Landmark move may keep Gold Dust from biting dust 

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The Gold Dust Lounge could lose a battle this week in its ongoing war to remain in Union Square.

Landlords want to put the kibosh on the kitschy Powell Street dive bar to make way for a clothing store. But despite the official end of the Gold Dust’s lease last week, the owners have decided to stay put even at the risk of exorbitant legal bills.

The City’s Historic Preservation Commission is set to consider landmark status for the bar at its meeting Wednesday, but staff documents suggest such a move might not be enough.

“Landmark designation, in this case, is not the appropriate tool to protect what is valued most — the continued operation of the bar,” a staff memo to the commission says, adding that the physical features of the building should nonetheless be retained.

The building has operated almost exclusively as a bar since 1918, except for brief periods during prohibition. The current owners — two brothers in their 80s — took over the site in 1966.

Lee Housekeeper, a spokesman for the bar, said the staff memo doesn’t necessarily mean the commission can’t be swayed. Housekeeper said despite the bad vibes, he’s heartened by the bar’s lawsuit against landlords for elder abuse — among other claims — plus a moratorium on Union Square building conversions that’s being backed by Supervisor Christina Olague, the former Planning Commission president.

“Each challenge we face means our history research becomes more refined, deeper and well-rounded,” Housekeeper said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Dan Schreiber

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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