Despite attempts at intervention, Haight Ashbury Music Center still set to close

Despite attempts at intervention, Haight Ashbury Music Center still set to close
Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline
By Camden Avery - Published on September 23, 2019.

It's been a month and a half since the Haight Ashbury Music Center (1540 Haight St.) announced its plans to close at the end of October.

Massoud Badakhshan has owned the music center for four decades, making him currently the second-longest-tenured individual business owner in the Upper Haight, after Distractions' Jim Siegel. (While there are older Haight businesses, like Mendel's and Roberts Hardware, they've undergone changes in ownership over the years.)

Since Badakhshan announced he was closing the store, various neighbors have made attempts to intervene and find a new owner for the Music Center, to continue the legacy of what they see as an anchor neighborhood establishment. 

But Badakhshan declined to apply for the city's legacy business program before closing up shop, and a sale doesn't appear to be in the offing.

Photo: Sharon B./Yelp

Lisa Halton, a resident who's taken music lessons through the center for six years, ran a local petition to help secure legacy status for the business.

"It grieves me" to see the center close, she said. "I've seen so many places that I care about around the city have to close because of high rents."

But Badakhshan, 70, says that his rent — $15,000 a month, according to one source familiar with the business — is only a part of the picture, not all of it.

"There's only so much I can do in my lifetime," he said, "and I've already spent 60 percent of my life on Haight Street."

"I love the community and I'd like to be part of the community," he noted, but he can't sustain the work schedule anymore. However, he's not retiring; he will continue to operate his Redwood City music store, Gelb Music

The store is currently hosting a liquidation sale, with deep discounts on its remaining stock. We'll keep you updated on the future of the space.