January 2014

Short Cuts

Steven J. Moss

NABE Neighborly?

Neighbors of the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (Nabe) are questioning the process by which the open space located at 896 De Haro Street was sold to Keegan Construction, which wants to build an 8,400 square feet two-unit building on the property. The ad hoc corner garden, which was gifted to the Nabe in 1944, was bought in 2010 for $330,000. De Haro Street resident Theodore McCullough, among others, believes that the plot was worth at least twice that much, and would have fetched more had it been placed on the Multiple Listing Service rather than being marketed on a more limited basis. According to McCullough, if given the opportunity he and others would have purchased the space and maintained it for public use. At issue is whether the Nabe’s executive director, Edward Hatter, followed proper procedures—including securing board approval—and avoided any conflicts of interest in the property transfer, which occurred during a period in which the Nabe faced a significant budget deficit.

Armed Robbery

Last month, at around 9 one night, a 24-year-old man was robbed near 19th and Texas streets. He told the responding police officers that he’d been taking photographs when a silver sedan slowed as it drove past him. The car stopped, and a suspect got out of the passenger seat. He pointed a gun at the victim and ordered him to surrender his camera. Fearing for his life, the victim quickly complied. The robber grabbed the camera and attached tripod and got back into the vehicle, which sped from the scene. The officers searched the area and were able to locate the car, abandoned, on Turner Terrace. This kind of incident is terrible in its own right, but also directly threatens the View’s ability to cover the neighborhood; one of our photographers has already been mugged for his camera… After nine years, YogaSita closed its Mariposa Street doors last month, ejected by rent increases. It hopes to find a new location in the neighborhood.


Barbeqtue and Beer

Magnolia Pub & Brewery opens a second, larger, outlet in the American Industrial Center, 2505 Third Street, this month. The neighborhood brewpub started on Haight Street in 1997 with a small brewery—producing seven barrels a batch—in the basement, which it outgrew several years ago. At the new Dogpatch facility batch size will jump to 30 barrels, with a new barbeque-centric 80-seat restaurant, Smokestack, also offered. Smokestack’s chef, Dennis Lee, co-owns Namu Gaji in the Mission with his two brothers; the restaurant features two large J&R Manufacturing smokers and a grill with a rotisserie to cook whole pigs, along with a variety of other items, all of which can be ordered at the counter by the pound, along with sides such as pickles, kimchee, burnt end beans, and the like. Devil’s Gulch Ranch, in Marin County, gets the brewery’s spent grain to feed their heritage-breed pigs, which will then be cooked in the restaurant. More than a dozen Magnolia beers are on tap, some only available at the brewery, plus a selection of local guest beers curated from the craft community, as well as classic and newfangled whiskies. Two-liter growlers of beer are also available for purchase, as well as two sizes of kegs for larger events. Magnolia’s owner, Dave McClean, also founded Alembic Bar, so he knows from cocktails. Smokestack is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and continuously throughout the day. Yum!

Bag Zone

Last month, Rickshaw Bagworks, Inc. successfully petitioned the San Francisco Planning Commission to rezone 904 22nd Street, a building the company leases, from RH-3 (Residential House Three Family) to UMU (Urban Mixed Use). The warehouse next door, 975 Indiana, occupied by Ayoob & Peery, Mechanical Contractors, is zoned UMU; while on the other side the building occupied by Cup of Blues and offices on the ground floor, with residential units upstairs, is zoned RH-3. Rickshaw and its landlord, Michael Busk, wanted the zoning change to make improvements to the structure, including repairing dry rot and door jams, replacing window glass, and removing security screens. Rickshaw also plans to add an entrance door to the left of the existing roll-up door. Uses permitted under UMU include light manufacturing, wholesale and retail sales, which aren’t allowed in RH-3. The company had been occupying the building grandfathered in as a non-conforming use…Kaiser Permanente’s nine-story medical building in Mission Bay is scheduled to open for business in early 2016. With no parking being developed as part of the project, physicians, staff, and patients who drive will likely park in the existing 820 space garage across the street at 1670 Owens Street or find “other parking generally available in Mission Bay and [the] surrounding areas.”

3rd (of the Funding) on Third

According to calculations by Bayview resident Robert Davis, the City may be paying as much as $70 per attendee of the 3rd on Third art celebration, with much of the project’s $120,000 government-funded budget diverted to pay for administrative expenses charged by the Bayview Merchants Association (BMA) and San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC). In comparison, Mendell Plaza Presents, the precursor to 3rd on Third, put on almost two dozen events for $50,000, or roughly $20 per attendee. In defense of the expenditures, Judy Nemzoff, SFAC’s community arts and education program director, countered that BMA is “part of the Bayview community” and 80 percent of the funds will be “spent in the community.” The event is an attempt to activate the Third Street commercial corridor, but may suffer from a disease that’s plagued Bayview for a half-century: high overhead on publicly-sponsored projects, with limited benefits for the community. 

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