San Francisco Armory (Image source: sfarmory.com)
Kink.com (a local internet fetish company) has purchased the San Francisco Armory (1800 Mission) for $14.5 million and “intends to use the building for [their] core business of producing adult movies for internet distribution.” So much for those proposed condos.
San Francisco Armory Pictures and Floor Plans [SFArmory.com]
The New Pornographers [7x7 San Francisco]
Mission Armory Redux? [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Delance St Resident

    Damned dot commers driving out local yuppies from their natural loft spaces…

  2. Posted by zzzzzzz

    Well, it’s better than having an abandoned building. But it seems from the article like there won’t be any renovations or improvements to the building itself–the porn studio will just move in and leave the building in its blighted condition. Now that’s a shame.

  3. Posted by morgan

    What a shame indeed. Talk about a lost opportunity for both the city and the neighborhood! Am I the only one who has imagined this building being refurbished into a use that would help the surrounding neighborhood? Why could this not have been a cultural or performance space? How about a use similar to the Rockridge Market Hall with individually owned local food and retail spaces (no chains)? I think it is interesting to note that the only things our “great” city could come up with for this space were condominiums or porn. Even a giant sports/gym complex which was built inside the Chicago Armory (By the city!) would have been a better solution.

  4. Posted by Mission Resident

    Another great example of how the city wants to maintain the Mission as a ghetto! Who would want housing, which makes the streets safe and increases supply, reducing price? Of course not!

  5. Posted by Anonymous

    Was gas really $1.79 in the Summer of 2005?
    And yes the city could give a rat’s ass about the mission. Shame.

  6. Posted by dissent

    Oh, bullfeathers. It’s not the city that doesn’t want development in the Mission, it’s the supes and the tenants. If a slum is home, gentrification is a lose-lose proposition.
    The problem is that our housing is so expensive that many tenants would have to leave the city if their house/building was sold. The political pressure this creates pushes the supes into irrational policies.

  7. Posted by LoveMyCity

    Perhaps spending a few precious seconds looking into the history of this building and the constraints placed by the community on what can be done with it would be illuminating to someone whose automatic response to this sort of news is, “why couldn’t this building be magically turned into a water park and chocolate factory with BMR housing on the roof?”

  8. Posted by amused

    Where did the “they’re not going to improve the building” comment come from? From what I heard, they’re going to be under constuction for well more than a year.

  9. Posted by Anonymous

    I’m with “LoveMyCity” and “amused”…who said they can walk right in there without doing any work on the building? The deal with this building is (1) it’s unreinforced masonry (brick) with massive walls that make a retrofit extremely expensive and difficult; and (2) it’s a historic landmark. The property would’ve been torn down long ago if not for the landmark status due to the difficulty and expense of the seismic retrofit, the very unusual interior layout, and the fact that you are going to have a difficult time changing any of the exterior walls. With the landmark status, you can’t just pop a bunch of windows into the facade to let light in. So any re-use of the property is really hamstrung by the limited renovation you could do on the facade and the high cost of a seismic retrofit before you even start to do any interior work – not to mention the less than ideal location. It just didn’t pencil out for most re-uses and the relatively affordable current price of $73 per square foot for a 200,000 SF building reflects those massive costs which must be undertaken. Anyone going in there after the building being vacant for 30 years is major improvement to the property and neighborhood. The current kink.com offices are near several major buildings and there are not a bunch of depraved sex addicts around the property – in fact they handle the whole thing in a very professional businesslike manner as most of the contractors working on the sets and the IT people for the web sites are not S&M porn actors/actresses. Just don’t watch their videos if that isn’t your thing.

  10. Posted by Christopher

    This is awesome: it will punish the NIMBYs, piss off the speculators, attract a good looking crowd to my neighborhood, and fit perfectly with the long history of sexual libertinism characteristic of the Barbary Coast. Welcome Kink.com!

  11. Posted by zzzzzzz

    From yesterday’s Chronicle:
    “Filming in the new building could begin immediately but is tentatively planned to begin in the next few weeks, Kink.com spokeswoman Cat Rich said.”
    That, to me, implies that they plan to move right in and use the building as-is. It kind of makes sense to keep it seedy and run-down considering the proposed use: a backdrop for porn and fetish films. I’d be delighted if I’m wrong about this and they plan to actually clean up and renovate the building, but I haven’t seen anything to that effect in several news reports on the subject.

  12. Posted by Tom Geller

    Good for them!
    This is a great, low-impact use. I could think of a other uses, sure… but the city had 20 YEARS to do something with it. I’m glad it’s going to get use again.
    For the complainers: *You* could have had it at $14.5MM. Put up or shut up.

