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This week, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is set to review and vote on Chipotle’s request to renovate and occupy the vacant one-story building at 2100 Market Street which was last occupied by the restaurant “Home” two years ago.
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The project would not increase the exterior dimensions of the existing building but would involve interior improvements and alterations to the building’s facade.
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The project would create a 600 square‐foot outdoor patio to the west of the building where there is currently a partially enclosed storage area, screened from Market Street behind an eight foot high wall which Chipotle would adorn with a mural.
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Supporting Chipotle’s project: The Merchants of Upper Market & Castro; the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District; 34 letters/emails from local merchants; 48 letters/emails from the public; a petition of support with 1,661 signatures; and an online petition with 433 signatures
Opposing Chipotle’s project: the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association; 10 letters/emails local merchants; 3 letters/emails from the public; a petition in opposition with 255 signatures; and an online petition with 773 signatures.
And the recommendation from San Francisco’s Planning Department to the Commission: disapprove Chipotle’s request to renovate and occupy the former Home on Market Street as proposed.
The stated basis for the Planning Department’s recommendation:

There are currently 10 Formula Retail Uses that occupy commercial frontage within 300 feet of the project site that include Sterling Bank & Trust, Ace Hardware, Walgreens, Crossroads Trading, Good Feet, Safeway, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, GNC, and Mike’s Camera that occupy approximately 733.5 linear feet of commercial frontage within 300 feet of the project site, resulting in a formula retail concentration of approximately 27%. The proposed Chipotle would further increase the concentration formula retail to approximately 36% within 300 feet of the project site.

The Upper Market NCT is already well served by several nearby independently owned restaurants, Casa Mexicana at 180 Church, Taqueria El Castillito at 136 Church, and Chilango at 235 Church that already offer products that similar or identical to those offered by Chipotle.

The Project would be detrimental to the neighborhood by occupying a prominent corner lot with a formula retail use that uses standardized color schemes, decor and signage that will detract from the distinctive character of the Upper Market Neighborhood which includes primarily local, independent retail businesses.

Last month, San Francisco’s Planning Commission shot down Starbucks’ proposal to renovate and occupy the retail space at 2201 Market Street (in part based on the Planning Department’s concerns with respect to the concentration of formula retail in the area) but approved the application for CVS to renovate and occupy a long vacant retail space at 2280 Market Street, roughly 400 feet away from the proposed Starbucks.
Unmentioned by Planning, the potential for building up to 65-feet high on the 2100 Market site.
Starbucks’ Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning [SocketSite]
The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]
Planning For A CVS: The Designs For 2280 Market Street [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by lyqwyd

    Good, that building should be demolished and built up at least 5 stories. Putting in a Chipotle will keep it underbuilt for decades.

  2. Posted by david m

    exactly. demolish and rebuilt, let’s not allow the chase mistake to happen again.

  3. Posted by BTinSF

    I agree with lyqwyd. In general, I favor letting “formula retail” occupy long-vacant store fronts rather than let them stay vacant, but this property should be upscaled with a multi-story housing structure. What’s there now belongs in the suburbs, not in a city where housing is in short supply and there is a shortage of buildable land.

  4. Posted by lol

    Yes, it’s a very desirable and underused corner. Safeway’s, Whole Foods, Muni, etc… this corner has everything needed to make it a successful development. It should be built up. In light of all the developments cropping out at almost every corner between Octavia and Castro Street, as well as the relative ease with which they were approved, why isn’t the landlord stepping up? It’s not like anyone will want to protect the current fugly strip mall building.

  5. Posted by Snark17

    Surprised that generic suburban formula burrito for white people has made it this far in the process. This should be a 5 story condo site.

  6. Posted by Rob

    +1

  7. Posted by JWS

    Build a six story apartment complex and slap the Chipotle on the ground floor. Done and done.

  8. Posted by Kenz

    This is why I read SocketSite. I would be amazed if any of those above-mentioned opposed were thinking “outside the envelope” for a taller building. The opposition, as far as I’ve seen, was entirely of the “our poor local burrito shacks need to be protected from competition” sort, which is so sad if you think about it.

