There is a lot of activity taking place along Central Market and the Central Market Partnership meetings are a good way to keep up with all that’s happening. Our April meeting at ACT’s new Costume Shop Theater featured presentations by Shorenstein representative Tom Hart on the development of Market Square and former D8 Supervisor and Director of HOPE (Housing Opportunities, Partnership and Engagement), Bevan Dufty on housing initiatives occurring throughout Central Market and San Francisco. Highlights of the presentations are as follows:
The Market Square project located at 1355 Market Street spanning the entire block between 9th and 10th Streets will be the future home of Twitter, One Kings Lane and other businesses that will bring new employment opportunities to Central Market.
Hart circulated renderings of the project and provided an update on the progress of construction. The building, originally constructed in 1937 is an historic, art-deco icon that once housed the Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart. It is being renovated to include state-of-the-art modern offices and ground floor retail while maintaining its classic architecture. Once complete, the building will house 890,000 square feet of Class A office space above 200,000 square feet of street-level retail and one level of underground parking. The office space is being constructed as “Adaptive Space”, which allows various uses such as tech and creative companies the flexibility to configure and customize the space to best meet their needs.
Shorenstein is also incorporating community and public spaces into the development. There will be meeting space for community organizations and arts groups and a common plaza as well as open space to connect the neighborhood and help to rejuvenate the area.
Shorenstein is coordinating efforts with historic preservationists to preserve the building’s iconic art deco architecture. However, the buidlings mechanical components and internal systems such as electrical and lifesafety systems are being retrofitted and modernized. Where possible sustainable construction practices are being used – for instance wood timbers from the original roof structure are being repurposed in the building’s lobby. Shorenstein is currently negotiating the top two floors and plans for the building to be 80% occupied by the end of the year.
Bevin Dufty, former Supervisor and Director of HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement) provided an enthusiastic update of HOPE’s accomplishments and initiatives since being appointed to the position in January. To date, 100 families have been housed and the agency continues to explore creative and non-traditional ways to address homelessness. Dufty is committed to the Central Market neighborhood and is actively partnering with neighborhood agencies that address homelessness and provide supportive housing.
Dufty raised many interesting points about homelessness. Solutions are not one-size fits all. There are a number of sub-cultures within the homeless community. Each group has different needs that require specialized care and services.
One program he spoke of is “Wet Housing”, which provides supportive housing for homeless men and women struggling with chronic alcoholism and addiction. This group tends to be one of the most prevalent users of public services. Wet Housing provides an integrated array of clinical services and supportive housing that gives the most vulnerable populations the necessary skills to lead more productive lives.
According to Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), a Wet Housing program based in Seattle, and a 2009 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association this approach annually saves taxpayers nearly $4 million dollars. This is one of many solutions Dufty is exploring through HOPE.
Veterans housing, artists’ resident housing and ongoing adult education are other initiatives Dufty discussed. These services are needed in Central Market and in many other neighborhoods throughout San Francisco.
Tackling homelessness and providing people with the skills and opportunities to stay off the streets requires creativity and dedication as well as the ability to leverage scarce resources and work with diverse partners. HOPE brings partners and resources together and strives to create the synergy that is needed to build stronger, more stable neighborhoods. These initiatives will all help in the revival of Central Market.
The next Central Market Partnership meeting is scheduled for June. Please sign-up to receive periodic information and announcements about Central Market and the Central Market Partnership.