Activists score big victory as Jack Spade gives up on the Mission

|
(274)
Jack Spade was trying to open in the spot that housed the beloved Adobe Book Store until earlier this year.

Score one for people power. Anti-gentrification activists in the Mission scored a major victory last night in their months-long battle to keep Jack Spade, an upscale men’s clothing chain, from opening a store on 16th Street — first by winning over the Board of Appeals, then by convincing the company to just give up.

So Jack Spade won’t be opening in the site of the old Adobe Book Store location near Valencia Street, an outcome engineered by the grassroots activism of the Stop Jack Spade Coalition, Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, and progressive politicians who supported the cause.

At issue at last night’s packed hearing was an appeal of the Planning Department’s ruling that Jack Spade didn’t fall under formula retail rules because it had one short of the 11 stores needed to meet the definition, even though it’s an expanding part of 5th and Pacific Co. and a brother brand to Kate Spade, which has dozens of stores around the country.

Activists considered it a long shot given the supermajority needed to overrule the decision and force a conditional use permit hearing before the store could open, particularly after falling short with the board in August. But this time, the activists won, with the board voting 4-1 to set a full rehearing for Dec. 11.

As representatives of the corporation left the hearing, they told a few activists and business owners that they “were done.” And when the Guardian reached 5th and Pacific CEO Bill McComb by email today, he confirmed that the company is giving up on this controversial location, where activists were concerned its deep-pocketed presence would accelerate gentrification of the neighborhood.

"[We're] not going to war with the neighbors. We like those people and their neighborhood and we are not fighting the issue. There are many a fine location for Jack Spade. Peace to the city!" McComb wrote to us.

It was a thrilling surprise for the activists that have been organizing against the project for months, and it was reminiscent of the successful 2009 effort to stop American Apparel from opening up shop on Valencia, involving some of the same activists and organizing tactics.

"We're very pleased about last night," said Andy Blue, an activist working with local merchants. "We saw a significant shift in momentum and a tremendous community showing. It was clearly a victory for the neighborhood."

It was a big turnaround from just a few weeks ago, when it looked like Jack Spade had won, and a sign of the rising importance of gentrification issues to San Franciscans who face rising residential and commercial rents fueled by the latest dot-com boom and Mayor Ed Lee’s corporate welfare policies.

"Six months ago, a lot of people in San Francisco felt powerless with the rapid displacement of residents," said Blue. "It was like, 'What can we do, you know?'"
But then, as Blue said, "the resistance started boiling up."

The local merchants decided to appeal the Planning Department decision that would have allowed Jack Spade to simply open its doors with no public hearing. "So many people who were being affected by it started sharing their stories, and things started happening. People had had enough," said Blue. "The San Francisco that we love is this diverse, unique place and we were watching  it transform into something totally different."

Simply getting to yesterday’s hearing was a huge step for the activist population standing up against the retailer, Blue said. But after the rehearing request was granted, the local merchants still needed to prove that "manifest injustice" had taken place during Jack Spade's permit acquisition process if the merchants wanted the actual rehearing. 

This presented a problem to the VCMA and others. To prove "manifest injustice" had taken place during the permit application process, the merchants needed to prove that Jack Spade not only applied for their permits under a dubious guise, but that they were well aware of just how dubious it was. To be manifestly unjust, the unfairness must be "direct, obvious and observable," a list that isn't always easy to satisfy. 

While the two sides can't seem to come to a consensus on how much the rent will actually increase in the surrounding area due to Jack Spade's arrival, this controversy arose at a time when neighborhoods throughout the city have been rising up against gentrification.

And this may not be the last time that this company is in the crosshairs of that concern. Asked whether its decision applies to the whole city or just this one location, McComb told us, “Just that spot. We have many brand fans in SF.” 

Comments

Okay. The corporate hipsters will have to shop at Union Square now. Praise the lord.

Corporate hipsters have totally hacked/appropriated everything that was actually hip at some point. Everyone's a hipster now, apparently. Even people who work in the finance/marketing/insurance industries - how disgusting is that?

Having a corporate hipster store right there in the mission would be quite a travesty and it would totally ruin the missions hipster cred. To be honest - I don't even go to Valencia anymore because it's full of icky corporate hipsters.

Valencia has been ruined already thanks to all the corporate hipsters moving in. Corporate hipsters think they can be hip through fashion merchandize and accessories. Dude, being a hipster is not about fashion (although it may become a part of it), it's about not being a TOTAL PAWN SHEEP forwarding the corporate agenda while pretending to be authentic and "in touch" with the times.

