Friday, January 15, 2010

Mayor Newsom Announces Central Market Partnership To Revitalize Mid-Market Neighborhood

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on January 14, 2010 the Central Market Partnership, an economic development project to renew and coordinate efforts to revitalize the Central Market neighborhood. The Mayor was joined by Police Chief George Gascón, Fred Blackwell, Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission, Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and key neighborhood stakeholders representing small businesses, arts/cultural organizations, property owners, and homeowners.t

The Central Market Partnership is a focused effort led by the Mayor’s office to coordinate the actions of the City and private and civic stakeholders, to revitalize the neighborhood. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development will lead a multi-agency effort (with Planning, Redevelopment, DPW, MTA, Arts Commission, Police and others), to revitalize and reinvest in Central Market Street--the key stretch of Market between 5th Street and Van Ness Avenue--that has long suffered from blight and disinvestment.

Mayor Newsom has committed to marshal all that that the City can bring to bear to revitalize Central Market.  Some of the tools include:
  • Central Market Cultural District Enhancement Fund – Create a $11.5 million pool of low-interest loans to businesses that will contribute to the cultivation of a cultural district in Central Market and the Tenderloin.  The City is in discussions with HUD about targeting loans of up to $2 million to property owners and businesses that can generate jobs for low and moderate-incom individuals.
  • Coordinated Historic Tax Incentives.  -  Combine all of the financial tools available to underwrite historic rehabilitation projects and to make these readily available to willing property owners.  These include the City’s Mills Act property tax rebate, façade easements and Federal Historic Tax Credits.  These existing programs can be focused in this limited geographic area for maximum effect.
  • Central Market Redevelopment Plan – Re-examine the stalled effort to make this area a redevelopment project area.  A Central Market Redevelopment Project Area can provide powerful Tax Increment Financing tools to support the transformation of this district.
  • Better Market Street Project – This planning process will result in concrete plans for Market Street that focus on public space improvements, pedestrian enhancements, reliable transit service and world-class bicycle accessibility.  The goal is to implement many of these improvements along with the repaving of Market Street in 2013.
The Central Market Partnership will incorporate the City’s ongoing work in the neighborhood, such as efforts with existing Community Benefit Districts (CBDs), enhanced pedestrian/physical improvements such as the Taylor St intersection, Art in Storefronts and the Market St. Closure Pilot, as well as the Police Department’s stepped up public safety efforts in the neighborhood.

The work of the Mayor’s Office has also spawned additional opportunities that have real potential to transform the area.  Some examples include:
  • The City Place project will re-energize Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets with 250,000 square feet of retail, a great design and active ground floor storefronts.
  •  More than a dozen cultural arts organizations are now searching for space in the area, including Joe Goode Dance Company, Killing My Lobster, Intersection for the Arts, Lorraine Hansberry Theater Afro Solo, and SF Recovery Theater.  OEWD is working to identify vacant or underutilized theater and office space to accommodate them, including active discussions with the Furniture & Carpet Building (1071 Market) and the Dollhouse Theater (80 Turk).
  • Restaurant owners see the potential of the emerging arts & cultural district to generate foot traffic and are launching both new endeavors and reviving old ones.  Farmer Brown’s, newly opened Show Dogs eatery, and a forthcoming restaurant in the Warfield Building (both from the owners of Foreign Cinema) represent the new energy in the area; and the Duggan family is working on a strategy to reopen Original Joe’s, a beloved San Francisco establishment that closed in 2007.
  • A San Francisco landmark, the Hibernia Bank building is undergoing a multi-million renovation and will be positioned to house a major cultural or entertainment institution when it’s finished.

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