Over the last 18 months, the century-old former auto garage at 930 Cole St. has been transformed into a retail space that will bring three new businesses to the heart of Cole Valley. The departure of Cole Garage was felt deeply by many long-time residents, but the building's owner and new tenants say they're working to be good neighbors.
The 9,600-square-foot building has already announced two tenants: GoHealth Urgent Care and Urban Sol Yoga. Now, they've signed up a third: a still-undisclosed women's boutique, according to Linda Hothem, CEO of Pacific American Group, the building's owner. (Neighboring restaurant Zazie had been contemplating opening a second location in the third space, but ultimately passed.)
[Update: Leenie Rae Boutique, owned by Arlene Rae, will be the final client to move in.]
The building is still being prepared, and a ridge skylight over a new corridor for the yoga studio should be finished in approximately two months, Hothem said via email. "The facade painting, signage and exterior is [our] top priority to complete," she added. "We hope to wrap that up within the next 30 days."
GoHealth Urgent Care will be the first of the three new businesses to debut, with plans to open on Monday, October 17th, according to COO Gary Weatherford.
This week, workers installed a projecting wall sign with the clinic's logo, and in sidewalk conversations and on social media, some Cole Valley residents expressed dismay at the signage, which received Planning approval for nighttime illumination.
"Given the look, dimensions and feedback," GoHealth and Pacific American Group mutually decided the sign was a poor fit, said Hothem. Yesterday afternoon, a work crew on a scissor lift wrapped the sign in canvas.
Although GoHealth worked with community groups before mounting the sign, Weatherford said he hoped to instead install a new treatment that's more in keeping with surrounding businesses.
"We decided yesterday to paint the name and logo on the building instead of signs," said Hothem, who added that a blade sign mounted perpendicular to the building's facade "is still under consideration."
"GoHealth is very considerate of the neighborhood, and is trying to get this signage issue dealt with respectfully," Hothem said.
This morning, painters started covering the building's facade, which includes an extensive mural of beloved and departed Cole Valley pets. Weatherford said the plan is for a new mural featuring all of the departed pets, and noted that Hothem is in talks with Angela Tirrell, the muralist who was commissioned by former garage owner Dirk Spencer in 2008.
The original mural reached from sidewalk to roofline, growing over time after residents contacted Spencer to ask that their pet be included.
"Linda [Hothem] had always intended for the mural to be recreated," said Weatherford, and via email, artist Tirrell confirmed that she's in the "research stage" for recreating the mural on a large fabric panel that "would stretch across the evening protection metal gate, to soften the entrance." According to Tirrell, some Cole Valley Fair attendees said the gate "seems [like] a strong visual which the neighborhood is not used to."
Tirrell said Pacific American Group and architect Saul Pichardo "are entirely committed to re-creating the portraits of each and every pet from the original mural." In the meantime, she's looking into ecologically sound inks, paints and solvents to use on the new piece.
"I am very grateful that the garage's spirit is being preserved, and that all the neighbors who are patrons of this neighborhood mural will see their pets newly created in a cool new format," said Tirrell.
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