The Golden Skate is closing its doors

Owner of iconic skating rink proposing new housing development on San Ramon property


Erica Dembrowicz

The Golden Skate is expected to close its doors in a few months to make way for a proposed housing development.

One of the Bay Area’s last skating rinks, The Golden Skate, announced in October that it will be closing its doors because of the financial hit the San Ramon business has endured during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The business closed its doors back in March 2020 to comply with the state stay-at-home mandate and didn’t reopen until more than a year later in May. 

“We reopened the rink … and were hopeful that we could regain enough income at a break even or better, but it has become clear that our hope is unrealistic,” The Golden Skate owner Hassan Sharifi wrote in the official statement posted on its website. “The enormous financial damages that we suffered due to COVID have made the continued operation of The Golden Skate infeasible.” 

A few weeks before Sharifi’s announcement, the San Ramon Planning Commission met on Oct. 5 to discuss a proposal from Sharifi for the Windflower Fields Townhouse Project on The Golden Skate property, according to Danville San Ramon. 

The Windflower Fields Townhouse Project proposal would include 47 townhouses, 16 accessory dwelling units (ADU’s), and a 3.5- acre park on the property on the north end of the city just west of San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

Sharifi purchased the Golden Skate in 1995 when it was on the verge of closing. Over the past seven years, there have been several proposals from Sharifi for a housing development on The Golden Skate site, San Ramon’s Planning Manager Lauren Barr said.

“None of them have gone forward until now,” Barr said.

Although the planning department has not approved the proposal, discussions about it are ongoing. The official date for closing has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to come in the next few months, several employees said.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a tremendous history associated with the roller rink,” Barr said. “It’s been operating for many years.” 

Seniors Mikal Mulugeta and Nathan Rieph had been working at The Golden Skate for more than six months when they heard the news.

“I think there is a lot of disappointment,” Reiph said. “People don’t want it to close.”

“I really like the job because it’s a really fun environment,” Mikal said. “It’s not super serious or anything because it’s a skating rink.”

People all over California travel to skate at The Golden Skate, Mikal said. The closest skating rink to San Ramon is the Paradise Skate Roller Rink in Antioch.

The Golden Skate assistant manager Josh Nichols, who is now a freshman in college and a 2001 Cal High graduate, has worked at the rink since he first started high school.

“I never would have imagined that I would have been put into this kind of position to see just how tight knit of a community there is at The Golden Skate,” Nichols said.

Work at The Golden Skate has been extremely busy since the closing announcement, Nichols said. In addition to being a skating center, The Golden Skate offers roller skating classes and hosts birthday parties.

“Last Saturday, for example, we had 222 people [compared to an average of 100], just for the Saturday night session,” Nichols said. “It’s gotten a lot busier. Which is nice to see.”

Junior Micah Battung, who is an avid skater, is disappointed at the rink’s closing.

“I enjoyed going there with my friends,” Battung said. “The music was always upbeat and it was just a great environment.”