  9. Posted by Zig

    I personally don’t see why “formula retail” can’t exist if it conforms to current planning which should encourage a more suitable building. In other words Chipoltle is welcome (IMO) but that building form is not any longer

  10. Posted by Zig

    “Surprised that generic suburban formula burrito for white people has made it this far in the process”
    generally all San Francisco burritos are for white people or at least white people and the few Mexican Americans around in SF. The Chipoltle guy was brilliant bringing the San Francisco burrito to the whole country. It was pure brilliance and one of those things that makes me wonder “why the F didn’t I think of that!” I grew up eating these burritos!

  11. Posted by bgelldawg

    Who owns this property?

  12. Posted by cbf

    “the few Mexican Americans around in SF” -Zig
    What? There are nearly 60,000 people of Mexican ancestry in SF, and there’s than a million more throughout the rest of the Bay Area.
    And I agree that some new housing/retail should go here, chipotle or not.

  13. Posted by Mark

    I guess I don’t understand with all the ugly 5 and 6 story builing going up in the uppper Market area, the planniing commision is turning it’s nose up at this design. One of the most beautiful sections of the city is buried under with boxy looking condos and “affordable housing” with no charm and this is another one.

  14. Posted by Mike

    “suburban formula burrito for white people”
    jerk

  15. Posted by I don't brake for hipsters

    Is there a proposal on the table for a higher development? If not, then I hope the PC doesn’t reject this proposal just because of what might potentially be a better use in the future. This has been a vacant eyesore for 2 years, and if the only available alternative to a Chipotle is that it stays that way, then I’ll have the soft tacos with chicken and extra guac, please.

  16. Posted by Mark

    I couldn’t care less if formula retail moves in or not (let’s face it, who else can afford the rent?), but come on…build up on this corner site. The Chase conversion was a wasted opportunity (more fitting for the proposed SOMA West plan). The property is zoned for higher. Make it happen.
    Also, it appears the Planning Comm’s recommendations are based solely on which way the wind blows. CVS is okay, but Chipotle is not. Mike’s Camera has one location in SF, but is lumped with Safeway and Walgreens.

  17. Posted by Zig

    “What? There are nearly 60,000 people of Mexican ancestry in SF”
    Could just be a false perception but most Mexican Americans from the Mission (like my Mom and relatives) think the population is declining. Maybe it is just the multi-generational Mexican Americans that are declining? I certainly notice more Yucantan Mexicans now.

  18. Posted by Mark

    re: “I guess I don’t understand with all the ugly 5 and 6 story builing going up in the uppper Market area, the planniing commision is turning it’s nose up at this design. One of the most beautiful sections of the city is buried under with boxy looking condos…”
    What is your solution? Leave our biggest transit corridor looking like a suburban stripmall with 1 and 2 story buildings and surface parking like Geary? Please, I’d like to know your proposed plan.

  19. Posted by wc1

    Obvs developing this site is the way to go, but doesn’t that assume the current wants to sell and that someone wants to buy?

  20. Posted by james

    I love Chipotle.
    An empty building generates no revenue or jobs for anyone.
    This isn’t “forever” for heaven’s sake.

  21. Posted by lyqwyd

    @wc1
    Yes, that’s correct.
    There’s no guarantee that there will be development by denying it, but it certainly guarantees no development by granting it.
    If the price is right a developer will buy, the only question is will the owner sell at a reasonable price. The current owner could also develop the lot themselves if they so desired.
    Not a great situation for the owner… but them’s the breaks.

  22. Posted by anon

    “already offer products that similar [sic] or identical”
    Chilango is very good, but it is not a burrito joint but a decent central mexican sit-down restaurant (used to be a burrito joint, and a good one). Casa Mexicana and Taqueria El Castillito are horrifically sh**ty and Chipotle is 10X better. Yes, the former are dirt-cheap slop-houses and I guess if that’s what you want – go for it. But they could use the competition to up the quality above slop level, and the job of planning is not to protect incumbent sh**ty places.
    Planning cannot force the owners to tear down their building and construct condos, and that corner has had one failed miserable restaurant after another. I’d rather something other than Chipotle go in there, but that’s a decent use for the space. If this is shot down, believe me, that eye-sore will simply remain a vacant eye-sore for several more years. The two crummy burrito joints nearby will rejoice, of course, but the rest of the neighborhood will suffer.

