San Francisco has never been able to do big-scale economic redevelopment without displacement of existing residents and businesses, and the “revitalization” of mid-Market is turning out to be another case in point. Rents are going up all over the neighborhood (as well as other parts of Market Street) as the second tech boom roars into San Francisco. And now it’s having an impact on a community-based theater-development plan — and potentially on even the more established theaters in the area.
According to J.K. Dineen (the best real-estate reporter in town) at the Business Times, a proposal by the North of Market Neighborhood Improvement Corp. and American Conservatory Theater to turn a stretch of boarded-up storefronts into an arts and performance center with housing and retail is falling apart — because one of the property owners has decided that the parcel is too valuable now.
You can’t get the whole article without subscribing (which I do, mostly to read Dineen’s stuff), but the summary is here.
Basically, a Texas landlord was willing to sell the property a year ago at a price the folks at ACT could afford — but now that the Twitter tax break has driven up real-estate values, the Lone Star Fund is having second thoughts and has dropped out of negotiations. So a plan that Mayor Ed Lee and Sup. Jane Kim were supporting that had the potential to do something good that wasn’t just tech jobs in Mid-Market isn’t going to happen.
The director of ACT is nervous:
In a letter to Mayor Lee, A.C.T. Executive Director Ellen Richard said she is worried that as companies such as Twitter, Square and Dolby relocate to Mid-Market, the arts groups that have long been housed in the neighborhood will be priced out. “If a sizable organization like the A.C.T. can’t afford these new market rents, then what chances do smaller organizations have?”