Yes, it will be eventually torn down.
The Hugo Hotel was condemned and acquired by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) via eminent domain. The Hugo Hotel site is a key element of the SFRA’s continuing efforts to improve the South of Market Redevelopment project area. Within the next 18 to 24 months, the Agency plans to replace the existing blighted structure with new affordable family rental housing. In the meantime, Defenestration is in need of immediate and extensive reconstruction if it is to remain a fixture of the City for as long as the Hugo remains standing, and possibly longer in a future incarnation.
The eminent domain action took place at approximately the same time that Brian Goggin had been considering ways to restore and update the work. After discussions with the SFRA, they agreed that rather than tear down the building immediately, they would let Brian keep Defenestration up in the interim between acquisition of the property and a time when a developer was ready to build. The SFRA agreed to a Permit to Enter, which gives Brian access to the otherwise blighted building for a minimum of 18 months. There is no definitive date when the building will be torn down. There is speculation that based on the obstacles involved in obtaining funding and erecting a new building in San Francisco, and especially in this economic climate, it will be up for more than 18 months. Whether Defenestration, or some version of it, can find a lasting place in the neighborhood thereafter no one yet knows, but it will have no chance unless it is restored now.
Read the article in SF Bay Guardian titled “Still Defying Gravity” for more information.