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Indybay Feature
Downtown Tenants Unite Against Landlord
by Mark Gregory
Friday Oct 6th, 2000 6:11 PM
Despite musicians' cooperation with the legal terms of a September 29 agreement, questions remain as to whether landlord Greg Koch will uphold his end of the contract.
Downtown Tenants Unite in Fight Against Landlord
San Francisco CA--10/6/00


On the evening of Friday, September 29, a group of musicians, tenants of
Downtown Rehearsal, arrived at a decision with their landlord, Greg Koch, over a
proposed $750,000 settlement. They declined the offer in its present form, which would
have left them collectively responsible for every last tenant, and opted instead to shift this burden back to Koch.
After four hours of heated discussion, Koch agreed to reword the document to
reflect the remaining tenants' desires to avoid policing their fellow musicians into
vacating. Indeed, Koch had previously stated several times that "a few stragglers would
not kill the deal."
Downtown Rehearsal was a music studio complex in Hunter's Point which housed
approximately five hundred bands. Many considered the building to be the lifeblood of
the San Francisco music community. The Koch family currently intends to sell the
space for $14,000,000 to JMA Properties of Cupertino, which plans to create a
telecommunications facility.
In return for all tenants vacating the building in "good faith" (a phrase Koch
reiterated throughout the arduous negotiations), the owners would make a donation of
$500,000 to a non-profit foundation, in the name of Downtown Rehearsal, towards
funding a future rehearsal space. In addition to the $500,000, Koch would also
distribute $250,000 between all 155 rooms in the building. Any moneys unclaimed by
leaseholders would be turned over to the foundation, as well.
As of 10/6/00, the date by which escrow on the building was scheduled to
close, it is unclear whether musicians will actually receive this money that the
mainstream press has trumpeted over so prominently.
It is claimed that one tenant, who has apparently procured legal representation, is still occupying the building. In addition, despite Koch's repeated instructions to tenants to leave behind any undesired belongings, JMA Properties is reportedly unwilling to accept the building in its current condition.
While the musicians' nearly unanimous response was in accordance with the legal terms of the contract, Koch now may be poised to utilize any loopholes to avoid fulfilling his end of the deal. Escrow has been rescheduled to close in several weeks, leaving many musicians' futures hanging in the balance.

Mark Gregory
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