Last year, voters approved $870 million in bond money for local community-college expansion, and earlier this year, part of that money was used to purchase, among other properties, a building at 1546 Broadway, one block south of San Diego City College. Tenants were allowed to stay on until the school was ready to move ahead with its plans (eight months ago, a City College spokesperson told CityBeat that a nursing-school facility was planned for the site, though CityBeat wasn't able to confirm this by press time). Last week, the building's tenants finally received a notice to vacate.
The building's former owner, Jim Hildreth, opened a bar there 30 years ago and named it after himself--Landlord Jim's. Hildreth died in 1999 and left the building, and the bar, to his daughters Sara and Virginia. Landlord Jim's had a reputation for being a dive, so when Sara took over as the bar's manager in 2004, her goal was to make it into something better.
"San Diego's a bit culturally challenged," she said. "There's not a lot of support for up-and-coming artists." The Voz Alta art gallery was already next door, so Sara gave people another reason to stop by, hosting DJs and arts events like Visual Graffiti. The bar kept its old-school look but started to attract a younger, hipper crowd.
Sara said the bar will stay open until Jan. 5, 2008. There are no plans to relocate--"the rent would be too high anywhere else"--and no point in fighting to stay since eminent-domain law allows a public entity to buy private property if it plans a "higher and better use" for the site. Sara, 31, plans to go to school full-time and study child development.
"We've all had a good ride," she said.
Voz Alta, meanwhile, is looking to move into a new space in the downtown area, though nothing's definite, said Jose Jiminez, a photographer who works at the gallery.