The fallout from Twitter continues


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?”

Not much.



I think you've misunderstood me. I was merely expressing my amusement at your whole "tweeter" point. It was meant to be light-hearted. In all honesty, I didn't even expect you to respond.

I actually DO hate data mining. And I loathe Facebook's whole premise - constant, insipid commentary from a whole host of "friends" I barely know. I have never used Twitter because I view it in much the same light as Facebook. I mean, who cares what Mathew McConaughey just ordered for lunch?

And, again, I really don't know enough about the Twitter tax break to say definitively whether it's good or bad for the City.

Posted by Snoozers on Nov. 10, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

Thanks for your response. I agree with you.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 10, 2012 @ 11:45 pm


From March of this year: google this (it's on

Twitter’s Secret History As the World’s Worst Tech or Media Business
Mar 9, 2012 10:30 AM

"Twitter's business has been a joke, will have to be rebuilt from the ground up, and as far as we know is still in terrible shape."

(spam filter blocked any and all links i tried to give).

Posted by Guest on Nov. 10, 2012 @ 3:14 am

Twitter’s Secret History As the World’s Worst Tech or Media Business

Posted by Guest on Nov. 10, 2012 @ 6:20 am

Course land values would go up with successful companies like Twitter and Dolby. But a developer from Texas would see a 20 story building on Market Street as a better return on its investment. A 20 story building brings in more income than 6 story arts / performing / retail / housing. But is a 20 story building best for the mid-market area? Mid Market ends up with employees who leave the area at 5 pm, so the area is empty at night and on weekends.

Any mid-Market planning that does NOT account for the down-and-outers who hang around that area because services they need are in close proximity, fails. Housing and retail will lessen impact of the down-and-outers 24 hours a day as opposed to a 20 story building which will close at 5 pm and on weekends. (And down-and-outers may be as many as 2,000 people--source: 2011 SF Homeless Survey.)

It is possible, that a 20 story building could be a mix of retail, housing, arts, performance, business--similar to the building on Larken/Market.

People hang on to these derelict buildings because they know, inevitably the value of the property will increase and it serves them no purpose to tear the building down. In fact, that does just the opposite; a derelict building on the land makes the land more attractive and hence more valuable.

Posted by StevenTorrey on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 8:55 am

The point of "mid market" re/development is to place an upscale employment and luxury barrier between two lower income communities, The TL and Sixth Street/SOMA instead of knitting them together with appropriate urban amenities like a supermarket, for instance.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 9:14 am
Posted by D. Native on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

D. Native, you must have gone to school here after Prop 13 sucked it all dry, because you read language: "such as" to mean "only." Please.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

Hayes Valley used to be poor and crime-infested. Now it's full of high-end stores and restaurants.

Only people like you and Tim see that as a sign of failure and regression. The rest of us prefer no crime and more prosperity.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 6:58 am

And they say that I hate poor people. Unless you want to pay $25 for a burger, you'd best find a way to keep the tides of affluence from washing over lower and middle income communities.

Government should work on behalf of those taxpaying citizens who are already in place, not against them in favor of residents who are not yet here or of fly by night speculative venture capital projects.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 9:59 am

it's not like there is a shortage of Burger Kings in the city.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

First, Harvest Market is a full-scale supermarket two blocks from 8th and Market, the center of the "Mid-Market" area. It is operated by Hispanic individuals, but I am sure they probably don't belong to the right social caste since at least the management might be classified as middle-class. In any event, it is not on the scale of a big Safeway, but it offers fresh produce, a butcher, organic foods, etc. There are also various supermarkets not very far away, from Trader Joe's to Whole Foods to Safeway to Rainbow Grocers that are all easily accessible by public transit.

Second, the Merchandise Mart redevelopment will include a large supermarket.

Third, and more importantly, how exactly would a supermarket address homelessness? Drug addiction? Crime? Filthy sidewalks? Lack of employment opportunities? Or any of the other issues that have long plagued the Mid-Market area.

Fourth, I am not sure how building new housing, especially when by law such housing must include affordable housing units, supposedly creates a "luxury barrier" between two lower income communities? Will there be a wall put up with checkpoints that will stop people living on Sixth Street from walking to the TL? Will people from the TL who might want to apply for a job at the new supermarket in the Merchandise Mart be informed that only "wealthy" people can apply for a service job? It seems your objections belong to a certain subset of SF folks who believe unless a neighborhood is left in a deteriorated state and the only new housing built involves public housing units (and even then, there are usually gripes about it), then a neighborhood is being "gentrified," which is viewed as a fate somewhat better than nuclear annihilation and somewhat worse than firebombing.

Finally, as for the need for other "urban amenities," the area has long had various second-hand stores, drug stores, diners, banks, check-cashing stores, liquor stores, etc. There are even a few well-established theaters, along with a few public health clinics, and a large public library and an art museum. The neighborhood is served by the BART and Muni underground, along with several bus lines and the streetcar. It is even relatively easy to flag a cab. There are also some large plazas hosting a regular farmers' market and other events, and where individuals enjoy hanging out. Some folks even set up tables along the sidewalk and play chess. I would think all of this would constitute the sort of "urban amenities" you would celebrate. But, I guess when you say "urban amenities" you mean something along the line of boutique stores and nice restaurants, which unfortunately lead to the dreaded gentrification you oppose.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 2:26 am

There are close to 100,000 people living within a .5 miles radius of 8th and Market and there are precious few residential amenities there. Harvest Market's price point is way out of range for most low and very low income folks.

