Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Venn on Market, the building next to the SF LGBT center, signs first retail tenant

A personal gym is slated to move into on of the storefronts at Venn on Market. Image courtesy of Christiani Johnson Architects

A personal gym is slated to move into one of the storefronts at Venn on Market. Image courtesy of Christiani Johnson Architects

Two years after it opened, the building next to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center has signed its first retail tenant.

According to leasing agent Kevin Velotta, with Blatteis Realty, a personal fitness gym is set to move into the 2,034 square foot ground floor storefront at 1844 Market Street.

The building, known as Venn on Market, opened in early 2014 after years of delays in its construction. Yet both of its two retail spaces have remained vacant.

The identity of the owners of the personal fitness gym that leased the building’s larger storefront remains unknown. Velotta told the Bay Area Reporter the business moving in “would like to keep it discreet for now.”

The building’s other storefront, which measures 1,826 square feet, “has some activity as well,” said Velotta, though he did not specify what kind of business was interested in the space or how soon the lease would be signed.

The 113-unit Venn apartment complex, designed by Christiani Johnson Architects, had been approved back in 2007. Work on the site then started but soon stopped, leaving a pit in the ground that lay fallow for years.

As theĀ B.A.R. noted in a 2012 article, the initial developer was forced to sell the project, then that buyer offloaded the $55 million project to MacFarlane Partners, which saw it to fruition. At the time, Susan Smartt, who was the managing director for West Coast development at MacFarlane Partners, had told the B.A.R. that the company was conferring with the LGBT Community Center about potential retailers.

Their goal was to find retail uses that contribute “to the vibe of the neighborhood,” said Smartt, now executive vice president for Related California.

Having Venn’s retail spaces activated could boost the LGBT center’s efforts to find a cafe operator willing to lease a portion of the ground floor in its building that is closest to its next door neighbor. Bringing in a new cafe is part of its planned interior remodel for the building, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The LGBT center had previously leased the space to a gay owned coffeehouse, but it closed in 2008 amid a rent dispute. Since then the center has mostly used the area for extra seating or meeting space.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 23, 2016 @ 3:51 pm PST
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