SF housing breaking ground on troubled Mid-Market block that housed strip club
Author: J.K Dineen
Publication: San Francisco Chronicle
One of Mid-Market’s most glaring cavities is about to be filled.
Three years after winning approvals to develop 193 rental apartments at 1028 Market St., developers Olympic Residential Group and Tidewater Capital will break ground this week. It’s a long-awaited housing complex that Mid-Market boosters hope will improve a block that has struggled with drug dealing and crime, even as much of the neighborhood has seen a big influx of investment.
Construction crews are set to begin demolition Monday on the two-story 1907 building that has housed a theater, a billiards parlor and a strip club. Most recently it was home to the Hall, a temporary gourmet food market that Tidewater operated from 2015 to 2017 while seeking approvals. The site has been vacant since the Hall closed in October 2017.
Like other market-rate developments in San Francisco, 1028 Market has been slow to get going as rising construction costs have made projects increasingly infeasible. The cost of the $120 million project has escalated 25% since 2017 and nearly doubled since it was proposed in 2014.
While the project may be starting later than hoped, Dan Deibel, founder and principal of Olympic, said the time was spent honing the design. The project site is sandwiched by buildings on busy Market Street and sits atop the BART tube, which presents unusual construction and engineering challenges, he said.
The additional scrutiny also persuaded the development team to eliminate the 44 parking spaces in the original plan. The project will have 124 bike spaces — but no spots for cars. Underground parking spots cost about $60,000 apiece to build.
“It was part of the financial equation to get the building to move forward,” Deibel said.
The property is “a great transit site,” and residents can use other garages in the neighborhood, he said.
The building will have 6,000 square feet of retail, including a cafe, as well as a clubroom, fitness center and roof-deck with fire pits and barbecue grills. The development includes 26 below-market-rate units as well as a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
The revival of Mid-Market has been a city priority since 2012, when the Board of Supervisors passed a payroll tax exemption that helped lure companies including Twitter and Zendesk to the neighborhood. Since then, the area has attracted new hotels such as Yotel and San Francisco Proper and headquarters for companies such as Dolby and Uber. Despite the investment of billions of dollars, poverty, crime and drug use persist.
The neighborhood’s problems were spotlighted in September when two businesses on the same block as 1028 Market, a smoke shop and liquor store, shut down after a push by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Matt Haney. The pair of retail shops were magnets for drug dealing, officials said.
Haney called the groundbreaking at 1028 Market “super exciting.”
“It’s a hugely important block for Market Street and for San Francisco,” he said. “There are obviously going to be problems when you have large gaps on Market Street, our main thoroughfare, with vacant buildings and vacant storefronts. ... I have spent a lot of time pushing to get these storefronts filled and these buildings built.”
The 1028 Market development is one four major housing projects on Market Street between Fifth and Eighth streets. Two of them — L37 Partners’ 950 Market St. and Shorenstein Properties’ 1066 Market St. — are under construction. The Shorenstein project’s 304 apartments are expected to open in May. The 950 Market St. development, which will include 242 condos and the 232-room Line Hotel, is expected to wrap up in 2021. Trinity Properties is building a 500-unit complex at Eighth and Market streets, which will include a Whole Foods.
Joaquín Torres, the city’s director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said 1028 Market will complement other changes on the street. He pointed to the opening of a store from streetwear brand Supreme at 1011 Market St., the new Yotel budget lodging at 1095 Market St., and the Thrasher skateboard store at 666 Sixth St.
Torres said 1028 Market “will be greeted by a sigh of relief that the visions the city has long-promised for Market Street are being realized.”
Alex Samek, a partner in Kor Group, which owns the San Francisco Proper hotel at 1100 Market St., said he’s thankful the project is finally under construction.
“It has sat vacant for far too long, contributing to all the negative activity everyone experiences while walking between Sixth and Seventh streets,” he added. “That site is a key piece in the continued struggle to revitalize Mid-Market. Those apartments can only help improve the neighborhood while providing much-needed housing in a region with a severe housing shortage.”
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