Seismic Retrofit Leaves Marina Dog Groomer With Bone To Pick

The Marina outpost of dog groomer Mudpuppy’s (2414 Chestnut St. at Divisadero) has yet to reopen after closing in March for a city-mandated soft-story seismic retrofit. It might never.

“... it looks like [Mudpuppy’s on Chestnut] never reopened after its seismic retrofit …” tipster Eric K. told us. “There’s a ‘For Lease’ sign up this time, so it’s definitely for real.

The shuttered Chestnut Street storefront. | Photo: Mudpuppy's/Facebook

In March, owner Daniel Bergerac, along with his business partner Todd Ahlberg, was given two weeks notice to vacate the premises while construction on the building took place.

“We were incredulous,” wrote Bergerac on his website. “The plans were drawn up, the construction crew was scheduled, even the parking permits were obtained for construction vehicles. We had no option but to scramble, quickly, to move out of the space, relocate our employees and alert our customers as to what was going on.”

The work was scheduled to take six weeks; however, Bergerac predicted it would take at least 10 weeks. Although the goal was to have Mudpuppy’s on Chestnut up and running again by May 27th, nearly six months after initial work began, the shop is still shuttered. 

Mudpuppy's layout before the retrofit. | Image provided by Mudpuppy's

“After the retrofit, the space has been reconfigured in a way that makes operating Mudpuppy’s profitably impossible,” Bergerac told Hoodline via text. He described his feelings as “heartbroken” and “angry.”

Bergerac claims the retrofit removed 200 square feet without his approval or consent, and whereas an ADA compliant bathroom was added, that too has contributed to the owner’s frustrations with the now seismically-sound space.

Because the expanded bathroom, which absorbed Mudpuppy’s fourth grooming station, requires a three-foot wide path of access, two other grooming stations aren’t functional, leaving the Marina shop with only one workspace. 

Additionally, two 20-by-28-inch concrete pillars were added to the middle of the pet salon to shore up the new steel supports, and “many odd angles and narrow spaces were introduced” that aren’t conducive to Mudpuppy’s operation.

Here's a look at the space after the retrofit. Shaded areas represent where Mudpuppy's can no longer operate. | IMAGE PROVIDED BY MUDPUPPY'S

“If the layout of the space was as it is now three years ago when we were looking for a Marina location,” wrote Bergerac, “we would have passed on this space without hesitation and kept looking.”

Bergerac said the property’s manager, Meridian Property Management Group, allegedly withheld the blueprints until just days before construction began.

Had he known about the planned loss of floorspace, he said “we might have been able to save this location.” (Note: We left a voicemail with Meridian; however, we have yet to speak with a representative from the company).

Although Bergerac hasn’t surrendered the lease, Mudpuppy's on Chestnut is closed, and the matter, the owner put it, is in “legal limbo.”

“Our substantial investment in the Chestnut Street location, from initial construction to carrying the usual initial loss of a new business, is effectively down the drain,” Bergerac wrote on Mudpuppy’s website.

In the meantime, Mudpuppy’s has beefed up its Castro Street operation, expanding the operation by 500 square feet and welcoming former Chestnut patrons (and pups) to the Castro location.

According to Bergerac, all of of Mudpuppy’s Marina employees who were working temporarily out of the Castro shop while the retrofit was taking place are staying on board, doubling the facility’s capacity.

 “We have looked at this from every angle, hoping to come up with a solution, leading to a reopening announcement …” wrote Bergerac. “As it looks right now, barring some sort of miracle, Chestnut will likely not reopen at all.”

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