Market Street btwn 5th and 8th needs residential amenities such as a supermarket more so than whatever harebrained get rich quick development scheme political contributors demand Planning give them next.

Planning should put stabilizing existing communities first, that is providing lacking residential amenities and housing for SOMA and the TL. Planning policy is all about enriching developers irrespective of the consequences for existing San Franciscans.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 6:43 am

San Francisco is full of areas that have changed multiple times. A good example is the Mission. Are you suggesting that the hispanics should have been kept out because the area was formerly all white?

Mid-Market and the TL are potentially prime downtown area's but currently are massively under-utilised because of the dismal economic activity there. That is changing slowly and Lee's efforts have already shown progress.

Only the most rigid SFBG NIMBY'ist wants to see filth, crime and squalor downtown. Progress is desirable and change is inevitable - fighting it is futile, and rightly so.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 9:04 am

In a democracy, the will of the voters, citizens, taxpayers and residents should trump the will of developers and needs of hypothetical San Franciscans, otherwise it is not a democracy, it is a plutocracy that holds existing voters, citizens, taxpayers and residents in contempt.

You forgot that developer friendly propaganda nugget that claims that I am trying to turn San Francisco into a museum, you're falling down on the job old man.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 9:11 am

I've never met a single person who thinks it is anything other than a hellhole right now. And yet you'd rather have drug dealers, pimps and homelessness than well-paid jobs and building improvements.

Hint - don't stand for elected office.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

Where is this proof that there are 100k people 1/8th of the city population living in .5 miles from 8th and market? I call shenanigans.

Posted by Dedicated_local on Nov. 14, 2012 @ 11:38 am

Whatever. Cheap housing and homelessness is a business and SFBG is a stakeholder. Obviously what's good for Twitter is bad for your publication (and supporters). If you cared anything about this neighborhood, you'd be happy to see it cleaned up.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 11, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

out of a job. Just like Ted Gullicksen would be out of a job if all SF'ers bought their own home. These poverty pimps needs losers and failures or they'd be unemployed and unemployable.

They add nothing of value. They merely obstruct progress, prosperity and sucess.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 7:00 am

Your hateful comment lays bare your belief that low income people are "losers and failures." Too bad these "losers and failures" do the work that the owners in society exploit into profit. Your dream world of everybody being affluent and able to afford a home cannot exist in an economic system based on exploitation.

Are the workers in the third world that make most of our consumer goods also "losers and failures"? They have jobs, but I doubt they can afford a house anywhere. Their exploited labor fuels the economic system on which most affluent first worlders thrive.

Here here for righteous activists like Ted Guillicksen.

Posted by Eddie on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 8:16 am

Third world? Really?

Posted by marcos on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

properties in mid market were never really affordable and ACT will probably be fine with gaining the Strand. they will need to develop an annex to support the students in the conservatory somewhere in the city but thats not impossible. the next wave of culture will probably be with Forest City at Pier 70 (they are now partnered with Intersection for the Arts at the Chronicle Buidling). maybe its time to get refocused and cut our losses

Posted by Guest on Nov. 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

dear BG, please expand on the conflict of interest on the Mid Market reporting from the likes of Randy Shaw. This article was targeted by him yesterday. I attempted to get a few things posted already

Posted by auweia on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 8:25 am

A factory, for instance, is surely better situated in a lower-rent, less congested location. While "arts projects" can be anywhere.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 11:30 am

actually mid market is ideal for the arts because it adds to value to consumerism and tourism, which a factory would not (especially when the factory workers go home at 5pm and leave the neighborhood empty). american cities are no longer industrial, theyre destinations for travelers. some of our most financially successful neighborhoods are the Haight, fishermans warf and Union Sq

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

not visit SF to see some grubby lesbian producing something I wouldn't use as cat litter. Oakland is a perfect location for that kind of thing, and many artists have moved there acordingly

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

Thank you. Somebody with the guts to say, "The Emperor has no clothes.".

Posted by Tourist on Nov. 16, 2012 @ 5:39 am

I clicked on your link and found your blog post concise and informative. The type of reporting too often missing in present day journalism.

Posted by Eddie on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 3:59 pm any other name is still gentrification. "Redevelopment," "economic revitalization," "community improvement" are simply another way of saying "poor people, get out." The people who live in the Central City do not need another theater, funky boutique, or establishment that serves alcohol and overpriced food. The people who are supposed to be looking out for the best interests of ALL the people in The City have basically done nothing to improve the quality of life for residents of "District 13"(where all poor people live). I don't know of any significant social or technological reforms or improvements that have resulted from social media. Lots of people making lots of money for essentially talking about nothing; am I the only one who sees a Second Tech Boom And Bust? Meanwhile, there is more feces on the streets than ever. Sixth Street is still Skid Row. There is basically no decent housing or affordable "slow" food anywhere in the "neighborhood." People with medical and economic problems have their meager possessions confiscated and are taken to jail or given tickets. If Twitter wants to be relevant, maybe they can give back some of the millions The City "gifted" them to those that need it. Because we are not going away. If you don't address the needs of "those people," they will end up robbing YOU and sh----ting on YOUR doorstep, wherever it is.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Nov. 16, 2012 @ 7:35 am