitants. Blessed Be.”

Anastasia who was well known in the Castro neighborhood, had refused numerous offers of shelter and other services, according to people who knew her, even though many people said she’d appeared to be in declining health before she died at the coffee shop, which is at 2257 Market Street.

The city was experiencing a severe cold snap at the time Anastasia was found. The medical examiner’s office isn’t likely to publicly release the cause and manner of her death for several months. Officials have not indicated there were any signs of foul play.

Many who knew Anastasia use feminine pronouns when referring to her and have indicated she was likely transgender, although it’s not clear if that’s how she self-identified.

Records show final hours

City computer-aided dispatch records recently provided to the B.A.R. in response to a public records request appear to confirm a report on the Hoodline news site that several calls had been made to get help for Anastasia the morning she was found dead.

The first 911 call, at 5:46 a.m., was related to a man on the bench in front of Peet’s who appeared to be “completely awake” and alert.

“He was heard talking,” and “he is sitting now,” but “it’s not known if he is moving at all,” the records say.

The documents indicate that the fire department arrived at the scene at 6:03, and the report was closed at 6:24. As with much of the information provided to the B.A.R., it isn’t immediately apparent what exactly happened when responders got to Peet’s.

At 6:28, the records show, someone called police with what’s described as a “homeless complaint.”

The report involved a 45-year-old white male adult in front of Peet’s who was covered in a gray blanket.

The subject was “shivering outside” and the caller was “concerned” and wanted police “to come out and see if they can get him to HOT team,” the records say, referring to the city’s Homeless Outreach Team.

Police were at the scene at 6:37, and at 6:48, the subject was referred to a shelter and the report was closed. The records don’t give any clear indication of what the subject’s response was to any of the responders.

The next call to police came at 7:07. In the incident, which was classified as “trespasser,” the person, who was in their 50s, was reported laying on the bench under a dark blanket. Police were at the location at 7:13, and the incident was closed at 7:23.

Another 911 call came at 10:04. The caller indicated that the subject was gasping for breath, and that a defibrillator wasn’t available.

At the same time, the records say, the subject had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, and was likely dead.

The call was given the highest priority, and lights and sirens were used in responding to the scene, according to Francis Zamora, a spokesman for the Department of Emergency Management Services, who helped the Bay Area Reporter decipher the codes and acronyms displayed in the documents.

Police were on the scene at 10:08.

“Police must secure the scene when there is a death,” Zamora said in an email.

It’s not immediately clear from the records when Anastasia was declared dead, but Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the fire department, has said in an email in January, “An engine, ambulance, and rescue captain were dispatched at 10:01 to the location. … The reporting party said that it looked as though a homeless person had passed out.”

Talmadge added, “Upon arrival it was determined that the individual was deceased. There was no indication that there was any trauma involved.”

The computer-aided dispatch files indicate a “hose down” was requested at 10:58 since the “person was covered in lice and scabies.”

The report was closed at 12:11 p.m.

The B.A.R. could not confirm that each record was related to Anastasia, since the records were redacted to protect personal information. However, the details appear to match Anastasia’s physical description and her location that morning.

Several people have described seeing Anastasia in the hours just before she died, beginning the night of Tuesday, December 30.

In a January interview, Barry Lawlor, 51, one of the last people to see Anastasia alive, said he put a blanket that he’d brought over her at about 8:30 p.m. that night as she lay on the bench in front of Peet’s.

“She was freezing,” said Lawlor, who had frequently seen her around the neighborhood. “She was totally cold, and a little out of it.”

However, he said, when he asked her if she was warm enough, she said, “Yes.” He added, “She seemed like she could mange. … She didn’t seem like she was on death’s doorstep.”

Bevan Dufty, who serves as director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) for Mayor Ed Lee, has been working to re-launch the city’s homeless death review committee, which would include officials from the medical examiner’s office, the health department, and other agencies

One of the aims of the panel would be to examine the deaths of people like Anastasia, to see what contacts they’d had with service providers, and what may have been done to prevent the loss.

