by JIM MEKO
An early morning fire this past Sunday did to the so-called purple building on 11th Street what years of controversy failed to do.
Once the target of anti-residential zeal, the entertainment lobby convinced Supervisor Jane Kim to change the zoning along 11th Street from WMUG (friendly to residential development) to WMUO (mixed-use office), which precludes housing. Entertainment advocates had pushed for a down-zoning to service and industrial uses but Kim and the Planning Commission chose instead to create a different sort of up-zoning. The residential project proposed for the site has since been changed to an office development.
Owen Loo, owner of the property said – and the Inspection Report confirms – that there were people living illegally upstairs and, given the time the fire started, he suspects they must have had something to do with it. The person who rents the downstairs would probably not be working at 4:00 AM, Loo said.
Ten years ago, another controversial development at the corner of 11th and Harrison burned to the ground in a fire that was widely attributed to entertainment industry extremists. No mention of arson has surfaced yet on this latest blaze but members of the California Music and Culture Association (CMAC), an entertainment industry lobbying organization, turned out legions of passionate supporters for city hall hearings to excoriate the owners of the purple building for ruining their fun.
Ironically, the fire may have the unintended consequence of speeding up change along the 11th Street corridor. High end office use can have the same gentrification-related influence on property values as housing and the damage will probably lead to the early demolition of the purple building.
4 responses to “Purple building looks like toast”
Thanks for the update. Right on point. CMA gives a rats ass about anything other than their profits. So far our neighborhood is waiting for them to give something….anything ….back to our community. A post night venue neighborhood cleanup would be nice, but heck why should they offer to do it when we neighbors are forced to do it!
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I remember this issue as a topic of discussion at a SoMa Leadership Council meeting way back when. I understand the concerns regarding furthering a residential building so close to 11th Street nightclubs, but the idea was to have studio units on the 11th Street side and build the larger units, one-two bedroom, towards the back of the building.
It was made very clear from the very start that these were not going to be condos, but rental units. This would be a lot different than selling owner-occupied units to first-time homebuyers (unfamiliar with the neighborhood) whose life savings are dedicated to a 30 year mortgage and future property values.
Residents at the purple building could sign month-to-month leases. If the street noise was too much to handle, they could simply not renew their leases and move. Heck, there are a lot a people, mostly younger folks, who would love to live on 11th Street between Folsom and Harrison. They could go nightclubbing just across the street, or even just stay on the same block. If the line was too long for the restroom, you could simply go back to your apartment and use your own bathroom! These would have been residential units close to Muni, Costco, Rainbow Grocery, and Trader Joe’s.
If the building owner/landlord could not find residents, he was willing to take that risk. They should have been allowed to proceeded with residential units and if they did not work out, then they could have converted the interior spaces to office space.
“They could go nightclubbing just across the street, or even just stay on the same block. If the line was too long for the restroom, you could simply go back to your apartment and use your own bathroom!”
Wow finally a justification for living next to clubs…unfortunately that doesn’t apply to renters that have lived here BEFORE any club of any sort….go back to 1960s…there were no clubs, now there are and they have impacts that are all external! Why has not the city asked for EIRs related to clubs. They have all sorts of impacts…parking, transportation, noise (duh), violence (but that is not considered an impact in SF, the list is endless!