The hotel and music studio space opened more than six years ago as a labor of love for owner and musician Rudy Colombini.
It currently offers 14 rehearsal studios in the basement of the building available for as low as $5 for two hour sessions, general manager Peter Jacobsen told us. When the building reopens next year, there will be an additional 10 studios, with the music space growing from 6,000 to 18,000 square feet, he said.
A hostel occupies the two top floors of the historic building, which was originally constructed in 1907. There are 18 tourist hotel rooms and 18 monthly single-room occupancy units. No additional hotel rooms will be added, but they will be renovated with new plumbing, electrical work, and sound proofing, Jacobsen said.
The renovations will also expand the collection of images featuring well-known local musicians that adorn the building's halls and entryways.
The building’s collection started with an agreement with Getty Images to post about 50 images of San Francisco musicians. There are about 70 images on display currently, most of which are printed on three-foot high aluminum slabs, according to Jacobsen.
Former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres is the content director for the expanded “San Francisco Music Historical Experience,” which will feature more than 100 exhibits and informational displays about the history of music throughout San Francisco. It will also include a huge new custom video wall that displays point-of-view stage footage from the building’s performance spaces.
Once the building reopens, it will have a new 146-person capacity restaurant, cafe, and full-service bar, a community stage, and three new performance spaces, the largest of which could hold up to 60 people, Jacobsen said.
These new venues are designed for artist showcases, but will also feature full recording capabilities, and can be used for classes or other educational events, as theaters, or as karaoke studios.
A radio/TV system will accommodate on-demand recording and streaming in each of the studio spaces and venues.
To kick off the project, Music City is hosting a groundbreaking celebration from 1-7 p.m. on Sunday, November 10, in Fern Alley just behind the building between Bush and Sutter streets.
Performances are planned by Colombini and his band, The Unauthorized Rolling Stones, as well as a suite of other local musicians including The Mints, The Fluorescents, Thank You Come Again, The Fixins, and the Larkin Street Youth Singers. The event, co-hosted by the Lower Polk Community Benefit District, will also feature food and drinks from local businesses Lers Ros, El Lopo, and Contraband Coffee.
Locally-made wares will be available for purchase from Fleet Wood, and speakers will include representatives from local non-profits such as Larkin Street Youth Services, the Coalition on Homelessness, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. The event is free to attend and family friendly.