As was expected, the Historic Preservation Commission yesterday voted not to give landmark designation to the Gold Dust Lounge, the Union Square saloon which has been a continuously operating saloon since 1918, when it began as the Techau Tavern. However, as mentioned earlier, Supervisor Christine Olague has stepped in with her support, and it’s looking like she’ll be introducing legislation to landmark the bar on Tuesday, which would override the Historic Preservation Commission if it passes.
“Landmark status will happen,” says Lee Housekeeper, spokesman for the Bovis family, who owns the bar. Additionally, they’ll be seeking landmark status for their other bar, Lefty O’Doul’s, around the corner in the same building, whose lease isn’t up for another ten years.
And just to recap: Eviction proceedings are underway, with a lawsuit filed last month by the landlords, the Handlerys, which was the first step toward getting the sheriff to come in and padlock the place. The Handlerys had put a 90-day termination clause in their last lease with the Bovises, giving them the legal right to evict as of early March, and they want to bring in and Express store as a tenant using both the bar space and the gallery upstairs.
Meanwhile, the Bovises filed their own lawsuit against the Handlerys, alleging, among other things, intentional misrepresentation, breach of contract, and elder abuse. They’re seeking an injunction to stave off eviction, and no decision has yet been made in that suit.
But the Board of Supervisors could potentially deal the biggest blow to the Handlerys’ eviction cause, and as Willie Brown earlier pointed out, if they try too hard to fight this, they’re in for a world of hurt when they try to get any street-facing alterations approved for their new tenant.