The East Bay roller rink, which is due to close soon and make way for housing, will remain open for now, according to the owner

One of the Bay Area’s few remaining roller rinks, which was slated to close permanently this month — and eventually be razed and replaced with a housing development — will remain open indefinitely, its owner said Tuesday.

The Golden Skate, a 47-year staple in San Ramon, had announced that Sunday would be its last day in business. City officials last year approved a proposal from owner Hassan Sharifi, who bought the Golden Skate in 1995, to redevelop the site into 47 townhouse units.

In recent decades, as skating skating rinks across the region have closed, the Golden Skate has become a hub for the roller skating community in the Bay Area and surrounding areas.

Cherifi announcement he closed the rink in a letter in October 2021, saying the business had suffered “enormous financial damage” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rink closed when the pandemic shutdown began in March 2020 and reopened in May 2021, but the goal of breaking even or achieving profitability proved ‘unrealistic’, the letter says. .

Sharifi’s age was also a factor in the decision, he told The Chronicle. “I’m in my 80s and I don’t know how long I can go on,” he said.

Since the announcement of the closure, crowds of people have flocked to Golden Skate to bid farewell.

Many shared memories of countless hours gliding across the hardwood floor, attending birthday parties, or working there for their first job.

“I said goodbye to my hometown rink where I worked and played for many years as a teenager,” one person wrote on Instagram. Publish.

However, people will have the chance to continue skating at Golden Skate – for now.

Sharifi told The Chronicle on Tuesday that he decided this week to keep the rink open until he can find a developer to build the proposed accommodation, or unless a buyer offers to keep the rink open. . Recent reports of the skating community sharing their memories and bidding farewell “really touched me,” he said.

“The overwhelming and kind response from our local customers, Bay Area adult skaters and our local leaders and friends to what we have been doing for so many years has caused us to (reconsider) our decision to close the Golden Skate at the end of July. “, Sharifi said.

“Our dedicated staff have agreed to stay for (the) unseen future and enjoy the happiness of so many young and old adult skaters who regularly visit our rink,” he said.

The San Ramon Planning Commission in December approved a proposal by Sharifi to build housing on the property where the Golden Skate is located.

Bay Area cities are under pressure to meet California’s ambitious and mandatory production targets to help ease the housing crisis.

The proposed developmentcalled Windflower Fields Townhomes, would include 47 townhouses for sale and 16 additional secondary suites that would be incorporated into the townhouses and rented below market rate.

As of Tuesday, no building permits had been issued for the San Ramon project, and it was not immediately clear when construction would begin, said Cindy M. Yee, city planner. She said it can take years for a homeowner to find a developer and start construction on a project.

Sharifi has three years to find a developer for the Windflower Fields townhouses and can request an extension that does not exceed a total of three years, Yee said.

The fact that no developer has yet come on board and construction hasn’t started is “not something that would register as something that we should necessarily be concerned about,” she said.

Sharifi said he had some offers from developers, but none could be entirely mutually agreed upon. He declined to give further details, saying negotiations between buyer and seller were confidential.

Grashan Austin from Oakland told The Chronicle that Golden Skate was where he started skating and that he also started his DJ career there. It’s a home for many new and older skaters, he said.

Golden Skate remaining open for now could “be like the rebirth of something new” for skating culture in the Bay Area, he added.

“I have a lot of memories here,” said Austin, who started DJing at Golden Skate in 2017. “If it weren’t for this rink, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t be probably not the same skater and DJ that I am today.

Castro Valley’s Michelle Ritchie told The Chronicle it’s “incredible” that Golden Skate is staying open indefinitely.

“Skating is more than a hobby. It’s an absolute way of life,” said Ritchie, 43, who has been skating at Golden Skate since she was a child. “Saving our rinks is my big message.”

Jessica Flores (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @jessmflores

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