Whatever lurks behind the green door at O’Farrell and Polk Street could be yours, if you have the green to buy it. The building that houses the infamous Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre, the Tenderloin strip club that served as the filming location for the blockbuster soft-porn film Behind the Green Door, the former workplace of Hunter S. Thompson, and arguably the birthplace of lap dancing, is available for sale or for rent.
An asking price for sale is not listed, but the rental price for both floors of the venue is $39,000 a month.
The storied theater at 895 O’Farrell Street hit the market last week, and SF Weekly spoke with the building’s listing agent Susan Jordan of Starboard Commercial Brokerage. She tells us that the late Jim and Artie Mitchell, and their heiress Meta Jane Mitchell Johnson, do not own the building and never did.
“They don’t own the building,” Jordan says. “I’m actually working for the family who’ve owned the building since, I believe it was back in the late 50s or early 60s. The Mitchell Brothers have been their tenants for 50 years.”
The 12,920 square-foot property is really two available spaces, and you’re probably only familiar with the downstairs theater area. “There are offices upstairs, and then there’s the regular area where the events take place downstairs,” Jordan tells us. “There’s a lot of potential for the building, possibly development, and also possibly for getting another tenant in there in the same business.”
Which means a new owner could tear the building down and build something entirely new, or could maintain the venue in its current adult entertainment incarnation.
“I’ve seen a lot of history on the walls, some from the very beginning,” Jordan says. “I know they’ve been in business there for, I believe, 50 years now.” (49 years, actually, but close enough. The venue opened as an X-rated movie house on July 4, 1969.)
Jordan tells us she’s already had interested parties inquire about the property, so you might want to act fast if you want to buy the Mitchell Brothers Theatre. (The adult entertainment zoning is already in place!) Interest in the neighborhood is heating up, as materials from the listing agent show as many as 18 major projects planned, approved, or under contruction along the Van Ness Corridor.