  23. Posted by lyqwyd

    @james
    Chipotle can go in after the development as far as I’m concerned, but it would be stupid to allow them to lock up that location underdeveloped for decades now, which is how long the lease would last.

  24. Posted by Futurist

    Chipotle should be allowed to lease, renovate and use the space. Much better than seeing it vacant.
    Public policy, ie: planning cannot force the existing property owner into developing and building the site higher. When the time is right, financially, that site will be developed.
    It’s stupid when the public tries to tell others how to use their private property.

  25. Posted by wc1

    Apparently there was only one other seriously interested party, another “restaurant group”, who in the end for whatever reason didn’t go forward.
    It’s not like the owner is jacking up the rent, he supposedly is only trying to get the same amount as he got from Home.

  26. Posted by BTinSF

    “Is there a proposal on the table for a higher development? If not, then I hope the PC doesn’t reject this proposal just because of what might potentially be a better use in the future.”
    ^^ I think you are missing the point. Once a Chipotle moves in, they will almost certainly have a long-term lease. They probably wouldn’t want the space if told it might be redeveloped in a year or 3. That means their presence pretty much means no redevelopment for a very long time which is what most posters here seem to object to (me included).
    I recall the space on Van Ness where the Cooper dealership now is. It stayed vacant for 30 years. I’m not sure what the economics of that were for the owner although that building was “landmarked” and couldn’t be torn down.
    If the present owner of the property in question here doesn’t want to develop it, I’d rather force it to stay empty and incentivize the owner to sell to someone who does want to develop it. The city needs the housing and the neighborhood form needs something taller at that location.

  27. Posted by rabbits

    I’m generally more free-market oriented, and it was ridiculous that Starbucks was denied, but you only have to look at the Mcdonalds at Haight and Stanyan for a cautionary example. Moving in formula retail guarantees under-utilization here for decades, and if I were on the commission I may not state it out loud, but that would be my reason for denial. Of course their explanations are likely to be much more colorful and inscrutable.

  28. Posted by lyqwyd

    “If the present owner of the property in question here doesn’t want to develop it, I’d rather force it to stay empty and incentivize the owner to sell to someone who does want to develop it.”
    Same here.

  29. Posted by mkp

    insanity.

  30. Posted by soccermom

    I think if the owner of the property wants to rent his building to a restaurant, she should be able to.
    I think that if the planning department wants more tall housing, they should upzone more of the city.
    Why should some owner be penalized for what someone else wants to do with his property?
    Lyqwyd and BTinSF: I think you should have to move out of your houses/apartments/condos, leave them vacant until you tear them down and build what I want to have built. Sound fair?

  31. Posted by Zig

    “Casa Mexicana and Taqueria El Castillito are horrifically sh**ty and Chipotle is 10X better”
    Taqueria El Castillito has decent tacos bro. Their Al pastor is made on a spit.

  32. Posted by Roy McKenzie

    lyqwyd: “Casa Mexicana and Taqueria El Castillito are horrifically sh**ty and Chipotle is 10X better.”
    FALSE
    El Castillito has consistently great reviews on yelp:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-castillito-san-francisco-2
    Casa Mexicana is not far behind.
    While Chipotle’s around the SF area consistently recieve 2-3 star ratings:
    http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=chipotle&find_loc=Castro%2C+San+Francisco%2C+CA&ns=1
    Feel free to use your real name when you’re commenting in the future…

