Out Of The Closet Closing, Services Moving To Castro

Photos: Rose Garrett / Hoodline
By Andrew Dudley - Published on October 09, 2014.
Another neighborhood fixture will soon be leaving the area, as Out of the Closet plans to vacate its current home at Church and Duboce later this month.

Ged Kenslea, a spokesperson for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) which runs Out of the Closet, confirmed the news to us yesterday. Kenslea told us the Duboce Triangle location’s thrift store retail operation will come to an end, while its pharmacy and health care services will be moving to the Castro.

There, the organization will possibly span two locations, with the pharmacy component planned for 18th Street and the health care clinic set to face Castro. As we reported earlier this summer, AHF may face some formula retail constraints related to those endeavors, as it currently operates 22 Out of the Closet locations throughout the United States.

Kenslea said that the relocation will be more convenient for the organization’s 257 patients, many of whom live in the Castro. But another factor for the move may have been a recent legal dispute between AHF and its Church Street landlord, Maitri

As was reported by the Bay Area Reporter in July, Maitri filed a lawsuit last year against AHF, claiming the organization had failed to pay its monthly rent of $25,185 on the space at 100 Church Street. The case wound its way through the court system, and was scheduled to go to a jury trial this week, but the parties reached a last-minute settlement

We spoke yesterday with Maitri’s executive director Michael Smithwick, who told us that a separate civil court case is still pending. But Smithwick had praise for AHF, calling it a “great organization that does great work" and adding that the dispute between the groups was solely about rent and tenancy.

Smithwick also said that Maitri is now seeking a replacement tenant for 100 Church Street. It’s a 7,400 square foot space, with a portion configured for a medical clinic and another for a pharmacy, but otherwise open and flexible. While we had heard a rumor that a residential development could be next for the corner, Smithwick told us that the lot is not zoned for that kind of building.   

Out of the Closet originated with a single store in L.A.’s Atwater Village in 1990. The Duboce Triangle location opened on October 4th, 2003. While the two other SF locations, at Polk and California and at 9th and Folsom, will continue in business (including their thrift store operations), our local branch will close up shop by the end of October. 

The thrift shop is currently running a 50 percent off closing sale, with Halloween items discounted 30 percent. So, if you’ve been dawdling on your Halloween costume planning, consider yourself warned.

Thanks to reader Junji Harlow for the tip.
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