Billed as San Francisco’s first NFT-based members-only club and restaurant, SHŌ Club broke ground in Salesforce Park last August in a ceremony filled with sake, champagne and golden shovels.
Since that high-profile announcement, progress on the buzzy tech and cuisine collab—which was set to charge up to $300,000 for membership—appears to be at a standstill, according to reporting by SFGATE.
SHŌ Group, the conceptualizer of the Japanese-inspired restaurant and glitzy clubhouse where NFTs will gatekeep access, has said it expects to open in fall 2023. But construction on the project has not moved forward since prospective members and media were fêted with fresh sushi, sake cocktails and Japanese whisky highballs last August.
“I recently walked over to Salesforce Park and peered inside the shell of the building that’s supposed to become a restaurant; I saw an empty space that looks almost exactly the same as it did in August,” SFGATE’s Alex Shultz wrote, adding that permits for SHŌ’s restaurant have not yet been issued due to failure to respond to notes from San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection.
The group has not updated its social media accounts since September, and SFGATE observed that events for the club, including quarterly member meetups, have been scrubbed from SHŌ’s website. According to SFGATE, SHŌ Group appears to have sold about 100 NFT memberships, far fewer than the 3,275 originally projected.
Although SHŌ’s less-than-stellar numbers could be accounted for by the well-publicized collapse of non-fungible tokens and the cryptocurrency market on which it was largely based.
Around the time of SHŌ Club’s groundbreaking, the organization was offering three tiers of membership, starting at $7,500 and moving up to $300,000 for perks such as valet parking, private car service and monthly omakase dinners featuring celebrity guests. Top-tier Fire members were also eligible for “a once-in-a-lifetime highly curated trip to Japan,” according to a press release shared from that time.
The Standard reached out to SHŌ Group, but the organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a June 2022 interview with The Standard, SHŌ Group founder and CEO Joshua Sigel told The Standard that the intent of SHŌ’s NFT-based membership is to provide long-lasting value for members and “bridge the Web2 and Web3 worlds.”
He said he hoped future members could “look back and say, ‘Man, that was a great investment. I'm really glad that I got in early on this because these are in very high demand and that there's a very strong resale market for it.’”
Siegal also predicted that NFTs would become more commonplace, democratic and accessible over time, appearing in everything from concert tickets to grocery stores—a retail concept SHŌ was also exploring at the time—and stated confidence in the technology.
“We really believe that NFTs are not kind of a fuzzy thing,” Sigel said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled SFGATE reporter Alex Shultz’s name.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at [email protected]