  33. Posted by lyqwyd

    @soccermom
    you are welcome to your opinion as much as I am to mine, and it’s likely all our opinions will have equal impact on the real world :)
    But seriously, I get your point, and don’t disagree with it. Doesn’t change my take, especially given that the decision is based on the existing legal framework. There are certainly flaws in the system, but I consider this to be a case of a bad process leading to a good outcome.
    And of course lets remember that, if not for prop 13, the owner would not likely have the luxury of leaving the space vacant for years.
    The location is prime for development, and it will be sad if it doesn’t happen.
    (By the way, I plan on developing my house to it’s full potential, although I won’t be leaving it vacant while waiting for permit approval)

  34. Posted by lyqwyd

    @Roy
    I didn’t say anything about the quality of any restaurants, that was somebody else.
    “Feel free to use your real name when you’re commenting in the future…”
    No thanks, but feel free to pay attention to who wrote what…

  35. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Well I knew this was just going to happen at some point. I fully support restrictions on formula retail/chain stores/restaurants,etc.
    Keep this up, and the next stop will be someone proposing an Olive Garden in North Beach. A Panda Express or a P.F. Chang’s in Chinatown.

  36. Posted by redseca2

    When I moved to SF in 1979 the drill was to go get breakfast here at the Church Street Station (pre-Home restaurant at this location) while you looked at the apartment listings in the morning Chronicle (paper based object, pre-Craiglist, even pre-Macintosh), then you went to one of the dozen or so pay phones (yes, that long ago) conveniently located in the vestible next to the bar (when 24-hour greasy spoons had bars) which you went to after you found out that every listed apartment was already taken).

  37. Posted by sfmichael

    I like how the people in the rendering are all about 50% taller than those in the actual photo. The fact that this makes the rendered building look smaller is, I’m sure, just a coincidence.

  38. Posted by curmudgeon

    Zig – re: Mexicans in San Francisco… between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population fell in every census district in the Mission (and has clearly fallen more since). However, it grew 11 percent overall Citywide, and particularly in the the city, particularly places like the Outer Mission. So your perpective is both true and false.
    I think it’s pretty clear that immigration from Mexico has been very much diminished in the past decade or so. That’s a nationwide phenomenon that we’ve seen locally as well. It’s tied to improved conditions/lowered birthrates in Mexico, as well as our recession and massively increased border controls. And with gentrification in the Mission, it’s role as an immigrant gateway is much diminished anyway. I’m guessing that part of the reason Hispanic population is increasing in San Francisco is simply that we’re so much lower than California as a whole to start with, and that as second, third, and more generation folks move around the state, naturally our Hispanic population is increasing towards the norm. But it’s perhaps more likely to be a tech employee just out of Cal than a dishwasher just out of Michoacán who is the typical Hispanic migrant these days.

  39. Posted by Rob

    60,000 Mexicans in SF? A Spanish last name does not make you Mexican. Nor does every Mexican have a Spanish last name. CCSF has been using 60,000 for decades to show large numbers but, its all wrong. Have people walked in the Mission lately? In addition, real Mexicans don’t eat Tex-Mex food but, yuppy puppies love burritos.
    I’m surprised any company would put money into that corner. It will always be tough until the homeless situation is solved. Chipotle should be allowed to take the space and then when they close it (in 10 yrs) there will be a buildable lot for the next condo building if needed. Or maybe the city should buy the lot and build a plaza for people to enjoy.

  40. Posted by R

    According to this (based on 2010 Census), there are about 55,000 people from Mexico living in SF.. And another 30,000 from Central America.

  41. Posted by Zig

    curmudgeon
    I agree with everything you said except the following which I find very pollyannish:
    “our Hispanic population is increasing towards the norm. But it’s perhaps more likely to be a tech employee just out of Cal than a dishwasher just out of Michoacán who is the typical Hispanic migrant these days”
    I almost never meet Hispanic people who move to SF for professional jobs. I work with almost none. Socialize with none.
    I also think family formation of Hispanic locals has to be almost nil in SF now as it is with most blue collar people. Rent control and high housing prices make it pretty difficult. Most people I know move to places like Solano Country and the East Bay.
    Lastly I see a lot of Mexicans now in the TL and Excelsior and many of coming from very deep in Mexico. I wonder when there will no longer be Mexicans in Bernal Heights and the Mission?

