Four businesses at 20th & Geary close for seismic retrofitting

Seismic retrofitting is underway at 20th & Geary, which shuttered 4 businesses. Photo by @joncwriter

A couple of readers have reached out to tell us about the closure of a few businesses on the southeast corner of 20th Avenue and Geary Boulevard recently. The closure is due to seismic retrofitting work that is taking place on the building.

The corner building houses several businesses including Emma’s Coffeehouse (5549 Geary), Dick’s International Barber Shop (5541 Geary), Versaille Jewelry (5545 Geary), and Mai’s Beauty Salon (5547 Geary).

Tipster Ben P. tells us that Emma’s will not be re-opening after renovations, but the barber shop and salon will be back. Reader Gregory said the barbers will be working out of Rick’s Barber Shop at 5349 Geary, between 17th & 18th Avenues. Ben said the jewelry store was having a moving sale but it’s unclear if that was just to clear inventory before a temporary onhealthy order zyprexa closure, or if it is permanent.

Several businesses (and residents’ garages) have been displaced in the Richmond District due to the city’s required seismic retrofitting. The city’s Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program (MSSP) requires that wood frame buildings with 3 or more stories, as well as five or more residential dwelling units, must be seismically retrofitted. The program is led by the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program and enforced by the Department of Building Inspection.

All qualifying, soft-story property owners were notified in 2013, and based on the type of building, retrofitting deadlines begin on September 15, 2017 and range until September 15, 2020. As building owners get the work underway, we can except to see more of these types of closures across the neighborhood in the coming months.

The corner building that houses these four businesses is located at 404 20th Avenue. According to the building permit, the seismic retrofitting will cost $30,000.

Sarah B.


  1. I spoke with the owner of Versailles a couple weeks ago and he wasn’t sure where they were moving. Too bad, they did great watch repairs for me.
    Sad to see the shuttered spaces, glad at least the barber shop will be back.

  2. I just checked building permits for 404 20th Avenue and there were two for seismic retrofitting. There was one for $30,000 and another for $60,000. The $30K permit references retail sales and the $60K permit references apartments. Of course those might just be startingcosts since remodeling costs to be higher then expected. Even more permits could show up depending on how they structure the project.

  3. better to do this now and endure the pain than have the entire building collapse in an quake, or worse, fall on those buildings that did the right thing and did the work. sucks for the businesses, but it would suck a lot worse if they lost everything and the building too. suck it up, SF, this is our reality

  4. our retrofit is going to cost 80k
    rick’s is a very small place….how are they able to bring in the extra chairs?
    nice to see that the retrofits are not hurting biz…heh

  5. The retrofitting is nice as many of these buildings will stand after the next big earthquake. To bad that most of them West of Park Presidio Blvd will burn to the ground when the firestorm clears the Richmond from Park Presidio Blvd to the Ocean.

    You see, the High Pressure Water System was never extended out here. The existing drinking water system will be next to useless. The cisterns being put in the ground will be too little to do much good.

    The best experts in San Francisco on the subject, currently not looking at the SFFD promotion list, have all stated that there is a very real likelihood that the western Richmond and Sunset will burn to the ground. Our version of Katrina and the lower 9th Ward.

    So, people who spend a lot of money on the retrofit will in fact save lives in that the buildings will not fall down on people which is a very good thing. But, be prepared to take you valued possessions and head for the beach to watch the nice big fire that will follow.

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