“I believe her tragic death can be a rallying point to make sure we don’t leave people behind,” Dufty, who recalled seeing Anastasia around the neighborhood, said in January.

Sam Dodge, HOPE’s deputy director, said in an email Tuesday, February 3 that the Dr. Barry Zevin, the Homeless Outreach Team’s medical director, is working on a memorandum of understanding with the agencies involved, “but the whole process is agreed to and should start soon.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 5, 2015 @ 6:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Luxury condos to replace Castro church


Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, 150 Eureka Street (Photo: MCC-SF)

The Castro district building that’s housed San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church for decades will be replaced by two luxury residential buildings, according to one of the people who just paid about $2.3 million for the crumbling church at 150 Eureka Street. There will be a total of four condo units.

David Papale is the agent heading 150 Eureka Street LLC, which closed the sale Wednesday, February 4.

Last Sunday, February 1, the church held its last service at the site before moving to the space it will share with First Congregational Church of San Francisco at 1300 Polk Street. MCC-SF has attributed its move to the high cost of what it would take to repair the Eureka Street building, which is more than 100 years old. The congregation voted unanimously to sell the church.

“As you know, the Metropolitan Church is moving out because the building is not safe for occupancy,” said Papale, who’s with San Francisco’s Laurel Village Realtors. “We’re going to talk to the city planning department about building condominiums there.” He said his corporation wants to subdivide the property into two lots, with two condominiums on each lot.

He didn’t know when demolition would start on the current building.

“It’s all very premature,” Papale said. “It’s going to take some time to go through the city departments, so I can’t really say.” However, he added, the new architecture “will be consistent with the neighboring properties.”

The price range on the new residences is also unknown.

“I can’t say that until I know what the city will allow us to put there, but I can say they will be luxury condominiums,” Papale said.

He said the neighborhood is appealing to him because “it’s all residential.” It’s also in “close proximity to the commercial shopping district, but it’s got the old world flavor of Eureka Valley,” he said, referring to the neighborhood that’s considered part of the larger Castro district.

Many people have become worried about the lack of affordable housing in the Castro and other neighborhoods, but Papale didn’t express any concern about the potential for opposition to his project.

“All I can tell you is that the city is looking for housing,” he said. “There’s a need for more housing, so I don’t know how to respond to someone who doesn’t want housing there. … This is a small infill project. It’s not a 50-unit high rise development.”

There’s no timeline for the project yet.

“I’m months and months and months away from even getting anything on a plan,” Papale said.

He plans to talk to people in the community about the project.

“I will be reaching out to the neighborhood communities when I’m ready to have something to discuss with them. Right now, I don’t,” Papale said.

He’ll be talking to neighbors and groups like the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association.

“They will have an opportunity to review what our plans are once we have something to present,” he said.

Papale said he has two partners in the 150 Eureka corporation, but “I’d prefer not to list their names.”

Gary Gee will be the architect.

The church building went on sale in early January with a price listed at $2 million.

Realtor Katharine Holland, who’s handling the sales, said in an email Wednesday, that Papale’s corporation “is a successful residential development team that specializes in small residential projects. They are proud of their work blending new buildings into existing neighborhoods. An example is at 251 32nd Avenue in the Seacliff neighborhood in San Francisco. They are well-known in San Francisco for quality projects.”

MCC-SF is also selling the occupied four-unit apartment building at 138-140 Eureka Street, which is adjacent to the church.

Holland that there were 10 offers on the residential property, which was listed at $1.5 million, and it will close escrow Wednesday, February 11.

“The owner is not a developer and has promised to leave all tenants in place,” she said. She hasn’t disclosed who the new owner is.

In an email blast Wednesday, MCC-SF said its first services at Polk Street will be Sunday, February 8, at noon (traditional service), and 6 p.m. (high-energy gospel service).

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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