Activists score big victory as Jack Spade gives up on the Mission

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Jack Spade was trying to open in the spot that housed the beloved Adobe Book Store until earlier this year.

Score one for people power. Anti-gentrification activists in the Mission scored a major victory last night in their months-long battle to keep Jack Spade, an upscale men’s clothing chain, from opening a store on 16th Street — first by winning over the Board of Appeals, then by convincing the company to just give up.

So Jack Spade won’t be opening in the site of the old Adobe Book Store location near Valencia Street, an outcome engineered by the grassroots activism of the Stop Jack Spade Coalition, Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, and progressive politicians who supported the cause.

At issue at last night’s packed hearing was an appeal of the Planning Department’s ruling that Jack Spade didn’t fall under formula retail rules because it had one short of the 11 stores needed to meet the definition, even though it’s an expanding part of 5th and Pacific Co. and a brother brand to Kate Spade, which has dozens of stores around the country.

Activists considered it a long shot given the supermajority needed to overrule the decision and force a conditional use permit hearing before the store could open, particularly after falling short with the board in August. But this time, the activists won, with the board voting 4-1 to set a full rehearing for Dec. 11.

As representatives of the corporation left the hearing, they told a few activists and business owners that they “were done.” And when the Guardian reached 5th and Pacific CEO Bill McComb by email today, he confirmed that the company is giving up on this controversial location, where activists were concerned its deep-pocketed presence would accelerate gentrification of the neighborhood.

"[We're] not going to war with the neighbors. We like those people and their neighborhood and we are not fighting the issue. There are many a fine location for Jack Spade. Peace to the city!" McComb wrote to us.

It was a thrilling surprise for the activists that have been organizing against the project for months, and it was reminiscent of the successful 2009 effort to stop American Apparel from opening up shop on Valencia, involving some of the same activists and organizing tactics.

"We're very pleased about last night," said Andy Blue, an activist working with local merchants. "We saw a significant shift in momentum and a tremendous community showing. It was clearly a victory for the neighborhood."

It was a big turnaround from just a few weeks ago, when it looked like Jack Spade had won, and a sign of the rising importance of gentrification issues to San Franciscans who face rising residential and commercial rents fueled by the latest dot-com boom and Mayor Ed Lee’s corporate welfare policies.

"Six months ago, a lot of people in San Francisco felt powerless with the rapid displacement of residents," said Blue. "It was like, 'What can we do, you know?'"
But then, as Blue said, "the resistance started boiling up."

The local merchants decided to appeal the Planning Department decision that would have allowed Jack Spade to simply open its doors with no public hearing. "So many people who were being affected by it started sharing their stories, and things started happening. People had had enough," said Blue. "The San Francisco that we love is this diverse, unique place and we were watching  it transform into something totally different."

Simply getting to yesterday’s hearing was a huge step for the activist population standing up against the retailer, Blue said. But after the rehearing request was granted, the local merchants still needed to prove that "manifest injustice" had taken place during Jack Spade's permit acquisition process if the merchants wanted the actual rehearing. 

This presented a problem to the VCMA and others. To prove "manifest injustice" had taken place during the permit application process, the merchants needed to prove that Jack Spade not only applied for their permits under a dubious guise, but that they were well aware of just how dubious it was. To be manifestly unjust, the unfairness must be "direct, obvious and observable," a list that isn't always easy to satisfy. 

While the two sides can't seem to come to a consensus on how much the rent will actually increase in the surrounding area due to Jack Spade's arrival, this controversy arose at a time when neighborhoods throughout the city have been rising up against gentrification.

And this may not be the last time that this company is in the crosshairs of that concern. Asked whether its decision applies to the whole city or just this one location, McComb told us, “Just that spot. We have many brand fans in SF.” 

Comments

That battle was fought and lost a long time ago. You cannot stop progress.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

Muriel's Wedding was made in vain. No one of a certain age can hear that phrase unironically.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 9:48 am

where you said that Occupy had changed the face of America.

Posted by anon on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 4:48 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 4:48 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 4:49 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Here's hoping a liquor store moves into that location...

