Introducing arts into a neighborhood is often considered a step on an inevitable path to gentrification.
The three steps:
But artists, art workers and art patrons are also the victims of gentrification. They build studios, theaters, galleries, attract restaurants and shops to a neighborhood at great personal and financial cost.
Then rising rents and new construction drive them out.
The new plans for Central Market
offer an opportunity to end the spiral to gentrification
Tenderloin residents will not be affected by Central Market Art Space Zoning. They will not be driven out due to San Francisco’s “many anti-displacement laws,” says Randy Shaw of Tenderloin Housing Clinic, a large activator of the Tenderloin and SOMA low cost housing.
Residents of the “luxury look” supportive housing buildings constructed by non-profit housing organizations South of Market Street and around the Hilton are also protected from dislocation.
In the residential field, The City requires luxury builders to also construct lower rent units as a percentage of the luxury units. The Arts Space plan is similar in a limited number of ways,
In the case of the Central Market Art Space program, the district would be one distinct area: between Fifth and Eighth Streets for buildings facing on Market Street or within a required distance from Market. Benefits and obligations would not be available anywhere else.
A new zoning law would be created for for historic structures, allowing the owners to sell air rights to builders and renovators within the Central Market Arts District.
Builders would be required to supply a permanent space for nonprofit art organizations, typically in the basement or second floor. The size requirement would be a percentage of the upper floor space. The electrical, plumbing and elevator space, and ceiling height specs would be similar in each project.
The size of the Arts space would not count towards the zoning limits.
In addition, the builder would be granted a bonus space which would not be counted as part of the zoning limit.
An example of such a facility is at a lower floor at Bindlestiff Studio, 185 6th St. just off Howard St --- although not all projects would be as deluxe.
The units would be rented, maintained and promoted by a committee made up of artists, the building owner and a representative of The City.
The rental terms would be aimed towards flexibility.
The goal is to create permanent arts spaces of various sizes, in a unique district of The City, fostering a continuing arts community, increasing the value of the buildings involved, making the highest use of all the unique transportation facilities in the Central Market district.
And, above all, we can create permanent lofts, work spaces, performing venues and galleries to exist as long as the buildings exist. Through lean times and creative blocks, the spaces would remain available.
If any place could make it happen, that place is San Francisco!