San Francisco

After closing Valencia cafe, Borderlands Books nearing move to Upper Haight

A year and a half after first announcing its plan to move into a purchased building in the Upper Haight, Borderlands Books — the Mission's longtime science fiction, fantasy and mystery bookshop — is almost ready to make the leap. 

Purchased with the help of $1.9 million in crowdfunded loans from dozens of longtime patrons, the new building at 1373 Haight St. (at Masonic) is intended to secure the bookstore's long-term viability, said owner Alan Beatts.

Last month, Beatts closed Borderlands' sister cafe on Valencia Street. And as soon as the new building is complete, he'll vacate the other half of the Valencia space to make the move to the Haight. 

Borderlands will soon depart its original location on Valencia, where it's been for 17 years. | Photo: Andrew D./Yelp

After over a year of renovations and building permit compliance upgrades, not to mention hours of labor from dedicated volunteers, Beatts says the opening is tantalizingly close, with an estimated move-in date to be announced within the month.

"We're reaching the stage where I don't think there's a whole lot of surprises to be found," Beatts said. "Everything that's going to be torn out is torn out," and what remains is "a pretty straightforward construction job": electrical and plumbing work, and cosmetic improvements.

Though the Haight shop's opening date was originally set for fall 2018, Beatts said he's fine with the delays. He wants to do the work right, rather than quickly — after all, "I'm going to be here for the rest of my life," he noted. 

Borderlands closed the cafe half of its Valencia Street storefront last month. | Photo: Maggie J./Yelp

Asked whether he might resurrect Borderlands' cafe on Haight Street, Beatts said probably not.

"It's a matter of space," he said. "A cafe takes up a lot of physical room," and the new shop is already about 10 percent smaller than the Valencia Street location.

Beatts expressed particular gratitude for his team of volunteers, adding that the renovations he's made in the new space would have been impossible without them.

"With what construction costs are like in San Francisco right now, we're really, really glad that we're able to do the work ourselves," he said. 

1377 Haight Street

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