  42. Posted by sfjohn

    The simple FACT is that the majority of people living in the Castro did not want it. period.

  43. Posted by anon

    Hmm, sfjohn, on what are you basing this purported “FACT”?
    Only data of which I’m aware are the following:
    Supporting Chipotle’s project: The Merchants of Upper Market & Castro; the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District; 34 letters/emails from local merchants; 48 letters/emails from the public; a petition of support with 1,661 signatures; and an online petition with 433 signatures
    Opposing Chipotle’s project: the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association; 10 letters/emails local merchants; 3 letters/emails from the public; a petition in opposition with 255 signatures; and an online petition with 773 signatures.
    Far from conclusive, obviously, but the facts of which I’m aware seem to indicate support leaning for Chipotle.
    But one can always just make up a “FACT” I suppose. period.

  44. Posted by R

    I missed the part where the majority of Castro residents voted against Chipotle.. Where was that reference?

  45. Posted by curmudgeon

    ^ Zig, I think we’re both partly right. From my vantage in the gay community, when I moved here 25 years ago most of the gay folks I met were white. Now, when I meet folks a generation younger than me (both gay or straight for that matter), they are a broad mix, with a lot of Hispanics. The Hispanics are a mix of immigrants and folks who’ve moved from other parts of the state or bay area. Meeting anyone, of any race, who actually grew up in San Francisco remains unusual in my life experience here. But this is all anecdotal…just my way of positing an explanation of the Census figures.

  46. Posted by otto park

    Aside from formula retail debate, Market Octavia Plan, in which this site is located, was written to disallow the parking lot included in this proposal. Curb cut on Market, adjacent to Church St station stairs and elevator, adjacent to bike lanes, should be eliminated if Plan language is actually implemented. Whole concept of Planning is to encourage land owners to develop appropriate uses on their properties. This clearly is not it.

  47. Posted by R

    @Otto: what are you recommending? The City take the parking lot by eminent domain?

  48. Posted by J

    Honest question to anyone who knows a lot about the SF Planning Commission: is it known to be corrupt? I have heard things in the past, but most of it was based on things in the 60s and 70s. Anyone know if it is on the up-and-up now? Some of their rulings are insane, inexplicable and raise eyebrows (see: 1601 Larkin Street, where they outright rejected tearing down and developing an abandoned, burnt-out church that is used as a bathroom and crack house by homeless).
    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2012/01/an_attempt_to_appease_a_conservative_planning_commissio.html

  49. Posted by Futurist

    It may or may not be corrupt. I don’t know, but how do we feel about a dentist on the Planning Commission who gets to decide our urban design issues?
    That’s pretty corrupt to me.

  50. Posted by Brian

    yeah, that building should be demolished and a taller at least five story apartment building with store/restaurant ground level…in this city do not waste space.

  51. Posted by wrath

    that is the nicest chipotle I’ve ever seen

  52. Posted by Roy McKenzie

    My apologies @lyqwyd that was meant for whichever @anon is the @anon that wrote the disparaging and false comment towards El Castillito. So brave of people to take ownership of what they say, isn’t it?

  53. Posted by NJ

    Another vote for El Castillito. That place is damn good, especially their al pastor. Not that I hate Chipotle, but I’d eat at Castillito over Chipotle any day. That said, I’m sure Castillito and Casa would lose a good amount of business to Chipotle, were it to open. And let’s not forget that Whole Foods will presumably be making burritos across the street before long.
    What baffles me is why Chipotle would want such a large space. It would seriously be the largest Chipotle I’ve ever seen.

  54. Posted by Dan

    The zoning is that formula retail should not exceed 30% within 300 feet of the site. A Chipotle increases the percentage from 27% to 36%. Rejecting formula retail follows zoning.

