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Central Market Street updates

The car ban on Central Market Street has resulted in no shoppers and empty stores. As a result, the homeless "gentlemen of leisure" remain

enthrenched and ruling Central Market sidewalks  HERE

How to create a true 24 hour neighborhood with flourishing sidewalks  HERE
Central Market Street's role in The City and the region  HERE
Plans for a long promised Arts space are delayed and diminished  HERE
Kenneth Rainin Foundation commits to preserving Arts at Central Market   HERE
Hollywood Billiards site: for food or housing or tech?    HERE
An opportunity for an Arts Complex near A.C.T. at Seventh  HERE
Car ban makes Central Market Street The City's most dangerous   HERE
Who walks on Central Market St - and how that could change  HERE

The role of Central Market Street for The City and the entire Bay Area

•  The role of a central business district is to provide employment opportunities for an entire region. Central Market St has the location and the transit to fill this role. It also has the potential to be a regional Art District.

• Arts organizations, which largely operate at night, provide the after-dark visitors who are vital for the all-day flourishing of Central Market St. The Street needs a variety of groups using it to provide a sense of safety and to support Arts and businesses.

• The problem about removing cars from Central Market Street is that shoppers, theatergoers and Nightlifers don't have transit solutions when they want to come to the central city. They need to drive long distances and they want close proximity to the door of their destination.

• Market Street is the final and essential link.


•  Read more about how Arts make cities flourish which is HERE and Inside and Out of the Arts District which is HERE  and Who Walks on Central Market Street which is HERE.

Arts events and Entertainment thrive up and down Central Market Street

• Take a stroll on Market Street from SAFEhouseArts at Market and Eighth (Civic Center stop for Muni, and BART) down toFifth St. You'll find art galleries, the lighted columns building, and new warm and bright restaurants for informal dining.

Up to 2500 square feet  of space designed for rental to performing and visual artists in Central Market for rehearsal, performances, exhibitions, workshops, dance classes, and special events.  

1 Grove Street at Market, Eighth and Hyde Streets

Theaters, arts organizations, black box performing spaces

A possible three part Arts Center at A.C.T. Strand, facing UN Plaza

The Strand Theater at 1127

in times past

• American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has completed reconstruction of the Strand Theater at 1127 Market St, a 1917 movie house with three stories of offices above, which has been closed since 2006. Newly revitalized, the theater gives A.C.T. a much-needed second space in which to produce and present new work and new artists. WEBSITE HERE

• The Strand now includes a 299-seat theater, a "black box" space above for classrooms, rehearsals, and cabaret performances, and a cafe below. The building exterior has been restored and modified, increasing the interior space from 13,000 to 18,000 square feet.

• A.C.T. is underway on a capital campaign to raise the funds needed for the renovation. Skidmore, Owings, Merrill are the architects (plans are shown below).

• A.C.T.'s purchase of the Strand follows soon after the opening of a luxurious, "black box" performance space, The Costume Shop, nearby at 1117 Market Street. They recently renewed their lease of the first and second floors for 10 years with an option for 4 more.

• They had considered moving their offices from Grant St to Central Market. They have 100 permanent employees and 550 part-timers.

• More Theater news and pics of The Strand thru the years HERE.

Opportunity at 1125 Market St

•  Two suggestions include:


1. A.C.T. could sell air rights created above the Strand under a new zoning law for historic structures, permitting a taller building with better views. And A.C.T. would benefit from funds for the Strand reconstruction.

2. An arts center could be contained on the lower floors, above stores and below apartments or office space in the new mixed use building. This portion could be a condo owned by a non-profit group.

•  A long vacant lot lies between the A.C.T. black box theater (which is in space rented by A.C.T.) and the Strand (which is owned by A.C.T.).

•  MacFarlane Partners has sold the lot to Hong Kong investors. They had proposed modifying a previous proposal for a 12 story apartment building with one for 150 units.


•  In fact, the price which Great Eagle Holdings paid, $19.8 million, could make a twelve story apartment building an impossible project.


•  The 150 units exceed the as-of-right dwelling unit density, which gives the new owner, the City, the Planning Department and A.C.T. a starting point for a new plan to include Arts Spaces.


•   Mid-Market Street is not suitable for residential use and would waste the proximity of the Bart station with its potential for bringing jobs to the city.

New certainty for the Arts Centers clustered at Centtral Market Street near Sixth

•  The Luggage Store Gallery at 1007 Market St will gain ownership of its location thanks to a program established by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to retain performance and gallery space at and around Central Market.

