CEO Josh Siegel confirmed that SHŌ Group is no longer opening the two-story space in the lush green elevated park above the Salesforce Transit Center. This news was first reported by SFGate. (The San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate are both owned by Hearst, but operate independently).
SHŌ Group (formerly JSSK Group, best known for Berkeley restaurant Iyasare) plans to open two Japanese fine-dining restaurants on the roof, as well as a ground-floor market and a members-only club . Ieyasare chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio was drafted in to head the downstairs dining room and chef Masaaki Sasaki is known for earning a Michelin star at Maruya and the now-shuttered Sushi Bar.
Siegel cited several challenges that led to the end of the project, including prohibitive construction costs in San Francisco and investor concerns about the city’s condition.
“We ultimately could not address the many concerns brought up by potential investors and capital partners, most of which were about the future of SF and the rising cost of building restaurants,” he wrote in an emailed statement.
One of the restaurant’s main attractions—a rooftop spot with sweeping views of the city’s skyline—proved to be the nail in the coffin. Siegel said final construction estimates, which have increased since initial figures in 2019, showed a nearly 20% premium for construction at Salesforce Park compared to other sites in San Francisco.
The shell of a 5,000-square-foot space in San Francisco’s Salesforce Park where SHŌ was to be opened.
Liz Haflia/The Chronicle
The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), which operates the transit centre, said it had accepted lease termination agreements from SHŌ Group for all three locations in July.
“TJPA has agreed to separate [SHŌ Group] And we are increasing our focus on engaging the community and our real estate professionals to identify the highest and best use of these three locations,” the agency said in a statement.
At a groundbreaking ceremony last summer, Siegel said that SHŌ would be “one of the most expensive restaurants built west of the Mississippi in quite some time, if ever, maybe outside of Las Vegas.” A 2022 press release cited big-name tech investors including Salesforce and the CEOs of DocuSign, Twilio and Dropbox.
The restaurants were due to open this fall.
The termination of the lease marks the abrupt end of the ambitious project, whose prosperity has drawn some criticism since its announcement in 2019. Its private membership levels, named “Earth,” “Water,” and “Fire,” cost up to $300,000. They were secured through the purchase of NFTs or “non-fungible tokens,” a once buzzing technology that has since crashed. Publicized benefits include omakase dinners with celebrities, private transportation, and a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Japan.
Siegel said that SHŌ sold millions of dollars worth of subscriptions, which have since been returned. He did not answer a question on how many subscriptions SHŌ ultimately sold.
Reach Elena Kadvany: [email protected]