  55. Posted by anon

    No. There is no absolute clause rejecting or allowing chain retail above/below the 30%. The 30% number has absolutely zero legal enforcement, as ALL chain retail must be reviewed one by one within this area – and as we’ve seen recently, CVS was approved in an area over the 30%, yet others were not approved when the same circumstances were met.
    An absolute disgrace. If the CVS had not been allowed, I might see it as a case where the intent of the law is being followed even if the letter of the law is ambiguous. As it is, there is no such fallback, and the law is simply used as a way to legalize blatant corruption.

  56. Posted by Dan

    I believe the percentage was below 30% within 300 feet of CVS, which is 2 blocks west.

  57. Posted by jeff

    In the end I think this is all about snobbish class bias. If Chipotle were staffed with carefully bearded tattoo sporting hipsters serving 28 dollar burritos people would be lined up down the block!

  58. Posted by Dan

    People are trying to block a Jack Spade store from 16th Street, claiming it is formula retail (in fact the number of Jack Spade branded stores is under the limit, though the parent company is a large retailer). So it is not just snobbish class bias.

  59. Posted by jeff

    Then I am curious, does the retail store have to be home grown? So Peet’s Coffee or Pasta Pomodoro is o.k. because it started here, but Jack Spade is not because it started in NYC? So Andale Tacqueria could probably be ok because it started in the Marina like Pasta Pomodoro, but what if it was bought by PepsiCo? Would it then no longer be acceptable?
    I would LOVE to have an Intelligentsia Coffee but there may be close to 14 stores nationwide (NY, CHI, L.A.), and it started in Chicago instead of Berkeley so I guess it won’t make the cut?
    Is this what it is like to live in Cuba under the boycott imposed by USA?

  60. Posted by Dan

    Intelligentsia is opening in Potrero Hill.
    And no, only having 9 Chipotles to choose from in SF is not like living in Cuba under the US boycott.

  61. Posted by anonanon

    “And no, only having 9 Chipotles to choose from in SF is not like living in Cuba under the US boycott.”
    Chipotle is hardly a destination restaurant and the ones in SF are heavily clustered around a small area in the Financial District. People are not likely to travel 10 or 20 blocks to one just to have lunch, so any decision by the Central Committee that you cannot have one in your neighborhood will deprive the locals the right to vote with their wallets whether one is desirable. While it may have little to do with the US boycott of Cuba, it’s clearly an example of how the local government wants to prevent people to decide for themselves how to spend their hard-earned dollars when it comes to eating lunch.

  62. Posted by Dan

    From Church and Market, one can eat lunch one of the other 9 Chipotles in minutes, by car, by MUNI Metro, or by bike. Or get a burrito someplace within walking distance. Customers aren’t suffering much from one fewer taqueria.
    Our elected representatives believe that their constituents don’t want neighborhood eateries supplanted with fast food chains. If you don’t like it, work to elect candidates who support the proliferation of fast food chains into every neighborhood in SF.

  63. Posted by anonanon

    “From Church and Market, one can eat lunch one of the other 9 Chipotles in minutes, by car, by MUNI Metro, or by bike.”
    Please explain how you will get to the nearest Chipotle from Church & Market in minutes regardless the mode of transportation!
    And please add a comment on your thoughts that it’s likely that people will make that kind of a trip for lunch on a regular basis!
    “Our elected representatives believe that their constituents don’t want neighborhood eateries supplanted with fast food chains.”
    You mean that instead of letting people decide for themselves where to eat, the elected representatives are busy figuring it out? Do they really have the time for that, though, given that they are busily figuring out how to fix Muni and whether people should be allowed to receive toys at McDonalds?

  64. Posted by R

    “Please explain how you will get to the nearest Chipotle from Church & Market in minutes regardless the mode of transportation!”
    Seriously? You can’t figure out how to get from Market and Church to Market and 5th in minutes? It’s a mile and a half on a major transit line. Heck, you could walk there in less than a half hour.

  65. Posted by Incredible

    @R, I believe the single ride MUNI ($2 ?) fares both ways would cost slightly less than a burrito, but I guess that is o.k. if it furthers the goal of keeping the building empty and chain free?
    Why are many posters on Socketsite so excited to praise any crappy condo tower that is proposed, as long as it is very tall and has little parking, but then go crazy against any retail such as this? Maybe if they put in the rendering a bike parking area in front with some hipsters standing around people would like it better? Or change the name to some new title and raise the prices to $20 a burrito?

