Downtown Jazz Club Proprietor Sues City Over Gaia Building

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday March 13, 2007

When the City Council passed a resolution in December favorable to the Gaia building owner, councilmembers thought they had dodged a bullet. They were still under fire, however. 

Patrick Kennedy, a principal in Panoramic Interests, which developed the mostly-residential building at 2116 Alston Way, had threatened to sue the city unless it approved his interpretation of the requirement for cultural use of the two ground floors: cultural activities are required, but so are other profit-making ventures, he said. 

The council resolution that pleased Kennedy pushed his tenant, Boalt Hall alumna Anna De Leon, who owns Anna’s Jazz Island, to dig out her lawyer hat and and fire off a complaint against the city. The suit, filed in Superior Court last week, claimed that the city violated the building’s use permit by allowing anything other than cultural uses on the first two floors. 

Kennedy was allowed by the city to build two stories higher than he would have been otherwise permitted, because he promised cultural uses on the first two floors.  

De Leon’s lawsuit, brought on behalf of three residents deprived of the benefits of those uses, argues in the complaint that the building “was granted two extra floors of revenue-generating residential apartments in exchange for placing 10,000 square feet on the bottom two floors into 100 percent cultural use.”