San Francisco’s venerable Concordia-Argonaut Club has put its building on Van Ness Avenue up for sale. The listing price is $21.5 million.
Club president Patricia Rosenberg said that doesn’t mean the club necessarily will move from the building it has inhabited for more than a century. Any sale or move would have to be approved by a vote of the club’s membership.
This week’s listing, she said, is aimed at testing the waters.
“The Van Ness corridor is very hot right now. They’re building all up and down the street,” Rosenberg told J. “The board felt the time was right to test the market.”
Founded in 1864 as a Jewish men’s club — at a time when Jews were not welcome in the city’s premier social clubs — the Concordia moved into its own building on Van Ness in 1891. That structure was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, and the present building was completed three years later. The Concordia merged with the Argonaut Club, another Jewish men’s club, in 1939. Membership peaked in the 1950s and ’60s, and has since dropped by almost half to its present 350.
That’s why the board is exploring its options. “We certainly don’t need 52,000 square feet for 350 members,” Rosenberg said. “There’s a huge amount of space not being utilized.”
The board’s preference — and that of the membership, Rosenberg surmises — is to find a developer who would repurpose the building as a hotel or condominium project, and allow the club to remain in a smaller space in the same building. “That would be ideal,” she said.
The club might be able to share its gym facilities, including its pool, with hotel guests or condo residents.
If not, she said, “We’ll sell and get our equity out of the building, which will give us enough capital to move into another, smaller space that will meet our members’ needs.” — sue fishkoff