Magazine article Editor & Publisher

In-Debt S.F. Press Club Moves

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

In-Debt S.F. Press Club Moves

Article excerpt

Unable To Pay $1.5 million in debts, the 108-year-old Press Club of San Francisco is abandoning its ornate three-story building and moving to much smaller quarters in the financial district.

Club President Seraphim Leemon said the building has been sold to a corporation, the Empire Group, which found the new housing for the club. Leemon would not disclose the sale price, but another source told E&P the figure was approximately $3.5 million.

Past President Carl Nolte, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, and Hank Basayne, the club's executive director, attributed the forced move primarily to declining membership.

"Young people in the news business don't drink much and don't hang out at clubs to bullshit," Nolte said. "I don't know whether to be sad or angry but I feel as if we're going into a convalescent home."

Nolte contended the San Francisco club has suffered the same fate as press clubs throughout the country.

"We're going the way of the side-wheel steamer," he lamented.

Basayne blamed an inattentive board" for the club's financial situation but predicted it will be rebuilt on a sounder footing.

The manager said that of the club's 300 members, less than half are in the news media. One current problem, he added, is that there are 17 membership categories, which will be reduced to two in the new location.

The press club at 555 Post St. near Union Square, the city's hub, contains a restaurant, health club, swimming pool, bar, library, overnight guest rooms and other facilities. …

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