Nob Hill Back in Sync!
Live Nation, Masons, Nob Hill Neighborhood Leaders Announce Landmark
Partnership to Restore the Masonic Auditorium
February 27, 2013 Contact: Jessica Berg, 415-385-4876
San Francisco, CA…After years of debate over the future of the Masonic Auditorium and the spirit of Nob Hill past, present and future, Live Nation, the Freemasons of California, the Nob Hill Coalition and the Nob Hill Association have announced an agreement which allows all parties to go forward in harmony.
In 2008, Live Nation and the California Masonic Memorial Temple, the owner of the Nob Hill Masonic Center at California and Taylor Streets, announced plans to renovate the interior of the Masonic Auditorium and to enter into a long-term lease to allow Live Nation the exclusive right to book and manage the venue including concerts, corporate events, and special events. The project was approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors in 2010 over the objections of many Nob Hill neighbors who feared that the renovations would lead to an increase in noise, traffic, loitering, litter and police activity.
The Nob Hill Coalition and the Nob Hill Association filed a lawsuit challenging the project’s exemption from environmental review and a court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered additional analysis. In 2012 the city once again approved a temporary use permit while the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is underway. Thanks to the landmark agreement the parties have paved the way toward seeing the Masonic renovated in keeping with current plans in early 2014, upon completion of the EIR later this year.
“After years of contention, I want to thank Nob Hill neighborhood leaders who worked together to craft a solution that will benefit the neighborhood and our City as a whole. Rather than endless land use battles, the agreement will ensure we are investing in the future of Nob Hill,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu who represents District 3 and the Nob Hill neighborhood.
“The Masonic has been part of Nob Hill since its opening in 1958, and ultimately we all want Nob Hill to continue to be a destination for visitors and locals looking to enjoy the city’s best cultural events, restaurants and hotel hospitality. Once we started working together it became clear that we all have the neighborhood’s best interests at heart, and that we could use this opportunity to look toward the future and do something great for the Masonic, the neighborhood and the city,” said Matt Prieshoff, COO of LiveNation in Northern California.
Greg Galanos, President of the Nob Hill Coalition, added, “This agreement reflects the new spirit of dialogue and community between the residents of Nob Hill and the owner and operator of the iconic Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium. We look forward to working with all stakeholders in the community to make sure our quality of life is preserved and enhanced through this agreement.”
Key tenets of the agreement include:
• Cap on the number of live entertainment events
The number of live entertainment events will be capped at 54 concerts per year with an additional 25 cultural/comedy events per year. In addition, the Masonic will continue to host various ceremonies, corporate meetings and other special events.
• Controls on Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol service is limited to three full-service food and beverage concession stands for public events with 2,000 people or less, with one of the stands located in the VIP-only California room. No more than five full-service stands are allowed for larger public events and there will be no stands inside the auditorium.
• No Opposition to Final Permit
The neighborhood associations agree they will no longer contest the issuance of the Conditional Use Permit, ABC License or Building Permit for the Masonic’s proposed interior renovations.
• Long-term partnership
This is a long term agreement that precludes intensification for twenty years, commits the Masons and Live Nation to a significant number of operating conditions designed to minimize effects on the neighborhood and creates an operational quarterly monitoring group comprised of residents and owner/operators to ensure smooth operation going forward.
• Establishment of the Huntington Park Preservation Fund
Live Nation and the Masons will make ongoing contributions in support of a new Huntington Park Preservation fund which is aimed at upgrading the facilities and making it a preeminent urban park. The initial project will be a major upgrade to the Children’s Playground on the north side of the park which has been in the works for some time and which is also being supported by contributions from neighbors. The capital cost of the Children’s Playground is estimated at $500,000.
• Creation of a School Music Program
Live Nation will sponsor a school music program for schools in District 3. Individual schools will be able to apply for grants for monies to buy musical instruments or fund student music programs, and Live Nation will work to make musical venues available to student performers.
• Reduced rental fees for ethic and cultural live entertainment events
The Masonic has a strong history of use by a diverse selection of ethnic entertainment, and Live Nation will continue to foster this diversity by offering reduced rental rates for ethnic and cultural performers.
• Early access ticketing
In an effort to encourage community use of the Masonic and reduce traffic congestion, Live Nation will offer Early Access Ticketing to residents and property owners in the vicinity of the Masonic. The program will be managed by the Nob Hill Coalition through a new non-profit website called NobHillNow. Per ticket donations will be requested of site users and proceeds will be directed to services in neighboring Chinatown and Tenderloin focusing on homelessness, poverty and elder care.
Gregory Cheng, President of the Nob Hill Association, said, “I’m delighted that this agreement supports the Nob Hill Association’s core mission of strengthening the neighborhood through community. Thanks goes to Supervisor David Chiu who ably navigated the conversation and proved instrumental in helping us reach an agreement. We welcome the opportunity to partner with Live Nation and the Masons to ensure the longterm preservation of Huntington Park and our neighborhood.”
“The agreements reached are perfectly in keeping with the values of the Masons who have acted as stewards of the Masonic Auditorium for over 50 years. We believe in giving back to the community and this allows the building to continue to serve as a hub for music, entertainment and culture while contributing to the fabric of our neighborhood and city,” said Allan Casalou, Grand Secretary of the Freemasons of California.
Masonic Auditorium Key Messages
This landmark agreement allows Nob Hill to chart a new course which respects both the history and the future of the neighborhood as a center for culture, dining, entertainment, and tourism. It fosters the peaceful coexistence of local residents who want to be able to maintain their quality of life and visitors who want to spend time in Nob Hill at its restaurants, parks, hotels and cultural venues.
This is the rare instance of a land use battle resulting in the unification and betterment of a community at large. Once we started listening to one another it became clear we all have the neighborhood’s best interests at heart and there’s been a tremendous amount of trust and camaraderie which has evolved out of this process.
The restoration of the Masonic Auditorium will allow the venue to attract world class talent in music, comedy and special events while setting a gold standard for responsible event management and neighborhood partnership. We are confident that the Masonic will be a star in San Francisco’s cultural constellation for decades to come.
The agreement also ensures that the greater community benefits from the Masonic’s continued operation. Not only will Live Nation and the Masons play a key role in the preservation of Huntington Park, but neighbors will be able to get early access to shows, community groups in nearby Chinatown and the Tenderloin will be poised to receive grants to help address homelessness, poverty and elder care in the community, and schools in District 3 will have a new portal to enhance music education.
For more information follow this link. Masonic Pact reached!
Mille Car Show Returns to Nob Hill, Sunday, April 28, 2013
California’s most celebrated vintage car road tour, the California Mille, returns for its 23rd year, continuing the celebrated tradition of spirited driving in vintage sports cars on the scenic backroads for which they were intended. The cacophony of wonderful sounds produced by Alfa Romeos, Porsche 356s, Jaguar XK120s, Ferraris, Maseratis, and Talbot-Lagos will again resonate through the canyons of Northern California as approximately 70 driver teams participate in the longest-running North American salute to Italy’s famed Mille Miglia (thousand mile) open road race.
This year’s California Mille will celebrate the legacy of the event’s founder, Martin Swig, a lifelong car enthusiast who loved nothing more than exploring the backroads of Northern California in one of his beloved Alfa Romeo sports cars. His two sons, David and Howard Swig, both of whom are serious vintage car enthusiasts deeply bitten by the motoring bug, will organize this year’s Mille, with the capable assistance of longtime Mille Event Planner Dan Radowicz.
The route will feature a selection of the Mille’s most iconic driver’s roads and a cross-section of Northern California’s stunning scenery – complemented by stops at luxury hotels offering epicurean delights along the way. Starting with the customary free car show in front of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill on Sunday, April 28th, the Mille will head north early on Monday morning. An overnight stop in Redding will be followed by Day Two’s challenging and beautiful drive on the hallowed Highway 36, one of California’s driver’s roads.
The Mille will return to bucolic Mendocino for its second night on the road, followed by a variety of coastal and inland routes during days three and four with two overnights at Calistoga’s delightful Solage Resort.
Entry forms will be available in mid-November and entry will be limited to cars of the type that could have competed in the original Mille Miglia event.
The 2013 California Mille “Tribute to Martin Swig” promises to be one of the best Milles yet, drawing on the influence and enthusiasm of the man who most exemplified the spirit of “Mille Miglia” in the United States.
If you’ve already got spring fever…Grow lemons! That’s the idea behind Just OneTree (JOT), a program of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Urban Resource Systems. With a goal of fostering community resilience through fruit tree production, JOT is partnering with neighborhood associations,
nonprofits and City agencies to achieve sustainability in lemon production. Meyer lemons, especially in dwarf or semi-dwarf size, are an ideal crop to illustrate the possibility of greater fruit production in dense cities such as San Francisco. Citrus trees are evergreen, comprise a key ingredient in the diet of many cultures, and can produce up to 200 pounds of fruit per year. They can also be grown indoors in a sunny window, allowing everyone to participate in the sustainability effort for San Francisco. JOT is presently gathering data on San Francisco’s existing lemon trees. With a self-sufficiency need estimated at about 12,000 trees, establishing a baseline of the number and location of lemon trees is crucial for targeting specific neighborhoods to plant more trees and to assist those who want to share extra lemons. JOT relies on “Lemon Ambassadors” and neighborhood associations to catalog lemon trees in the JOT registry. This tool tracks the number and location of lemon trees in the city so that JOT can target specific neighborhoods for future tree planting efforts.
Please help JustOneTree by registering your lemon tree, planting a new tree, andencouraging neighbors and friends to be a part of the movement. Visitwww.justonetree.org for registration and more information.
Contact: Isabel Wade, JOT (415) 601-6992