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Hoping to attract more students in its bid to remain afloat, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is buying a 91,000-square-foot building at 50-70 Oak St. for $8.9 million.

The move puts the nonprofit closer to public transportation and in the heart of the city’s performing arts scene. It also puts other, smaller nonprofits out on the street, looking for new digs.

The Conservatory has told current tenants – Brian Boitano’s ice skating production company and other arts tenants – they will have until the end of the year to leave. Wherever they end up, they’ll likely be paying higher rent.

Before a turnaround in the San Francisco commercial real estate market in recent years, nonprofits were paying less than $2 a square foot per month in rent; some were paying as little as 50 cents a square foot.

Now that it is firmly a landlord’s market, the least fortunate office renters in the city are seeing rates rise to about $4 a square foot per month, in many cases well beyond their financial capacity.

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