•  The Community Arts Stabilization Trust, a new nonprofit, will receive $1 million a year from the foundation for five years in order to purchase more properties for arts groups.

•  Since 1993, The Luggage Store and associated groups have served Tenderloin residents with display and work space, including regular parties and events.


• A  long-term lease was signed by Hospitality House Community Art Program to stay - though they have a six months shut down for renovations of their store.

SF Camerawork provides an active and diverse photo gallery at 1011 Market Street

SF Camerawork is a fine arts photography center. Located on the second floor of 1011 Market Street, the entry is just to the right of The Luggage Store Gallery. Website: HERE

• Jensen Architects did the design and supplied the art at right.

• The building was purchased in August, 2015 by an investor from China who has cleared out the two first floor store tenants - one an arts and performance place, the other an oriental art sales gallery.

A place for Central Market Arts: the street

•  Colpa Press had been bravely and persistently maintaining a former newsstand near the corner of Sixth Street, in front of Blick Art Materials, across from The Warfield Theater. It was open on weekends to sell artist made publications and creations. This could be the prototype for a unique Central Market attraction, using existing and abandoned resources.


• The kiosks are now small, unlighted, unheated and unplumbed.

•  During the rebuilding of Market St, beginning in 2017, empty kiosks throughout the city could be moved to Central Market, replacing now existing billboards. They could be solarized to provide light and heat. Weekends and early evenings would be kiosk time, bringing people to permanent and pop-up galleries and to monitors of entertainment listings and previews updated instantly by internet.
A proposal for high tech, informational kiosks  HERE
The museum on Market St offers free admission for another year - with new exhibits

• The International Art Museum of America on Central Market St is open FREE from Tuesday thru Sunday from 11 to 5.



• The gallery Opened on October 15, 2011. It is a great place for meetings and events.

The former United Artists Theater: New 90 apartment building is under construction here

• Most recently known as the Market Street Cinema, this building has been demolished.

Tthe Central Market CBD has a program to cover vacant stores with art works. WEBSITE HERE


But this design has recently been covered by black plywood.


• Learn about the Central Market Spaces Plan: HERE

Roots Division Gallery moves to Mission Street, between Seventh and Eighth


• Root Division, a visual arts non-profit, which presents gallery shows, makes the move from Market Street.


They are currently conducting preview events and tours as part of a fund raising campaign.


The wall art is by other artists - not Root Division.




1131 Mission Street (at 7th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 863-7668

Gallery hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 2-6pm (or by appointment)



Planed Arts space is abruptly dropped by the the owner of the nearby Warfield building


•  Arts groups have long looked at the corner of Market, Mason, and Turk Streets as the site for an Arts Center. The location is close to BART and Muni at Powell St and to The Warfield and Golden Gate Theaters at the other end of the block.


• The Thatcher family owned the triangular corner site at Market and Turk. They maintained the two story building and kept the stores filled - in contrast to the larger site to the west. That site was assembled as a speculation by the group which proposed the a box shopping shopping center across the street.


•  Will Thatcher, A.C.T. and especially Elvin Padilla of the North of Market Neighborhood Improvement Corp presented a proposal for an Arts Education and Performance Center at the corner, but the successive owners of the larger site declined to participate.

•  Then in June 2013, Group I, the owners of the office building which surrounds the Warfield Theater, purchased the two sites and announced plans for a twelve story building with apartments above and Arts and stores on the lower floors.


•  A new proposal was presented in October 2013 for a second tower on the site containing a hotel of about 250 suites, an atrium, a restaurant, and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The Arts space would have been in a lower portion of this tower.


•  Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) had been selected to design 950-974 Market Street. BIG is a Copenhagen-based group of architects, designers and thinkers "operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development."


•  The goal of the project was to "secure a permanent home for some of the City’s most beloved and beleaguered arts organizations." The arts facilities could have been 75,000-square-foot, but details were not described.


•  The 950 Center for Arts & Education, a consortium of San Francisco non-profit arts and education groups, was organizing the art space program and a capital campaign to build multiple performing theater spaces, administrative offices, rehearsal rooms, studios and classrooms.


•  But finally, on February 25, Group I dropped the promise to work with the city to create special use rezoning for the increased size of the new plan and to devise a way to subsidize 316 moderate rate residential units.


The 950-74 Partnership web site is HERE.

The 950 Center for Art and Education is HERE.


More stores on the site have been poarded up.





2010 -



Contact us: observesf.com, E-mail: observesf@me.com, Anthony King, editor
Continue to the Proposed Central Market Street Art Spaces Plan