First of all, 99% of hipsters are anarchists. Also, if you have never taken a class in art/humanities/philosophy don't even bother trying to become a hipster.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

It's a dumb word connoting a dumb emotion and yet somehow you have elevated it into the most desirable thing on the planet. And then ludicrously decry anyone else who aspires to that very same hipness.

And you wonder why people laugh at SF?

Posted by Guesty on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

I think you missed the point of my post. This article is about jack spade - a fashion store that appropriates hipster fashion and sells it to corporate pawns such as yourself.

Take a look here: http://www.jackspade.com/

If anyone elevates hipness to the level it is at now - its branding and marketing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

It's a clothes store. It's not crushing babies or gassing Jews.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

This is really great. It's about time we turned the tide against all these ridiculous forces destroying San Francisco. Nice to see some momentum building.

Posted by Guesty on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

It cracks me up all these white liberals bemoaning gentrification. They like me and Marcos are all part of the process of Mission gentrification starting 20+ years ago. Chicken John took a Latino bar and made it safe for white liberals, when he was in the place it unbearable as he held court for his fellow ass hats. Viva burning man.

Clueless to the bitter end.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

these pale-faced white boys to move into the Mission and pretend that they are hip and edgey when, in the end, they are just a bunch of scared kids from the MidWest who think they are cool because they live here.

Hilarious.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

The bar that I bought (the Odeon) was owned by a Palestinian and an Irish guy. It wasn't a latino bar, that was the bar before the odeon, it was called the Brickhouse. it was closed down for a fatality knifefight. The Palestinian/irish new owners failed miserably. They tried for 3 years, got into a ton of debt. I started booking Sunday nights. Then, I booked more nights. The only time anyone was there was on my nights. I took a big chance and took on all the debt and took the bar over. I paid all the debt ($120,000) and then gave the two guys like $50K for the bar. That all took like 3 years. So yea.

I'm a free market republican. For life. Calling me a liberal is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. How does a free market republican want a store to not move in to a place? Put controls on the free market?

I didn't put the controls there. Plannign department, zoning, rent control, building department... these are all controls. Controls are the opposite of the free market. I'm not down with all these controls, in theory. But since we have them, it's only fair that EVERYONE abides to the same rules.

Jack Spade was cheating. So we stopped them. Pretty simple. If you know what I know, you'd have stopped them too...

chicken john

Posted by chicken john on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

Another "victory." Yawn. I guess you don't get out much, have you driven around the Mission lately...oh, I mean biked or skateboarded...to see what's happening. This is a tiny finger in the dike.

Posted by Guest OsamaB on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 9:17 am

(To the tune, of course, of "Blow The Man Down")

As I took a walk on Valencia Street,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
Some big, gleaming chain stores my poor eyes did greet -
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

There was Jack Spade and Kate Spade and Starbucks as well,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
a big Cinnabon and a new Taco Bell,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

But gone was the bookstore where I used to shop,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
And gone the small market run by Mom and Pop,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

Our Lieutenant Governor Newsom was there,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
And Mayor Lee, grinning, the limelight to share,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

They had just cut a ribbon to open the place,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
But something about it seemed slightly off base,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

The customers there were all strangers to me,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
And the prices they showed were high as could be,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

Where there were once apartments those chain stores replaced,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
There were pricey boutiques far too rich for my taste,
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

"Our very next site," Mayor Lee told the press,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
"will be at this spot - - - - " and he named my address!
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

Said Lee, "Money talks here, and Real Estate rules!"
Slow down, slow the Man down!
"And don't mind protestors, they're nothing but fools!"
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

But what can we do, with our City betrayed?
Slow down, slow the Man down!
And who sold our rights to the likes of Jack Spade?
Give us some time to slow the Man down!

So don't make it easy - - stand up and be heard,
Slow down, slow the Man down!
And don't let them sell you a gold-plated turd!
Give us some time to slow the Man down!!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 9:57 pm
'

'

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:25 am

and 1=

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:25 am

' and 1=

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:26 am
\'

\'

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:26 am
'''

'''

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:27 am

ookjk85h74

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:27 am

1 OR 1=1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:28 am

1' OR '1'='1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:28 am
1'1

1'1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:29 am

' 1 AND 1=1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:29 am

1 AND 1=1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:30 am

1\'1

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:30 am

) or ('1'='1--

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:31 am

' or 1=1/*

Posted by Guest on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:31 am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.