  13. Posted by tipster

    Tom, I think it’s pretty clear that we’d rather have the porn than the building.
    And didn’t you mean put *out* or shut up?
    And amused, I think your statement that you thought they would be “under construction” for more than a year is perhaps a misinterpretation. You’re probably thinking about the famous porn star “Joe Construction”. Something will be under Construction, but it isn’t going to be the building.
    Bah dum bum!

  14. Posted by Anonymous

    I’d be surprised if they could occupy the property on a long term basis without doing a major renovation of the space including a seismic upgrade. Sure they might film some stuff while the property is being renovated, but do you think they can just go move their offices in there and plug in all their computer servers after the building has been dormant for 30 years? From the SFArmory.com website “Acworth (kink.com CEO) plans to revive this historic building…while restoring and renovating the Armory to its original splendor, style and beauty.”

  15. Posted by anon 2

    this is a garbage use, and its NOT welcome in MY neighborhood. not by anyone i know either. if this was proposed in richmond, sunset, pac heights etc. it would be DOA.

  16. Posted by Anonymous

    The Richmond, Sunset, and Pac Heights do not have similar industrial/commercial zoned land – commercial sections of these neighborhoods are mostly zoned for mixed use retail-residential uses. So you’re right, this type of commercial use would not fly in those residential areas. However, residential gentrification of the northeast Mission back in the dot-com days resulted in this area being re-zoned to not allow residential uses to preserve the commercial base of the city, so surprise, you now get an industrial/commercial use. Really, would you rather have had the dot com telecom hotel proposal go through?…or what about the dot-com office proposal that everyone in the neighborhood shot down?…or what about the most recent residential proposal that also met resistance? Or wait – would it be better for it to be vacant for another 30 years so crime and homelessness can go completely unchecked here? Please. Sorry that they’re going to be doing things behind those two foot thick brick walls that you don’t agree with, but anything is a hell of a lot better than the vacant eyesore this has been for the last 30 years.

  17. Posted by Anonymous

    Anonymous at January 10, 2007 10:59 PM…
    You could not have said it better. Everything will get resistance in SF unless their creating a new homeless park.

  18. Posted by Anonymous

    I found this is an article from 2000. It has to do with a previous attempt to develop this property.
    “Earlier this month, big plans for the 190,300-square-foot monolith were scrapped once again when anti-gentrification protesters intimidated the new owners by turning a recent Planning Commission meeting into a near riot…”
    “So Eikon withdrew its grand plan (among the ideas bandied about was a garden on the roof and a roller-skating track around the enormous drill court), and offered a more modest proposal instead: Turn the Armory into a telecommunications switching center with as few as 50 human employees and tons of electronic equipment.
    In the wake of this quick switch, the activists claimed victory.”
    It is a great article.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2000/10/03/lloyd.DTL
    People in SF are not happy with anything.

  19. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    Such a pyrrhic victory for the activists. The depiction of women in Kink.com’s films will be a feminist’s nightmare! From Ken Garcia’s column in today’s Examiner:
    “…It should be some revival. The company’s Web site said Acworth left academia to devote his life to “subjecting beautiful, willing women to strict bondage.’’ But for the politically correct masses in San Francisco, please note that Kink.com’s models “are never told to act or artificially struggle…’’

  20. Posted by D_INC

    Awesome perfect can’t think of a better use. I love this city! Betcha all the people who blocked condos going in there are pissed now. The city was able to bypass any neighborhood input for this sale because the business going in meets all the zoning requirements. At least that’s what Channel 5 said last night.
    Personally I would have like condos but bring on the Kink!!!

  21. Posted by Phil

    Wow, talk about having “good” intentions come back and bite you in the backside! I remember that huge fight back in 2000, which had much more to do with class warfare than it did any consideration of what would be good for the neighborhood. I also walk by this building frequently, as I live only a few blocks away. I’ve thought on many occasions about how great it would be to turn it into something nice, like condos, or shops, or anything except a huge hulk that’s a little scary to walk by at night, with occasional use by skaters. And now all those people who opposed beneficial developmeent because it didn’t suit their political ideology are going to see it become something far less desirable. Way to go guys! Thanks for working so hard to improve and preserve the neighborhood!

  22. Posted by dissent

    I think this shows how the San Francisco ‘progressive’ left hates families with children. Killing housing, killing offices, so that an adult porn business can move in.

    This is awesome: it will punish the NIMBYs, piss off the speculators, attract a good looking crowd to my neighborhood, and fit perfectly with the long history of sexual libertinism characteristic of the Barbary Coast. Welcome Kink.com!

