After decades of disinvestment and decline, Mid-Market Street in downtown San Francisco seems to be finally headed toward revitalization. Plywood has come off vacant storefronts, sidewalks are filled with pedestrians headed to work, and loud sounds of construction serve as an unfamiliar soundtrack for the historically troubled neighborhood.
How did this happen?
- In March 2011, Shorenstein purchased two historic buildings that span an entire block of Mid-Market Street between 9th and 10th Street;
- In April 2011, San Francisco created a six-year payroll tax exemption zone on Mid-Market Street for hires businesses make after moving there;
- In the same month, Twitter finalized a deal with Shorenstein to lease space in their newly renovated “Market Square”;
- Since then, notable companies such as One King’s Lane, ZenDesk, Zoosk, Benchmark Capital, Yammer, and Dolby Laboratories have moved to Mid-Market, and 1,500 housing units are either in the planning phase or already being built.
Even with controversy brewing over the tax exemption (i.e., “Twitter taxbreak”), there’s no doubt that Market Square has begun to change Mid-Market Street. But complete revitalization is still far off, and economic upturn has raised more questions:
- Will the upswing sparked by Twitter and Shorenstein bring sustainable economic development to the entire Mid-Market neighborhood?
- Will advocacy, rent control, and new housing developments be enough to ensure that current residents can remain?
- What will happen to the cluster of services in Mid-Market that exist to serve the poor and homeless population there?
- And finally, what will Mid-Market Street look and feel like after these changes? Will it be the change San Franciscans want?
Are there any revitalization projects going on in your neighborhood? What do you think about them?
Credits: Images by Steven Chang. Data linked to sources.