The Addition, Formerly Yoshi’s in San Francisco, to Abruptly Close

Yoshi's in San Francisco, recently rebranded as the Addition, had a history of financial struggles and mounting debt.

In a statement by its ownership group today, it was announced that Fillmore Street music venue The Addition will cease operations almost immediately. The venue’s doors will close this Wednesday, Jan. 14.

The management team of Fillmore Live Entertainment Group (FLEG) explained that the sudden closure is due to “some financial hardships resulting from reduced revenue since the takeover in July.”

From July to October of last year, Fillmore Live operated the former Yoshi’s, rebranding it as the Addition in October and booking less jazz artists, which had been Yoshi’s specialty.

Artistic director Peter Williams, a 12-year veteran of Yoshi’s who came to the Addition just two months ago, in November, told KQED that he has no regrets. “The ownership group and Michael Johnson in particular were great, and I was thrilled to have the chance to do this,” he said.

The 28,000 square-foot, two-story club opened after construction costs of approximately $15 million, roughly half of which was supplied by a redevelopment loan. That loan added to a $4.4 million loan from the redevelopment agency in 2004, and a $5.5 million loan from the City of San Francisco for the Fillmore Heritage Center, which housed Yoshi’s.

In a post on The New Fillmore titled ‘How the Yoshi’s Deal Went Down,’ Chris Barnett details the club’s 2012 bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring, which resulted in $4.8 million of Yoshi’s redevelopment agency debt written off and other debts still unpaid.

Asked about the status of those debts, Williams said today: “I do not know the answer to this.”

According to the ownership group’s statement, Fillmore Live is “in the process of determining how to address existing liabilities of the business, and will be in touch at the earliest possible time. FLEG is also seeking a potential lead partner to take over operations at the earliest possible time, and continue to present quality headline entertainment, in addition to re-concepting the existing restaurant.”

As for the venue’s upcoming calendar—which had included jazz legend Bobby Hutcherson, comedian Kristen Schaal, Ethiopian treasure Mulatu Astatke and a hotly anticipated Autotune-free acoustic performance by R&B singer T-Pain—all shows have been canceled. “At this time, there are no plans to reschedule” select shows at other venues, Williams said.

The Addition, Formerly Yoshi’s in San Francisco, to Abruptly Close 12 January,2015Gabe Meline

  • sizzle8

    What a shame. Sad to see it close.
    Thank you for the effort.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Another one bites the dust. What next – more luxury condos.

  • Ghandi

    Sounds very wasteful & mismanaged. Rebranding was lame too. Sad to see Yoshi’s go down.

  • Josh

    I find it interesting that zero mention was made of the possibility that the SF Yoshi’s is closing is due to the opening last year of SF Jazz. The reality is that SF Yoshi’s is a for-profit venue, while SF Jazz is “non-profit.” SF Jazz has a massive multi-million dollar endowment, and can easily outbid Yoshi’s for top name jazz artists. I honestly think the problem is that San Francisco is still too small to support two major jazz venues, and that SF Yoshi’s closing isn’t really due to gentrification, etc. I predicted SF Yoshi’s would close roughly a year after the opening of SF Jazz. It’s really unfortunate and poor timing for the SF Yoshi’s. If the Oakland Yoshi’s ever closes, then I’m moving back to New York!

    • Matthias Neeracher

      SF Yoshi’s was “for-profit” only in the loosest sense of the word. As the article details, they got millions of dollars of loans, many of which were never repaid. I’m not sure if the overlap in programming between Yoshi’s SF and SFJazz was significant enough to affect revenues—it would seem to me that Yoshi’s Oakland would be much more affected, Yoshi’s SF has tended toward world music etc for years.

      In my last visit in October (after the sale, before the rebranding), I had the impression that venue standards had slipped quite a bit (people left standing in line until several minutes after the scheduled start of the show, us being re-seated twice after they declared the table I had booked on-line was not being made available that night). I put it down to new management jitters and hoped they’d figure things out, but evidently, it was not meant to be.

  • Nina Menendez

    The Bay Area desperately needs performance venues of this size for live music. I hope the space is maintained by another entity that can figure out a more sustainable formula while keeping artistic values high. Perhaps a coalition of arts non-profits could join forces with the city?

  • A great event center, so sad!

Author

Gabe Meline

Gabe Meline is KQED Arts' Online Editor. He lives with his wife, his daughter, a 1964 Volvo and too many records in his hometown of Santa Rosa, CA. Find him on Twitter at @gmeline.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor