HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum About
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions


Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2009, 4:04 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
Tenderloin's heritage wins national notice

Quote:
Tenderloin's heritage wins national notice
John King
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

San Francisco's newest historic district includes gargoyles and chariots, overblown balconies - and street crime and blight.

Those latter traits are no surprise in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood west of Union Square that most of us pass through hurriedly, if at all. But the architectural richness is real, and it deserves celebration as a reminder of how complex a city can be.

That complexity is one reason it took so long for the 33 blocks and 409 "contributing" buildings of the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District to finally be added last month to the National Register of Historic Places.

The saga began in 1982, when architectural historian Anne Bloomfield surveyed a troubled neighborhood being chewed on the east by convention hotels and on the south by institutional expansion.

History buffs wanted to protect the sturdy masonry apartment buildings that filled the district in the decades after the 1906 earthquake. But the push for landmark status was opposed - not only by property owners fearful of new regulations but by activists who saw the specter of gentrification lurking behind the robes of preservation.

Fast-forward 25 years.

During that time the Tenderloin's zoning was tightened and height limits were lowered, so hotel towers no longer are a threat. Low-rent residential hotels are barred from conversion into tourist inns. The main real estate action these days is from nonprofit developers seeking to build safe housing on the underutilized sites that remain.

In this climate, the architectural heritage becomes a badge of pride: "There's a real quality here," says Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Committee since 1980 and a force behind the new district.

Bloomfield's survey was updated and expanded by architectural historian Michael Corbett with the help of a city grant. The revised version emphasizes social change along with architectural details, forthrightly describing the Tenderloin as "a distinctive residential area ... also associated with commercial activity, entertainment and vice."

As for property owners, the controls they face are no tighter than before. But if they restore their buildings in historically accurate ways, they're now eligible for tax credits of up to 40 percent.

Becoming one of San Francisco's 24 recognized historic districts doesn't change reality. Drug trade is persistent on some blocks. Social services targeted to the down-and-out also attract grifters looking for trouble.

But the district absolutely deserves the honor. To see what I mean, take a walk up Hyde Street from Market.

The first two blocks are grim, blank walls erected by institutions eager to turn their back on the neighbors. North of Golden Gate Avenue, though, the pace picks up.

The street is walled by a dense march of buildings roughly the same size, age and vaguely classic style. A close look reveals accents and flair - 138 Hyde from 1915, for instance, where the entrance behind the (recent) security gate has etched glass framing the door.

The 200 block includes low structures erected in the 1930s by film studios needing space to store movies destined for the cinemas of Market Street. Now they're occupied mostly by nonprofits, but at 255 Hyde there's fresh paint on the ornamental lions and theatrical masks that marked the presence of tenant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


The Ben Hur apartments at Hyde and Ellis streets, built in 1926, feature a baby-blue chariot beneath each window.

The next block includes the round neon sign for Lafayette Coffee Shop Prime Rib where, indeed, a prime rib dinner is on the menu for $11.75 (no, I didn't see Alice Waters at a table inside). Another block brings the Ben Hur, six stories of apartments from 1926 with a baby-blue chariot beneath each bay window.

The show continues when you turn onto O'Farrell Street and head east, toward the familiar terrain of Powell Street. If nothing else, slow down for the Abbey Garage at 550 O'Farrell - where this most mundane of building types was erected in 1924 with a theatrical balcony above the entrance and a row of gargoyles beneath the roofline.


Gargoyles look down on the entrance to the 1924 Abbey Garage, at 550 O'Farrell St.

Creation of the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District does more than bring outside attention to a surprisingly evocative landscape of early 20th century urbanism. It sends a message of validation to Tenderloin residents who struggle to make their home a better place.

"The listing is an opportunity for people in the neighborhood to recognize that when you look up, there's a lot to appreciate," says Jack Gold, executive director of San Francisco Architectural Heritage.

The Tenderloin's determinedly dignified buildings went up long before today's drug dealers arrived. With luck, they'll endure long after the current troubles depart.


Now an apartment building aimed at low income in residents, the six story building at 240 Jones St. debuted in 1925 as the Roosevelt Hotel

For more on the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District, go to www.uptowntl.org.

For more information on the National Register of Historic Places, go to: www.nps.gov/nr.

Place appears on Tuesdays. E-mail John King at jking@sfchronicle.com.
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...DDHO16E9P7.DTL
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2009, 4:27 AM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DC -> Chicago -> Oakland
Posts: 7,349
It's too bad the area is seemingly left to the druggies & criminals just because of a fear of gentrification. God forbid such a prime location in the city become a safe area for people to enjoy both day & night.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2009, 9:31 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
It isn't actually being left to them. Some of San Francisco's best midrise projects are going up there. It's just that they are mostly subsidized "affordable" housing being built by non-profit developers.

