A group of investors who had announced they were buying a building in San Francisco’s gay Castro district to open the flagship location for a new chain of gay male burlesque venues has abandoned those plans, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.
According to sources, the company RR-SF, which stands for Randy Rooster, over a month ago withdrew its offer to purchase 400 Castro Street for $7.7 million. The now vacant historic building had housed the clothing chain Diesel and sits adjacent to Harvey Milk Plaza and the Castro Muni station.
The proposal had met with fiercely negative neighborhood reaction, partly due to the batched roll-out of the proposed gay gentlemen’s club. News about the venue first leaked online and had described it as a gay strip club that would feature nude performers.
The investor group behind RR-SF failed to immediately address the Internet reports to refute the nudity claims. And their presentation to a Castro merchants group in May left more questions than answers about what the project would actually entail.
It remains unclear whether the investors intend to look for a different location, either in the Castro or elsewhere in the city, or if their proposal is now entirely dead.
Attempts to reach Robert Andrew Casey, listed as RR-SF.com, Inc.’s chief operating officer and director, were unsuccessful today (Friday, August 9). His cell phone has been disconnected.
An email to the spokeswoman who released a press statement about Randy Rooster’s plans resulted in a message that she was out of the office until next week. And her associate did not immediately respond to the B.A.R.‘s questions.
Sarah Brett, a sales associate with Colliers International’s San Francisco office, confirmed to the B.A.R. that the Randy Rooster group had opted to withdraw from escrow earlier this summer. She said the building can still be purchased and that the two retail spaces remain available for lease.
“We would very much like to find a tenant for both spaces,” said Brett.
According to the online listing, the main retail space fronting Harvey Milk Plaza totals 3,760 square feet. A second, smaller storefront fronting Castro Street measures 1,270 square feet. (The phone company Sprint has leased it for years but that expires in December.)
The rents for both are “negotiable,” according to the listing.
Brett said they are open to hearing from both local retailers and chain stores about the storefronts. But due to the recent adoption of rules aimed at keeping formula retailers out of such prominent corner storefronts, interest from national retailers has waned a bit for that location, she said.
“There has been some hesitancy for formula retailers to look at the space,” said Brett.
Because it had been leased by Diesel, an international brand, a formula retailer with strong neighborhood support could still apply to open in the space, noted Brett, despite the recently adopted rules.
As the listing notes, the building’s larger retail space provides for a “fantastic opportunity in the Castro, high ceilings, exposed brick, great windows and signage availability. This space is ideally located at the crossroads of the Castro district and busy Market Street.”