Virtuous Cycle on Van Ness

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Handel is the firm behind Crescent Heights’ residential complex at 10th and Market streets. Miami-based Crescent became one of the first developers to act on the vision for the area in 2011 by launching 10th and Market Residences. Twitter Inc.’s new headquarters is across the street. Construction of the 754 units and 30,000 square feet of amenity space with a fitness center, a swimming pool, a fire pit and a billiards room is well underway. The south tower is set to open in the fall, and the north tower in the early part of 2014.

Trinity Place, with 1,900 apartments (rentals) and 60,000 square feet of new retail between Market, Mission and 8th streets, is open to visitors, with the first tenants to move in July. The first building, at 1188 Mission St., offers fully furnished junior one bedrooms and amenities like underground parking, fitness centers, bike storage and a do-it-yourself workshop. The second building, at 1190 Mission, which offers unfurnished junior-one-bedroom and one-bedroom apartments, will open in August.

NEMA San Francisco condo The Registry real estateSan Francisco real estate investor David Choo owns four parcels on Market Street between Franklin Street and Van Ness and engaged starchitect Richard Meier who designed a condominium development with a 400-foot tower and 180 homes atop a 65-foot podium building. It is currently under California Environmental Quality Act review.

At 8 Octavia Blvd., DM Development Partners LLC and DDG Partners are developing 47 condominiums, multi-level retail and parking in a property designed by Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc. It is expected to open in late 2014. A development at Market and 9th streets with 273 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail is to begin leasing in the fall.

As of the fourth quarter of 2012, 40 residential and commercial projects in the Market and Octavia area were in the pipeline, according to the San Francisco Planning Department.

Drew Gordon, Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. senior vice president for Northern California, said the city’s interest in the area’s renewal is directly behind his company’s decision to invest where the mid-Market area gives way to the Van Ness corridor. “The mayor’s focus on improving that section of Market Street gave us a strong conviction to continue to look for investments in that location,” he said. Hudson Pacific acquired 1455 Market St. in 2010, which portable payment company Square Inc. will be calling home by summer. In June, Hudson Pacific acquired 901 Market St., with 122,000 square feet of offices and 90,000 square feet of retail. Nordstrom Rack has leased not quite half the retail.

Chris Maguire, chief executive of Cypress Equities, already sees change. The Dallas-based real estate firm and Washington, DC private equity firm The Carlyle Group are developing Market Street Place, a 250,000-square-foot retail center on Mid-Market. “Market has been this little war zone, but it’s not a dead-end—it’s between City Hall, now the new Twitter headquarters, Union Square, and the Financial District. It’s not on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s surrounded by plenty of high-income residential and retail hubs,” he said.

“By the time we deliver our project in 2015, you’ll see people shopping, going to the theater and out to dinner,” he said, “because now they’ll have a reason.”

Public safety, vacant storefronts, cleanliness and homelessness were the most common concerns expressed to the city by local residents, merchants and workers in 2011. As the buildings around Market and Van Ness and in the nearby mid-Market District fill with boutiques, coffee shops, hipsters, overworked programmers and Lululemon-clad yogis, a sense of community should emerge, grit and all.

“You’re going to have a lot more people walking around, day and night, which brings more services, more retail, a greater sense of security,” Babsin said. “But there are certain things that aren’t going to change.” Fifty-one percent of the city’s single-room housing units, which provide affordable shelter for the poor, are in the mid-Market area. That will remain. “It won’t ever be gentrified like South Beach, which was built in the 1990s and 2000s. It will remain a pretty diverse area,” Babsin said.

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Photography by Laura Kudritzki

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