Activists try again to stop Jack Spade


The fight to keep suspected formula retailer Jack Spade out of the Mission resumes this evening (Wed/9) when The Stop Jack Spade Coalition lays out it's case against the men’s clothing chain before the Board of Appeals in an attempt to force the business to go through a conditional use permit hearing. [UPDATE: Activists say they won a big victory last night, not just winning that vote but maybe convincing Jack Spade to withdraw its application completely. We're working on confirming things now and we'll have more details soon.]

The new push against Jack Spade comes less than two months after an original appeal found the retailer not to be in violation of the neighborhood's formula retail ban, with the opposition campaign getting written support of Sups. Eric Mar, John Avalos, and David Campos. They join a growing list of those opposed to the retailer, one that currently features former Board of Supervisors presidents Matt Gonzalez and Aaron Peskin and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

If the coalition is granted a rehearing, it will be the second time an appeal is heard on the matter. On Aug. 21, the Board of Appeals ruled against the retailer in a 3-2 majority decision, but the decision still lacked the four votes required to revoke the building permits.

Jack Spade — currently slated to rent the former Adobe Bookshop storefront at 3166 16th Street — was originally granted its business and building permits sans conditional use hearing, an act that was supposed to be unheard of for a prospective national retailer inside a neighborhood with a formula retail ban.

The 2004 formula retail ordinance requires a businesses to get a conditional use permit before moving into certain San Francisco neighborhoods if they meet the "formula retail" criteria. Part of that criteria states that a store can have no more than 11 "retail sales establishments located in the United States." Jack Spade, pre-Mission store, has just 10 unique stores, which allowed them to circumvent the hearing process.

But according to 5th & Pacific's public records, the holding company (formerly known as Liz Claiborne) that owns Jack Spade, the high-end men's clothing store is not an independent business but rather a sub-brand of Kate Spade; a women's clothing store with 94 locations in the United States alone.

The coalition opposing Jack Spade's now-imminent Mission migration is using this piece of information as Exhibit A in their fight against the retailer. The coalition is claiming that by not acknowledging the fact that Jack Spade itself was part of a far larger corporation, the retailer violated the formula retail ban by claiming "independent business" status.

As the move-in date for the Mission's unwanted addition grows near, the coalition has taken up the cause once again, mustering support from nearly every constituency available.

It will be bringing its revamped case to the Board of Appeals, this time with testimony seemingly focused on the misleading nature of Jack Spade's classification as an "independent business." That should prove to be an effective move for the coalition, because Jack Spade isn't an independent business, and they don't try to classify themselves as such outside of San Francisco.

In fact, according to 5th & Pacific's 10-K filings with the SEC, the "Kate Spade brand offers fashion accessories for women under the Kate Spade and Kate Spade Saturday trademarks, and for men under the Jack Spade trademark." The two brands even share the same CEO: Craig Leavitt. Declaring that the two companies are independent of each other based on product offering is like saying beef and milk are independent of  other because they come from different parts of the cow.

Now, armed with an updated defense, the Coalition is taking a second stab at the appellate process, one they feel good about. In a letter to the Board, executive director of the Valencia Corridor Merchant Association (VCMA) Luis Granados said, "If the findings section were fully taken into account [last time], we believe the Board will see that Jack Spade is formula retail, as set forth under the law."

Or as Gonzalez wrote in a letter to the Board of Appeals: “Issues of corporate ownership and/or corporate structure have been a matter of debate in previous hearings regarding Jack/Kate Spade’s permits.  While nowhere in the planning code does it require the consideration of corporate ownership/structure, neither does the ordinance forbid a consideration of corporate ownership/structure.  Indeed, in order to fulfill the clear intent of the law in a common sense manner, it will be necessary, in some cases, to consider corporate ownership/structure.

I urge you to grant the VCMA’s request for a rehearing of Jack/Kate Spade’s permits in order to prevent manifest injustice.”

And considering the momentum that the anti-Jack Spade movement is now gaining, the optimism isn't unreasonable.

Activist Andy Blue, who helped organize the protest, acknowledged the high bar needed to overrule the flawed ruling by the Planning Department, telling us, “We’re cautiously optimistic, but it’s a long shot.”


Posted by barrier on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:20 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

Anyway, I don't get the need for a superstore on every corner in an urban location. That location on Geary is perfect for a Target, so is the Metreon. However one stuck in West Portal or in the Castro or in Pac Heights is not appropriate. Maybe you and I disagree on that.

I don't like Wal-Mart and most other people here don't either, therefore whether they should be allowed to open or not is moot - because they won't. That's called community standards. Communities have different standards and the right to impose them within their boundaries - if Fremont wants mad Wal-Marts everywhere then hurray for them, I don't. Fremont doesn't want pot dispensaries everywhere and we do. Again, different standards.

Lane Bryant doesn't suck the money and energy out of a 20 square mile location and pay shit wages and increase the welfare rolls like Wal-Mart does. That's a specious comparison and you know it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

In fact, historically they always avoided cities and, instead, put themselves in suburbs and rural areas. Partly because that is where the space exists for mega-stores, And partly because they typically like to be located near major highways.

There are WalMarts in the South, East and North Bay's, and they do good business, so even the "liberal" Bay Area residents are not averse to a bargain.

I doubt there is a location in SF big enough for a WalMart, and the strings attached would no doubt be too onerous for a chain that has many municipalities begging for them. When the WalMart in Oakland opened, thousands applied for the 120 or so jobs there.

Anyway, my point is that some people not being interested in a store should not be a reason for it not to open. As long as there are enough people to make a store location commercially viable, personally I would never want my ideology to prevent someone shopping where they want to.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

places so it's now looking to expand in urban areas - it has said that openly many times and has partially succeeded in places like LA and NY. Of course SF would be someplace it would want to expand - a wealthy market like this? But we both know it will never happen and for good reason - San Franciscans don't want a Wal-Mart here. If Oakland did - great for Oakland. But we don't. End of story.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

WalMart, just like they shop at Costco, Ikea, Target and so on.

Those stores are mostly outside for SF for tax and logistical reasons, but they are within 10 miles or so.

In fact, have you ever noticed that as soon as you cross the County line, there is a massive choice of shopping?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

I've noticed sprawl with the same "choices" everywhere, if "choice" means Red Lobster, Applebees, Wal-Mart, Target etc... Yeah, if I want those I can go to Fremont. If they want Tosca and Mighty they can come to San Francisco - that's how it works.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

Great. So am I.

A mix of chains stores and local stores seems reasonable, and that is what happens naturally anyway.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

Target, Best Buy, Cliffs, Tosca, Neiman Marcus - many choices!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

sure beats Oakland where, effectively, there isn't any. They all shop in Emeryville.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

If so many people are dying to work big box retail then why are the stores always understaffed?

Customer service at the Lowes on Bayshore is a total joke.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:02 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

That's your idea of a real brain teaser huh, guest?

You're thinking cap must be one of those little paper numbers like the kids at In-n-Out wear.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

That's all I know - maybe in that mall attached to Sundance. It doesn't appear to be happening though.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

so it seems like a bad choice, commercially. If there needs to be a third Target, I'd put it out around StonesTown but perhaps that isn't far enough away from the mega Target at Serramonte.

What I'd really like is a WalMart in some place like Brisbane. Ironically that is where has their HQ.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

Does this mean that an even more overpriced boutique will take over their lease? Or maybe another high end restaurant?

Such a ridiculous distraction!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 10:21 am

Mission street is full of them.

What the area lacks is a high-end clothes store. So allowing this store to open will actually increase the diversity of the neighborhood.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 10:36 am

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