Posted by LOL Barrier on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

They seem to have gotten that market sewn up.

although personally I buy my licqor at either BevMo on Bayshore or at TJ's. Two buck chuck - you can't beat that if you are a low-rent dude in the Mish.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

Mish? ech!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

Just like insiders call the Tenderloin the "TL". And never say "Frisco".

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:48 am

I've lived in The Mission for 20 years. "the mish" screams douche bag. nobody said that until the last waves of douche bags rolled in.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:07 pm
Posted by anon on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

Nothing fights gentrification quite as well as a low-end liquor store, unless it is an open-air drug market.

Posted by LOL barrier! on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

Jack Spade is just another name for the Liz Claiborne high-end fashion chain. Jack Spade is their men's division. Adobe Books had to move because the rent was more than TRIPLED. When only chain stores can afford to rent space then only chain stores will exist.

As for displacing people from their homes, MANY MANY apartments have been turned into commercial spaces because of landlord greed. Just take a look at all the 2nd-floor retail spaces in the Castro.

Well, the same could happen to Valencia, too. Valencia is already a world-renowned dining destination, which has driven up rents, making food less affordable. But bringing in retail chain stores will only drive the rents up further.

As for the landlord on 16th, maybe if he charged a reasonable rent and not an extortion rent, people might think better of him...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

"Valencia is already a world-renowned dining destination..."

World-renowned and Valencia Street? Hardly. The only thing here that is "world-renowned" is the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. That type of thing. In part, because they tour.

As for "world-renowned," (the term is so overused), I suspect if you asked someone in Central America, South America or in Europe or Asia---as examples of The World---where would they eat in San Francisco, they would never say "Valencia Street" if they've even heard of it. They would probably have a blank stare. This is not intended as in disrespect to Valencia Street and their restaurants but calling it "world-renowned" is a bit much. I've seen the cookie store (Hot Cookie) on Castro described as "world-renowned" and I know people in the East Bay and North Bay who said they had never heard of it. So much for "world-renowned," when it's not even known well in the Bay Area.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

You obviously don't travel internationally much because when I tell people where I'm from and we get talking, they always ask about the great restaurants on Valencia street....

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

I guarantee you that few people in Europe or Asia would say that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:49 am

Who cares what they say in Europe or Asia.

Aren't those just streets in the Excelsior?

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 7:09 am

Yeah sure they do. I take it you're connected with a "great" restaurant on Valencia and trying to do not-so-subtle promotion for the restaurants there?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by Troll barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 7:54 am

Top 10 restaurants in San Francisco
The San Francisco restaurant scene dishes up cuisine every bit as varied as the city's culture and nightlife, and with fusion-food a favourite it will definitely tickle, and challenge, your tastebuds

Marcia Gagliardi
The Guardian, Friday 24 May 2013
theguardian/travel/2013/may/25/top-10-restaurants-san-francisco

Bar Tartine
This stylish Mission district restaurant is consistently packed...

Mission Chinese Food
Who knew how much press a restaurant tucked inside a grimy Mission district Chinese dive named Lung Shan was going to generate? This place is a house on fire, just like its incendiary food...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

And you're expecting someone from Europe or Asia or the Americas to have read that?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

They think SF is a real world-class city rather than a marginal town almost falling off the left-hand edge of the planet, far from anywhere else, and in a ridiculously irrelevant time zone.

As the old saying goes, San Franciscans are "too dumb for NY and too ugly for LA".

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:10 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:34 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:35 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:36 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:39 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:39 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:40 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:40 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:40 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

This post is hilarious. Thank you. I have homies in LA who call SF friends: the homelies.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:04 pm
Heh

Good one

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

Uh yeah, it was in one of the biggest newspapers in the UK.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 9:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2013 @ 12:55 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

We do things differently here. Enjoy your stay.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 10:12 am

of course there is no limit to the rent that can be charged for any vacant property, nor for any home built after 1979, nor condo's nor single family homes.

Sorry, but the constitution has not been repealed in SF. And I feel sure this landlord will get a nice rent uplift now that those dirty hippies who ran the Adobe have decanted elsewhere.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 10:27 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:02 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:31 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

Anything would be better than that.

Posted by Guesty on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:12 pm
Posted by barrier on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

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