Issue 504 July 2011

Linked Fortunes: Mid-Market and the Uptown Tenderloin

They thrived together, then declined together. Now these key neighborhoods are primed for a joint revival.
San Francisco’s recent payroll tax exemption for the Mid-Market and Uptown Tenderloin reaffirmed a century-long connection between these neighborhoods. From the 1890s through the 1950s, Mid-Market theater patrons and shoppers dined and drank in Uptown Tenderloin bars and restaurants. Through the 1930s, Market Street movie theaters picked up their films from the many film exchanges in the Uptown Tenderloin. Market Street also attracted people to Uptown Tenderloin bordellos and gambling houses, the latter often tucked in the back of cigar stores. Both neighborhoods promoted a “bachelor culture” of pool halls, bathhouses and cheap restaurants that helped make them a popular destination for sailors during World War II. Mid-Market Street and the Uptown Tenderloin experienced decades of great economic times. Both had clear functions in San Francisco’s broader economy. Mid-Market was the “Great White Way,” where people from the entire Bay Area came to see first-run movies at historic movie palaces... Read More »

A Walk Down Market Street

The story of San Francisco's main drag embodies the history of the city itself.
The story of San Francisco's main drag embodies the history of the city itself. Read More »

Four Ways to Transform Mid-Market

Strategies for a vital economy in San Francisco's central district
After many years of fits and starts , San Francisco's Mid-Market area is stirring with prospects for transformation. Projects about to begin, as well as those still in planning, will bring new vitality to our long-neglected civic concourse. The already-approved CityPlace project, a new 250,000-square-foot retail development, will extend the commercial vibrancy of the San Francisco Centre to the stretch of Market Street west of Fifth Street. At the other end of the Mid-Market area, Twitter will move next year to the San Francisco Mart Building between Ninth and 10th streets. The relocation of Twitter is a huge coup, for both the city and the neighborhood, and is made possible by the city's recent agreement to exempt some employers in this zone from the municipal payroll tax. San Francisco has a unique business tax that requires companies with payrolls in excess of $250,000 to pay the city the equivalent of... Read More »

What Makes an Arts District Successful?

Cities across the country are using arts districts as a redevelopment tool. Here’s why the best ones work.
Cities across the country are using arts districts as a redevelopment tool. Here’s why the best ones work. Read More »

Urban Field Notes: Trek Links Green Spaces in SF's Emerald Necklace

As the end users of design, we are often limited to the prescribed use of a space. Yet, to be everyday urbanists means to liberate ourselves from that prescriptive logic and find the uses we need in the spaces we have at hand. In the same way that little kids find forts in trundle beds, we must enact what we desire from a city in the city we have. Read More »

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