Central Market

In January 2010, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) launched the Central Market Partnership in efforts to revitalize the Central Market neighborhood on Market Street between Van Ness Avenue and 5th Street. The goal is to restore Central Market as San Francisco’s downtown arts district. OEWD leads the multi-agency initiative partnering with the SF Planning Department, SF Redevelopment Agency, DPW, MTA, Arts Commission, and Police Department. This memo addresses six objectives of the Central Market economic strategy and discusses numerous changes detailed in the October 2011 draft. Objective 1 – Enhance and Activate the Public Realm – The goal is to improve and enhance the quality of the public realm to transform Central Market into an area that is attractive, clean, pedestrianfriendly, and reflective of the arts. Another goal is to create an active an engaging street life with regular arts and cultural programming. The objective is achieved by enhancing cleanliness, developing new programming, ensuring the implementation of the Better Market Street Initiative, expanding neighborhood green spaces, increasing access to restrooms, and making physical improvements to UN and Hallidie Plazas. The only change made to the first objective concerns restrooms eliminating the phrase, “decrease public urination.” Objective 2 – Enhance the Creative Arts Community – The goal is to establish Central Market as a creative center with diverse arts, creative organizations, and cultural programs in efforts to engage the local community. The objective is achieved by implementing largescale arts programs, developing multi-tenant arts facilities, facilitating partnerships, providing financial assistance, and fostering collaborations between creative sector companies and non-profit arts organizations. The creation of a mini grant program to fund artists has been eliminated because it is unclear who would be responsible for the program and it is an unfunded mandate that would heighten expectations in an unfair manner. For the exact same reasons, another change was made eliminating the creation of incentives for developers to develop facilities for arts organizations. Lastly, the support of privately-funded development of live/work housing has been canceled because the strategy was discussed extensively and no consensus was reached. Objective 3 – Stabilize the Existing Community – The goal is to

ensure the Central Market and surrounding areas are healthy, welcoming, affordable, and foster coexistence between social service providers, businesses, and arts venues. These goals are achieved by ensuring the existence of a multi-tiered workforce development system, launching an initiative to improve SRO conditions, activating an interagency task force, stabilize the existing affordable housing stock, and exploring opportunities to increase income diversity like developing affordable housing for very low income families. One change made to the third objective is removing examples of the most challenging populations like chronic inebriates, drug addicts, the homeless, and mentally ill. Another change eliminates the exploration of new programs to build middle income housing because the issue is part of a much broader and longer conversation that needs to be had on the need and the funding streams for moderate income housing. Another change is the addition of plans to identify new sights for urban gardens. Objective 4 – Reduce Vacancies and Catalyze Development – This objective addresses the high rate of commercial /storefront vacancies and leverages the introduction of large employers I the district to catalyze development, support arts organizations, attract retailers, restaurants, and nightlife. The objective is reached by continuing to implement technical assistance and loan program for new and existing small businesses, pursuing a full-service grocery store to locate in the neighborhood, and market existing funding and incentive programs to property owners in order to restore historic buildings and facades. Numerous changes were made to this objective including ensuring that the full-service grocery store is affordable to residents. The education of local property owners about the Mills Act historic preservation benefit has been removed because a consensus could not be reached and the strategy should be tied to and framed in terms of the creation of affordable housing and/or small business retention. Also removed for the same reason is the establishment of a point person to coordinate the marketing of incentive programs. Another change is removing the feasibility study ad exploration of non-monetary incentives to facilitate the rehabilitation of vacant buildings. Lastly, providing support to catalytic commercial and housing development projects has been removed because the strategy does not identify who would be responsible for the program and what the community oversight would be. Objective 5 – Build Community Capacity – The goal is to build the

districts identity, improve communications, and foster partnerships among neighborhood stakeholders in order to realize neighborhood vision, build pride of place, and attract new visitors. The fifth objective is achieved by expanding the merchants association, connecting new and existing businesses with community groups, and creating an inter-CBD Council focused on Central Market to enable the local CBD’s to work together and maximize their impact on Central Market and adjacent areas. One change is the elimination of agreeing to a set of sidewalk standards because the strategy could be problematic without the inclusion of all parties involved. Another change is no longer assisting Sixth Street property owners to create CBD or join an existing one. The change was made because it would require staff time and it is not a priority due to the current uncertainty around the status of the Redevelopment agency. Objective 6 – Improve Safety – The goal is to improve safety, reduce crime rates, and enhance the quality of life and desirability of Central Market for residents, workers, shoppers, and visitors. The objective of improved safety is achieved by ensuring the Mid-Market police substation gets built in 2012, restoring staffing to Tenderloin and Southern station to enable adequate beat overage of Central Market, continuing to expand the existing community ambassador program, and establishing Stevenson Alley as a safe and pleasant thoroughfare for Central Market building tenants, visitors, and residents. The only change made to the sixth objective is the removal of implementing land use controls such as conditional use permits to ensure adequate review of new nuisance retail and entertainment. The change was made because there are already existing controls and the Western SOMA planning process may include additional controls.