    Yeah, right. No wonder the middle class and families with children get out of this burg. It’s the dysfunctional terminally rebellious (yawn!) Chris Daly groupies of San Francisco. Thanks, [Obscenity removed by Editor].

  23. Posted by Phil

    Mmmm, sorry, but it was lower and middle-class families that helped lead the charge against the orginal developments back in 2000. They were afraid of gentrification coming to the Mission and driving them out – in this case, it had nothing to do with families with kids being driven out, but rather newly minted middle and upper-middle class .com workers (many single or without kids) who were seen as the threat. It wasn’t at all about “lefties” who hate families with kids, but pure out class warfare (with just a smidgen of ethnic tension to really spice things up). In fact, I would say that the people who are really being driven out of SF are single earners, since it almost requires two incomes (or a very high white-collar income) to afford anything decent.

  24. Posted by Anonymous

    Building un-becoming? Incredible building, pivotal, exciting neighborhood. Another example of unrealized urban potential. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! (and I dare anyone to walk that area & disgusting street after dark). SF you are so hip so cool to take a treasure as the armory and kink it out. Keep the area crappy. So cool. SF come as you are. And stay the same. Festering & decrepit preferred. Hey, who’s the PR agency SF uses to keep it a top-rated Conde Nast city? hah! Anyone counting the # of SF devotees who have left for the ‘burbs and other states b/c we don’t have housing? Everyday exodus of talented devoted people who want to make SF home. The loss is ours. But, that’s ok bc we’re really cool. Take a walk on trashed 14th street. And if you do, wear your holier than thou badges on your sleeves.

  25. Posted by morgan

    Thanks anon at 3:53pm for calling out those who think this is a “great low impact use” for a neighborhood that “gets what it deserves”. What other city would allow a National Landmark to be a Porn Factory? If our economy is so great and living here is so desirable, how could this have happened? Nimby’s and neighborhood groups alone are not the problem. Someone told this city that it was beautiful, interesting and cultural, so the city decided it could take a nap and not try any more. The more you travel to other places, the more you realize it is not only The Mission District that is real trouble, but the entire city.

  26. Posted by Anonymous

    They haven’t moved in yet. Anyone want to put money on the likelihood of any building permits being issued, ever? Conditional use BS at Planning, Fire and Building both get to take their whacks at it, and that’s well before some ambulance chaser brings his client by in a wheelchair. Public Access should give this monster it’s own regular timeslot to replay all the hearings. Kink.com might be full of money (gas up that ambulance!)and from all reports is actually a good tenant, but that does not make them qualified to succeed where other experienced developers have failed at one of the most doomed locations in San Francsico. Only an earthquake can develop that corner.

  27. Posted by D_INC

    $10 says user dissent is Matt Lanning.
    [Editor’s Note: We doubt it. But if so, we welcome his opinion and participation.]

  28. Posted by dissent

    dissent reporting for duty here… you owe me a ten spot, because I don’t know who matt lanning is.
    I moved to sf in 1980, right into a p*ss in the sink transient hotel in North Beach. I worked my way up by going to SFState in computer science and becoming a software engineer. Now I have a kid, a partner, a single family and my politics have changed. I’m a Dem but I put families and children ahead of porn businesses, especially in this town, which has a lot of the latter and is losing the former.

  29. Posted by zzzzzzz

    The supreme irony is that the activists have not succeeded in stopping the rise in housing costs in the Mission. Every rent survey I’ve seen shows that rents in the Mission now equal or exceed those in middle-class neighborhoods like the Sunset or the Richmond. So even though the activists have succeeded brilliantly at stopping the rational reuse of blighted sites like the Armory, they’ve done nothing whatsoever to stop the inexorable march of gentrification. Great going, guys!

  30. Posted by D_INC

    Ok I’ll get you that $10 next time around.
    And I hope your not bad mouthing the St. Paul.

  31. Posted by dis

    No, not the St Paul!
    The Tower Hotel. Before it went Chinese, it was a SRO run by a tuff puff biker (on Grant Ave).

  32. Posted by P. Moreno

    I was born and raised in San Francisco. Before WW2 my father was in the National Guard, 250th Coast Artillery. As a child I was allowed to roam the halls the Armory. On the drill floor there were the big cannons (155 mm, GPF). They were left over from WW1. I also remember a motorcycle with a side car. I used to climb on the cannon until someone made me get off. It caused me to choose the military for my career.
    I don’t live there anymore. It used to be a town of mostly working class families. Even if I could afford it, I probably wouldn’t want to live there anyhow.

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