From the San Francisco Mint to an old Honda dealership, buildings across San Francisco are empty or underused—until these nightclub veterans give them a (fleeting) new life.
Of all the weird, enormous buildings that Jordan Langer has transformed into weird, enormous party venues, the one he’s standing in has the most appropriate—and loudest—ghosts. This huge room on the top floor of a building on the corner of Market and South Van Ness has all the charm of a Honda service center, which makes sense, because that’s what it was before Honda moved out of all but the showroom in January. But back in the ’60s, it was Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore West, where Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead played. Now Langer is planning to give the space one last crazy incarnation—and bring it full circle—before the building is redeveloped. “We are going to do some really rad stuff in this place. We’ll blow out a bunch of walls,” Langer says, looking around with glee.
Langer and his partner, Peter Glikshtern, are the kings of temporary party spaces—venues they create out of big buildings that are slated to be demolished or remodeled, and which were otherwise going to stand empty for months or years. They strike deals with the city or developers who are looking to score PR points. “The cool thing about private developers is they generally let us do whatever we want with the buildings because they’re going to tear them down anyway,” Langer says. Once they have the keys, they get the necessary permits, make sure the sites are safe, clean them up, and then rent them out for huge bashes, attracting corporate clients—like Uber, Salesforce, and the Super Bowl—that are looking for hipper venues than hotel ballrooms. It’s a winning formula: At last count, the duo’s nearly four-year-old, 30-person company, Non Plus Ultra, presided over almost one million square feet of San Francisco real estate.
Youth-Run Auto Shop ‘Project Wreckless’ Opens In The Bayview
Yesterday, nonprofit Project Wreckless hosted an open house introducing the Bayview community to a new auto repair shop that’s staffed by at-risk youth.
The organization was founded in 2015 by Jordan Langer of Pier 70 partners with the stated mission of offering young people “tools for life through an immersive curriculum centered around the restoration of badass cars.”
Last year, Langer bought the building for $1 million. Since then, he’s renovated the interior after hosting fundraisers around the city. Langer told Hoodline the group is a few thousand dollars short of its $500,000 goal.
“That’s not going to stop us,” said Langer, president of event-management firm Non Plus Ultra and a partner in SoMa cocktail bar Oddjob. “We could raise a penny or million dollars, this program is going to continue.”
Project Wreckless was also one of five recipients of a $350,000 facade and tenant improvement grant from the city’s Office of Economic Workforce Development, Bay Area LISC and the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.
Since acquiring the space at the corner of 3rd and Palou, Langer said it’s been burgled several times. “We’ve had tools that are worth thousands of dollars stolen. It’s deflating, yet encouraging.”
Langer said the break-ins simply confirm that the job-training nonprofit is needed in the neighborhood.
“If a youthful member of the community went through a program like Project Wreckless or any programs similar to it like Old Skool Cafe, or 3rd St. Youth Clinic, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said. “Youth who are engaged in these types of programs are more likely to make better decisions because they take ownership of their community.”
Starting today and every Friday for the next five months, Project Wreckless will pilot its auto-shop program with five participants, with doors open to the public.
“We’re going to start by working on my white Mustang, which I’ve purchased all the parts for,” said Langer. “Later, we’ll work on the 1967 gray convertible Mustang,” he said. As the pilot progresses, Project Wreckless will feedback so it can fine-tune the curriculum.
Refurbished cars will be sold at auction so the proceeds can be reinvested in the nonprofit.
Once the full program starts in June, at least twelve youth will be recruited from the District Attorney’s Office and various social workers, but Langer said he hopes to use word-of-mouth to bring people in.
“I’m all about having street cred, said Langer. “The more youth see this as a cool thing to do, the better the program becomes.”
For more information about Project Wreckless please click the links below: