The large commercial and residential building at California and Larkin streets that houses the Barleycorn, the Front Room and four residential apartments was sold recently to Ms. Luisa Hanson. Ms. Hanson owns other properties and businesses in the city, notably Luisa's on Union Street.
In her first communication as new owner of the building, Ms. Hanson informed the management of the Barleycorn of her intention to not renew or otherwise negotiate a new lease for either business. This action demonstrates:
- No concern, regard or respect for the community of Lower Nob Hill. These two establishments have been good neighbors and popular for nearly 40 years.
- A risky economic venture. Replacing these establishments without input from the community can only alienate the local residents, especially in the case of the Barleycorn, which has served as a public house, a meeting ground, and the neighborhood “living room” for many locals with tiny apartments.
- In addition, since Lower Nob Hill is not a “destination” neighborhood such as the Castro and the Marina, where folks drive in and then spend the night at different establishments, it is not likely these replacement businesses will draw much non-local business. Without local business, and with no draw for other business, the probability is that within two years these replacements for the Barleycorn and the Front Room will fail and the neighborhood will be left with two vacant storefronts.
- No regard for the special nature of the Barleycorn. It not only fits the needs of its community, but it is a hidden gem of value to the city of San Francisco at large (see the History section).
- And finally, this is another case of a large business supplanting small, individually owned concerns. An absentee owner—such as Ms. Hanson—will not spend much time at these establishments, unlike the present owners, and thus will not be around when neighborhood issues arise. And, of course, by forcing the departure of these businesses, she has already signalled her intention to ignore the community.