Mission building's history on display as owner seeks new tenants

The owners of a multi-use building at 23rd and Bryant streets are spotlighting the site's connection to a 133-year-old winery as they seek new tenants.

"We recognized that the Mission community is largely unaware of this aspect of local history," said real estate broker Santino DeRose.

Vittorio Sattui, second from left, with his son (at right) and two winery employees.

The Bryant Avenue Winery building was acquired around 1885 by Vittorio Sattui as a production and distribution facility for a family winery that continues to operate in St. Helena. According to DeRose, the company relocated to Napa after Prohibition in 1920.

Between 1885 and January 1920, grapes were brought to the building by horse-drawn wagons and crushed in the cellar. Sattui sold wine on-site and shipped it by the barrel to wholesale customers.

Grapes were brought to the winery from St. Helena by horse-drawn carriage

The original wooden building was destroyed in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, but the brick winery structure and original horse stables remain.

The existing building was built after the 1906 earthquake.

Sattui constructed the existing, Edwardian-style corner building in 1915, which now includes ground-floor retail space with apartments above.

It was DeRose's idea to develop a local history explainer on-site for the location. The exhibit is meant "to convey the importance of The Mission's role in California winemaking with this sidewalk display of rare historic photos," he said.

The 2,530 square foot live-work space is within the brick winery building that survived the earthquake, and a ground-floor retail space with nearly 6,500 square feet occupies the newer building, which may be eligible as a historic resource, according to city records.

There are few available live-work spaces in San Francisco, but this property was granted the designation in the early 1990s and can still serve both residential and commercial use.

Loft space at 2501 Bryant St. | Photo: DeRose & Appelbaum

The Board of Supervisors in 1988 adopted legislation allowing the development of live/work units. The legislation intended to create affordable housing and studio space for artists in the city by repurposing underutilized industrial buildings.

Once the ordinance passed, however, the majority of live/work units were newly constructed and unaffordable for most artists. Ultimately, SF Planning found that live/work developments were lower density than other residential buildings and included less affordable housing.

Ground-floor retail space looking towards loft. | Photo: DeRose & Appelbaum

In 2000-2001, Supervisors amended the planning code to redefine live/work units as lofts that are residential-only. Developments that had already been granted live/work status, however, retained that designation.

DeRose said the property owner hopes to attract a "creative enterprise with housing needs" and said the commercial space can be adapted to accommodate businesses beyond retail storefronts.

The exhibit exploring the building's history will remain on display until a new tenant moves in.