Here are some new construction projects (those not otherwise credited were taken by me, many with my cellphone so the quality isn't the greatest, for which I'm sorry):

180 Jones

Source: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/0...eader_comments

Eddy & Taylor

Source: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/0...oin_grocer.php

125 Mason


149 Mason

Source: http://glide.org/149MasonSt.aspx

125 and 149 Mason together

Source: http://glide.org/Housing.aspx

Polk & Geary


650 Eddy

Source: http://www.tndc.org/properties/in_development.html

Turk St Salvation Army Housing

Source: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...=24868&page=74

Also thorough renovations of a number of buildings including

44 McAllister

Source: http://www.tndc.org/properties/in_development.html

165 Turk

Source: http://www.tndc.org/properties/in_development.html

220 Golden Gate

Source: http://www.tndc.org/properties/in_development.html
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 12:27 AM
pdxtex's Avatar
pdxtex pdxtex is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,621
is the tenderloin really that rough, ie, crime-wise??? i just don't coorelate hardened criminal activity and san fransisco in the same sentence...im from detroit so my sense of dangerous neighborhood might be skewed....
__________________
Portland!! Where young people go to retire.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 12:57 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
is the tenderloin really that rough, ie, crime-wise??? i just don't coorelate hardened criminal activity and san fransisco in the same sentence...im from detroit so my sense of dangerous neighborhood might be skewed....
Yes and no. The Tenderloin is a thriving minority (mostly southeast and south Asian--Vietnamese, Laotian and Pakistani mostly) neighborhood with many families and lots of kids due to the "affordable" housing being built there, some of which I posted above. There is also, however, still a lot of very low income housing (San Francisco's lowest)--single room occupancy (SRO) hotels and such--plus many, if not most, of the city's social support services for low income people and substance abusers. Therefore, you have perhaps an unusual mix of a thriving scene of ethnic stores, restaurants and services, and substance abusers along with those who prey on or enable them. Again, during daylight hours, I find this scene quite safe and I both walk through it (since it lies between my condo and the Union Square shopping area) and get regular lunchtime fixes of Indo-Pak food there all the time.

At night, the hard working, honest minority folks are mostly indoors or asleep and the businesses serving them closed, so the druggies or other bad guys tend to take over the streets. In reality, this is at its worst in just a small area along Turk, Eddy, Ellis and O'Farrell Sts. The proximity of this area to the Civic Center BART Station doesn't help. I may catch some flack for saying it, because San Franciscans risk blowback by blaming anything on Oakland, but I have watched the active drug supermarket in UN Plaza over top the BART Station and I am quite certain most of the sellers are Oakland residents while the buyers live in the Tenderloin. I know both things because when there is violence, the shooters and victims are nearly always Oakland residents, whereas I have worked with a methadone program serving users who live in the Tenderloin and I have seen them scoring in the UN Plaza marketplace. A similar scene also occurs, by the way, at 14th & Mission overt the BART Station there.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 2:05 AM
SuburbanNation SuburbanNation is offline
Closed account
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,116
.

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Mar 19, 2009 at 3:47 AM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 3:22 AM
tech12's Avatar
tech12 tech12 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oakland
Posts: 3,133
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF
The Tenderloin is a thriving minority (mostly southeast and south Asian--Vietnamese, Laotian and Pakistani mostly) neighborhood
Don't forget the Central American community that's been growing quite a bit lately. The Surenos, who most people only associate with the Mission District, actually claim part of the tenderloin as their territory, as well as part of SOMA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
is the tenderloin really that rough, ie, crime-wise??? i just don't coorelate hardened criminal activity and san fransisco in the same sentence...im from detroit so my sense of dangerous neighborhood might be skewed....
It's not SF's worst neighborhood, but yes it can be rough, crime-wise. The tenderloin is very busy and mostly ok during the day, especially if you have any street smarts. During the day as long as you aren't looking for trouble or being stupid you'll be fine. At night it tends to get much more sketchy though because it empties of most "normal" people, but all the drug dealers, addicts and homeless people stay out and about. As far as the crime, drug dealers from around SF and the Bay Area congregate in the tenderloin, and they like to shoot each other pretty regularly. Then of course there are tons of addicts who need money, which increases the amount of robberies, thefts, smash and grabs from cars, and stuff like that. In terms of homicides and shootings the tenderloin tends to have less than other SF hoods such as Hunters Point or the Mission District. The tenderloin does have the largest concentration of robberies in SF though, and it has to have the most prostitutes (of all genders) around. Here's a news article about a recent drive-by shooting in the tenderloin that killed one and injured 5, just to give an example: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/crim...-41465372.html

I don't know why people have this perception that just because it's San Francisco, there's can't possibly be any "hardened criminal activity." No the crime rate has never been as high as Detroit, but that doesn't mean there are no parts of SF with a serious history of violence, poverty, gangs and drugs and all that stuff. It does exist here. For example, San Francisco has had a higher crime rate than LA for the past three years, and the crime rate was actually pretty similar to LA's back in the early and mid 90's when things were particularly bad in both cities. The city and alot of uninformed people like to make SF seem exceptionally safe, the former for business/tourist interests, the latter simply out of ignorance (they tend to be transplants who don't know much about the city except for stereotypes). The fact that Oakland, which is always on "most dangerous" lists, is right next door, probably doesn't help bring attention to this misconception either.

