Music City SF to open renovated space for artists, reigniting local music scene

San Francisco musician Rudy Colombini is working to revive the city’s music scene, with an all-inclusive venue in Lower Nob Hill that gives artists a place to stay, record, rehearse and perform.

Music City SF is a space to empower local musicians and attract stars to the Bay Area. It is a project more than 20 years in the making aimed at reigniting San Francisco’s music scene, but by early 2024, it will finally be the space musician Rudy Columbini envisioned, featuring everything a person could need to make music.

"You can cut songs, write songs, produce songs, play songs, perform songs, it’s all about the song," said Colombini.

During a time when the city’s perception has been tarnished, Colombini said Music City SF could put San Francisco back on the map. "This is the seed that will make San Francisco into another star of a city for music, which hasn’t been for 25 years."

Colombini purchased the building at 1353 Bush Street in 1988, a five-story building combining a hotel with ground-level retail space. He had the vision to open rehearsal spaces in 2005, but the plans for Music City SF didn't formally begin until 2008. 

Back in 2017, the hotel and hostel filled with more than 90 beds was renovated and remodeled to become Music City Hotel. It now includes dorm-style rooms for groups or private themed rooms, like the Metallica or Janis Joplin suites. Along the walls upstairs is the largest gallery of San Francisco music legends. 

In 2020, work began downstairs, where musicians can book one of the twenty "plug and play" studio spaces for rehearsal or recording. 

The building also has four venues for performances or parties.

Work was paused during the pandemic, but by December 2021, it restarted in an effort to provide room for musicians in the city. 

"It’s very hard to be a musician here, there’s a lack of infrastructure, places to play live, places to practice, access to gear so we’re trying to dissolve all those problems," said General Manager of the Music City Hotel Brian Davy, who is also a drummer. 

Colombini is also working on a San Francisco Hall of Fame, a nod to the legends. In the new year, the walls will be filled with exhibits highlighting the work of musicians from across the Bay Area. Meanwhile, the rooms along the hall will be filled with people recording new music in a remarkable combination of the past, present, and future of music.

The space will eventually expand to include a restaurant and bar. 

Colombini also wants to provide economics classes to new artists so they can build their brand and learn how to handle the business side of the music industry.

"Literally a thousand musicians could flow through this building in a day," said Colombini, who expects the work will be complete in the first quarter of 2024.

He said he’s hoping Music City SF empowers musicians and changes the future of the Bay Area’s music culture.