PGIM serves eviction notice on rent-paying SF restaurateur

Landlord cites sales below threshold as it aims to redevelop Financial District mall

SF Landlord Demands More Than Rent From Mom-and-Pop Eatery
Crocker Galleria at 50 Post Street, Julie’s Kitchen inside Crocker Galleria (Getty, Google Maps, Yelp)

Insurance giant Prudential is looking to evict one of the few remaining tenants at the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco’s Financial District, pegging the move on low sales rather than missed rent.

The insurer’s PGIM Real Estate unit, working through an entity registered as Post-Montgomery Associates, gave notice to Julie and Jisoo Yoo, who have operated the 2,000-square-foot Julie’s Kitchen buffet-style eatery for about 10 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve faithfully paid our rent and maintenance fees in full and on time, even during the state and local mandates against buffet-style restaurants,” a letter photographed by the Chronicle at the restaurant states. “Thanks to your unwavering support, our business has rebounded close to pre-pandemic levels.”

The landlord claims that Julie’s Kitchen has a minimum for annual revenue that’s now set at $500,000 under terms of a lease set to expire next year, when the tenants would have an option for a five-year renewal.

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The Yoos said sales have taken steady hits since the pandemic, dropping below the $500,000 threshold and below $200,000 so far this year.

Neither representative of PGIM or Michael Shum of real estate firm JLL, which manages the mall, responded to multiple messages seeking comment, the Chronicle reported.

The Yoos said they suspect the eviction is driven by PGIM’s plan to redevelop the mall, which is part of a 38-story office tower the landlord owns at 120 Kearny Street. City officials have given a green light to a renovation that calls for converting some of its retail space to other uses. Crocker Galleria is located at 50 Post Street.

PGIM has other properties in the Bay Area. It has a deal to sell an 18-story office building at 201 Spear Street for $70 million after the owner ran into trouble with a $125 million loan from the insurer. The sale price is $70 million. In conjunction with Longfellow Partners, PGIM has plans to redevelop some low-slung office buildings in Redwood City into highrises and a hotel.

– Jerry Sullivan