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Four Legacy Businesses Recently Approved by the HPC

The Legacy Business Registry intends to honor and preserve “longstanding community-serving businesses that are recognized as valuable cultural assets to San Francisco by the Office of Small Business.” Heritage is proud to have helped provide the inspiration for this city-led program with its 2013 initiative Legacy Bars and Restaurants. Recent 2020 inductees to the Registry, which now has over 240 businesses, include Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative, Inc., Courtney’s Produce, and Dianda’s Italian American Pastry Company.

On April 15th, the following four businesses were unanimously approved by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to join San Francisco’s Legacy Business Registry. They will likely be approved by the Small Business Commission at a final hearing in the weeks ahead:

  • 715 Harrison Street, City Nights
  • 1414 Ocean Avenue, Korean Martial Arts Center
  • 25 Van Ness Avenue, The New Conservatory Theatre
  • 285 South Van Ness Avenue, Royal Motor Sales

We are sharing some of the highlights from the Planning Department’s Legacy Business Case Report (from last year), with much of the information sourced from their original applications.

City Nights


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Venue: 715 Harrison St aka City Nights #mcevents #mirrorcorpevents

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City Nights is the Bay Area’s only 18 and over nightclub, founded on September 11, 1985 by Brit Hahn, a 25-year old San Francisco native. Ray Bobbitt joined Brit at City Nights in 1989 and is currently the Operating Partner of the business. City Nights is one of the longest running, large capacity nightclubs in the country. It is known for its diversity, and it serves all ages of people from 18 to 100 years old.

Hahn and Bobbitt have cultivated City Nights into a long-running and successful nightclub that has entertained well over 6 million people from all over the world. City Nights is responsible for creating and facilitating multiple reoccurring nightclub “formats” or event nights that have served many sectors of the community. The venue has featured some of the world’s largest entertainers including Grace Jones, Lady GaGa, Prince, Justin Bieber and MC Hammer to name a few. The DJ booth started the careers of multiple internationally known and culturally iconic DJs such as Doc Martin, Theo Mitzuhara, Sway, Cameron Paul, Michael Erickson, Billy Vidal, David Garcia, The Latin Prince Sergio Rodriguez, and many more. Many of City Nights’ resident DJs have previously served, and currently serve, as program directors of the Bay Area’s largest radio stations, including KMEL 106.1, KYLD 94.9, and KMVQ 99.7. The close relationship with local radio stations makes City Nights one of the leading vehicles in reaching the Bay Area’s younger generation. City Nights has worked very hard with new residential neighbors to help them understand the value of entertainment in the neighborhood, while staying in alignment with each other’s needs.

The business is located on the south side of Harrison Street between 3rd and 4th streets in the South of Market neighborhood. It is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 mandates:


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Korean Martial Arts Center

Korean Martial Arts Center is a martial arts studio founded by Merrill W. Jung and located in the Ingleside neighborhood since 1983. It is considered one of the neighborhood’s community-serving institutions where people – from local children to highly skilled martial artists – learn and perfect their skills. KMAC offers training in the following martial arts: taekwondo, Hapkido, judo, Yongmudo, karate, kung fu, Filipino stick fighting, tai chi and Wing Chun. Many students of KMAC have gone on to be successful martial artists. Students have gone to the junior Olympics. Some have gone to Korea with KMAC’s owners for annual competitions and regularly sponsor students to compete. It is one of the oldest family-run businesses in Ingleside.

Jung was born in Isleton, California, and moved to San Francisco as a child. He attended Garfield Elementary School, Francisco Junior High School, Washington High School, City College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. He worked for the San Mateo Probation Department and retired in 2005. His parents taught martial arts, specifically kung fu. Jung attended a Mormon Church and began to formally study judo there. In 1966, Jung began 18-year stint teaching at the Embarcadero YMCA where he taught judo, kung fu and other martial arts.


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Good Morning World. Here’s Master Mar talking to the students about life and how you should have a different perspective in life and not just be in your own world. There should be no I in team. Everybody has a roll that builds up to yours and the teams accomplishment. Stay committed, be patient and always be humble no matter what the situation is. Always give thanks to those around you that cares about you. 🥋🙏 . . . . #flexible #strong #humble #koreanmartialartscenter #kmac #sanfrancisco #1414oceanavenue #taekwondo #tkd #7thdegreeblackbelt #kukkiwon #honor #values #academics #family #lifeskills #commitment #success #inspiration #discipline #spirit #love #brothers #sisters #since1983 #grandmaster #taekwondokids #taekwondobonding #martial__worldwide

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Andrew SE Erickson, who studied under Jung at the YMCA in the late 1960s, was instrumental in setting up the initial space. In 2018, he was admitted to the U.S. Taekwondo Grandmaster Society. In 2010, he became an International Sin Moo Hapkido 10th Dan, he received a World Sin Moo Hapkido Certificate of Appointment and he received an appointment from the Kukkiwon World Headquarters. In 2008, he became a certified 8th Dan Black Belt in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo. In 2007, he was admitted to the World Taekwondo Federation in Korea. 10th dan black belt Grandmaster is the highest level of black belt achievable.