The only time in recent years that SF has really had a low overall crime rate was in the time from around 1998 until maybe 2003.

Last edited by tech12; Mar 19, 2009 at 3:32 AM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 3:55 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanNation View Post
What neighborhood of the City of Detroit did you live in?

My hostel that i will be staying at is or on the edge of (i believe) the tenderloin, i'm sure i will be walking around at night but im guessing the City of San Francisco does frown on otherwise law abiding folks carrying antique derringers. I assume that if I'm not walking all over someone or my eyes aren't as wide as the moon...

not that a derringer will safely deliver me from a scary, confusing situation...
Where's the hostel? I'm guessing it's on Market St and a Tenderloin-adjacent area called "Mid-Market". During the day that area has a lot of street hustlers and panhandlers and such, but at night it's pretty deserted and safer than the center of the Tenderloin because it's the city's main transportation artery.

In the middle of the T-loin your main risk is not somebody victimizing you intentionally but simply that you will be collateral damage in somebody's beef with somebody else. That almost happened to me once--I was walking up Turk St. and 2 or 3 minutes after I had passed a particular spot, somebody pulled a drive-by there and shot about 6 people. I had reached the end of the block and heard the shooting, turned around and saw the people (who had been standing in a group as I passed) lying on the sidewalk. A derringer wouldn't help you in such a situation. On the other hand, I often do carry pepper spray when walking around SF. You might consider that.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 3:56 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by tech12 View Post
Don't forget the Central American community that's been growing quite a bit lately. The Surenos, who most people only associate with the Mission District, actually claim part of the tenderloin as their territory, as well as part of SOMA.
I did not know that.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 4:32 AM
pdxtex's Avatar
pdxtex pdxtex is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,621
i actually grew up in a lansing which isn't really peachy itself but i worked in delray and down off south jefferson during college. delray is scary looking but is actually a safer part of detroit consider its pretty bombed out and nobody lives there. concerning SF, i never said that crime didn't happen but when i think of west coast crime, los angeles seems like the epicenter....though ive hear oakland is pretty dodgy....
__________________
Portland!! Where young people go to retire.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 5:26 AM
Cirrus's Avatar
Cirrus Cirrus is offline
cities|transit|croissants
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 18,218
Eddy & Taylor is one ugly building.
__________________
BeyondDC: blog | twitter | flickr | instagram | Exploring urbanism and transportation in the Washington, DC area.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 6:31 AM
Capsule F Capsule F is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: 16th and green
Posts: 1,911
TEN-DER-LOIN
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 9:26 AM
tech12's Avatar
tech12 tech12 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oakland
Posts: 3,133
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
i actually grew up in a lansing which isn't really peachy itself but i worked in delray and down off south jefferson during college. delray is scary looking but is actually a safer part of detroit consider its pretty bombed out and nobody lives there. concerning SF, i never said that crime didn't happen but when i think of west coast crime, los angeles seems like the epicenter....though ive hear oakland is pretty dodgy....
Well all cities have their bad areas. Oakland has always been the worst of the three per capita, and back in the early and mid 90's SF and LA actually had pretty similar violent crime rates. LA's was a little higher, and SF had a higher property crime rate. SF's violent crime went down as did LA's, and then SF's went back up, while LA's continued to drop...so now SF has both a higher violent and property crime rate than LA. Of cities with a population above 250,000 on the west coast in 2007, the highest murder rates were in Oakland, and San Francisco. The highest violent crime rates were in Oakland, followed by Stockton, Sacramento, and San Francisco...all in Northern California.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 1:13 PM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
LA has a serious police department and a DA who actually prosecutes criminals. Maybe that helps.

To edge this back on topic, so does Oakland which is partly why Oakland drug dealers like doing business in the Tenderloin. SF law enforcement is a joke.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2009, 6:04 PM
Capsule F Capsule F is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: 16th and green
Posts: 1,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
LA has a serious police department and a DA who actually prosecutes criminals. Maybe that helps.

To edge this back on topic, so does Oakland which is partly why Oakland drug dealers like doing business in the Tenderloin. SF law enforcement is a joke.
Well they don't want to infringe upon drug dealers rights in SF, they might offend someone.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2009, 7:43 PM
Jackrockson Jackrockson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
LA has a serious police department and a DA who actually prosecutes criminals. Maybe that helps.

To edge this back on topic, so does Oakland which is partly why Oakland drug dealers like doing business in the Tenderloin. SF law enforcement is a joke.
lol she has a point
Reply With Quote
     
     
End
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:10 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.