  66. Posted by anonanon

    @R
    I interpret the term “in minutes” as a small number of them, like maybe less than five. If you think you realistically can get there end-to-end in nearly that timeframe, you are out of your mind. Now, if “in minutes” means 15-30, I have no problem with that.

  67. Posted by heynonnynonny

    Leaving aside the exact number of minutes, I’m still trying to understand the basic scenario here. You’re in Upper Market and you have a craving that ONLY CHIPOTLE CAN SATISFY. El Castillito won’t do it – YOU NEED A CHAIN BURRITO, AND YOU NEED IT NOW.
    Are you describing a Chipotle ad, or do you actually know someone like this?

  68. Posted by 94114

    I live very close to this place. I’ve never been in a Chipotle before but I do walk by this place quite frequently and it’s a horrible eyesore. Here there was a chance that something would go in there and now it will probably be vacant and become more of a mess day by day. Everyone has their dream scenario of a local restaurant or 6 stories of condos over retail. These are all great scenarios but they’re not reality, at least in this case. There was a chance that something would be put here. The pictures looked nice to me. If you don’t like Chipotle, don’t eat there. The reality is it just seems to me that this city with all it’s brain power and creativity just doesn’t seem to work and it’s all very depressing to me. Everyone is waiting for some perfect ideal and in the meantime, this corner and so many others in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods look like shit.

  69. Posted by heynonnynonny

    The folks “waiting for some perfect ideal” are the owners: they have other options but all they are offering to planning is an artificial choice between formula retail and boarded up windows. Rewarding blackmail is usually a mistake in the long run.
    I wouldn’t worry about it getting too much worse – they want the place ugly enough to bother people, but not ugly enough to trigger blight enforcement.

  70. Posted by anon

    ^These other options are? Can you note some places that have offered interest and the discount at which they were offering?

  71. Posted by anonanon

    @heynonnynonny
    Why not let people decide the demand for a Chipotle at this location by voting with their wallets? I have no idea what the demand would be, but clearly, restaurant operators don’t open restaurants if they think they will fail and they’ll lose their investment. Likewise, landlords tend to try to stay clear of hopeless restaurant concepts. Not only does a restaurant failure mean that they lose the tenant, other operators will become suspicious about the quality of the location making it harder to rent it out again. In other words, some people with money at stake must have felt there would be enough popular demand for a Chipotle at this location to make it a viable operation.

  72. Posted by heynonnynonny

    @anon: I don’t need to know what other offers the landlord has received: this is a desirable location at some nonzero price. I also don’t need to know the details of the latest perpetual motion machine design to tell you it won’t work. You are the one making extraordinary claims, the burden of proof is on you.
    @anonanon, did you miss the part about the 30% formula retail restriction? Whether Chipotle or McDonalds could make a profit here is irrelevant.

  73. Posted by anonanon

    @heynonnynonny
    Why on earth would you think that whether an operation could make a profit is irrelevant? In most cases, the ability to generate profits would be a sign that people perceive some form of value in the operation, why else would they patronize it?
    You are essentially saying that the decision about where you could go to lunch should be based on some random government bureaucratic decision about whether 5 or 15 locations constitute a chain and not your own perception of restaurant value. If you are OK with that, fine. There is a place in this word for sheep.

  74. Posted by anon

    this is a desirable location at some nonzero price.
    True. And it’s also a desirable place at some nonzero + 1 price. You’re claiming that the landlord should magically know the price that local places are willing to pay while throwing out or ignoring the prices that chains are willing to pay. Markets don’t work like that.
    If you want the market to work AND don’t want chains, we should, I dunno, BAN chains. None of the BS where we sort of allow, you know, we’ll let you apply and turn down 50% of the applications for random reasons.
    So – ban chains or don’t ban chains, just don’t leave it up to the whims of a group of folks that can be bought at some nonzero price.

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