A corner market space is available for lease at 602 Minnesota Street, on the ground floor of a University of California, San Francisco student and trainee affordable housing complex that’s slated to open in a year. UCSF wants the 5,140 square foot space – four times the size of The Good Life Grocery on 20th Street – to be occupied by a student and neighborhood –focused market that offers groceries, convenience items, prepared foods, coffee, wine, and beer. The Minnesota Street building will house 768 tenants.
UCSF Retail Services is searching for an appropriate vendor to lease the space. “We want someone who is community-focused that will serve the Dogpatch community as well as the students living in the buildings”, said UCSF Retail Services Manager, Jen Dowd.
“Everyone recognizes that Dogpatch needs a food service space of some sort,” said J.R. Eppler, Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association president and a District 10 Supervisor candidate.
“Neighbors recognize that they are living in a food desert,” said Michele Davis, UCSF’s associate director of community relations, who headed community outreach for the Minnesota Street project. “It’s quite a burden to make the trek up Potrero Hill to other markets. Neighbors have also expressed concerns about Whole Foods being beyond many people’s price-point.”
As part of UCSF outreach efforts, Davis attended meetings of the Potrero Boosters, Potrero-Dogpatch Merchants Association, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, and Dogpatch Business Association. She retained Andrea Bakers Consulting, a company that markets itself as “empowering communities to thrive”, which held focus groups and fielded a survey to determine what retail services Dogpatch and Potrero Hill residents wanted.
According to Andrea Bakers Consulting staff person, Pooja Rajani, his firm surveyed residents, workers, and others within a one-mile radius of the building site. They also reached out to people at Potrero Hill festivals, the Potrero Center Safeway, along the 22nd Street commercial corridor, and at UCSF farmers markets. The short survey included questions about preferences for types of items, price points, and operational hours. A total of 487 forms were collected and analyzed via SurveyMonkey.
“People were really excited to have a market that is accessible by walking, especially with the growing parking challenges in Dogpatch,” Davis said. “We recognize the fact that we are newcomers, occupying significant space in the Dogpatch community. We respect our neighbors and recognize that it is their community.”
“I think this a fantastic opportunity for a new business to get a foothold in the neighborhood while it’s developing and enjoy the density that will be coming in the next several years” said Eppler.