In 2012, Jung’s nephew Thomas Mar and his wife Teresa Hoang-Mar began managing KMAC. Mar is a San Francisco native who focused on Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. He does most of the instruction at KMAC. He is a trained instructor in taekwondo with sixth degree black belt, certification from Kukiwon, a seventh degree in Simoo Apkido, a fourth degree black belt in Yongmudo Legacy Business Registry Multiple Cases March 18, 2019 Hearing Multiple Locations 6 and a brown belt in judo. Hoang-Mar is trained in ballroom dancing. She is KMAC’s administrator, handling billing, licensing, website, etc.

The business is located on the north side of Ocean Avenue between Granada and Miramar avenues in the Ingleside neighborhood. As of April 4th, 2020, KMAC posted a note on their website noting that they will remain closed until at least May 3rd due to the COVID-19 closures. They are considering virtual classes and are looking for feedback from the community to see if this is something people would like!

The New Conservatory Theatre

The New Conservatory Theatre is located in what was once a Masonic Temple, near Van Ness and Market St. [Masonic Temple at Oak and Van Ness] Aug. 11, 1964. San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

New Conservatory Theatre Center is the premiere queer and allied theater in San Francisco, at the forefront of LGBTQ+ activist theater and progressive arts education since 1981. NCTC is a creative hub for the queer community, an incubator for new work and emerging artists and a center for innovative arts education and outreach for youth. NCTC was originally located at The First Unitarian Church at 1187 Franklin Street. Ed Decker was the organization’s Founding Artistic Director. The rapid growth of the organization created the need for a larger space, prompting a search for a more permanent location.

In 1985, NCTC moved into its current theatrical home at the Lower Lobby of 25 Van Ness Avenue, consisting of three theaters. The theater spaces had originally served as commercial production studios, however the structure and equipment met NCTC’s needs for theatrical production. When the City of San Francisco first acquired the building in the early 1990s, one of their high priorities was to eliminate the theaters. It was after much advocacy and the strong support of Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg that the theaters remained.

The Conservatory was set to present the World Premier of “The Book of Mountains and Seas”, written by Yilong Liu and directed by Becca Wolff.  Due to COVID-19, it only got one performance on stage on March 6th before closing. Read more about this play about friendship, grief, and cultural and generational divides. 

During NCTC’s tenure there, they have renovated and improved all three theater spaces, installing brand new comfortable seating, electrical systems, sound systems and control booths. In 2016, they undertook an extensive remodel of the lobby, expanding the space and upgrading the bar and patron seating areas. The facilities at 25 Van Ness Avenue serve as both a home and a landmark for the LGBTQ+ community, students and theater patrons.

The business is located on the west side of Van Ness Avenue between Hickory and Oak streets in the Western Addition neighborhood. As of March 31, 2020, NCTC decided, with much regret, to cancel the remainder of its current season. NCTC’s Conservatory has transitioned all Saturday classes to online learning via Zoom, with Offsite and After School classes are on hold until further notice. There are multiple ways to give and help support NCTC during the COVID closures, which you can find here.

Royal Motor Sales

Exterior of Royal Motor Sales at 280 South Van Ness. (Google Street View.)

Royal Motor Sales was founded by Walter Anderson in 1947 and was incorporated in June 1956. Headquartered at 280 South Van Ness Avenue, the business sells and services Audi, Mazda, Volkswagen and Volvo vehicles. Walter Anderson grew up an orphan and came to San Francisco as a teenager looking for work on the Golden Gate Bridge. He did not end up working on the bridge but instead found work at a local body shop and started his career in the automotive business.

Royal Motor Sales originally started as a used car business and repair shop at 280 South Van Ness Avenue. In 1956, Walter acquired a Volvo franchise at the 280 South Van Ness Avenue location. The Volvo service and parts operations, some years later, moved to 1525 Howard Street. Walter Anderson operated the business until 1979 when his son-in-law, Michael Hansen, took over day to day operations. Michael continues to be active in the business and is currently the President.

Royal Motor Sales has been operating in San Francisco in the Mission District for well over half a century. Today, the Audi showroom is located at 300 South Van Ness Avenue, the Volvo showroom is at 285 South Van Ness Avenue and the Volkswagen and Mazda showrooms are at 280 South Van Ness Avenue. The body shop continues to be operated at 156 14th Street, and service and parts are at 1525 Howard Street. Royal Motors does not have any businesses outside San Francisco.

The business is located on the east side of South Van Ness Avenue between Erie and 14th streets in the Mission neighborhood. Here is an excerpt of a recent message from CEO Andy Hansen regarding COVID-19:

The recent shelter in place determined auto repair as an essential service and as such we will be here to service your vehicle so those who need transportation can continue. Sales Operations will be temporarily closed during the shelter in place order until further notice. We will remain open virtually and will be available to answer your inquiries and questions. We are here to serve all of your automotive needs during this time.

Legacy BusinessesMissionSouth of MarketInglesideWestern AdditionLGBTQ+

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