October 11, 2013
Jack Spade Retreats From Formula Retail Fight In The Mission
With San Francisco's Board of Appeals having voted 4-1 to revisit the determination of whether Jack Spade should be defined as formula retail, a definition which would likely block their ability to move forward, Jack Spade is abandoning plans for a store at 3166 16th Street in the Mission.
"We at JACK SPADE are disappointed with Wednesday’s Board of Appeals ruling. In our minds and in accordance with the district’s code, JACK SPADE is not ‘formula retail’ and we have been completely transparent regarding our relationship to our parent company."
That being said, Jack Spade "respect[s] the Board and the community's passion and will not pursue plans to open in the Mission District."
∙ Jack Spade Pulls Out of the Mission [missionlocal.org]
∙ The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco? [SocketSite]
First Published: October 11, 2013 11:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The front of this building will be covered in graffiti for the foreseeable future. There are two open storefronts on this block right now and both are covered every night with tags. The former Tokyo-Go-Go and the former Adobe books.
I just hope something moves in soon. It would be even nicer if the owner of the auto body shop would ask the police to stop the folks from having a sidewalk party in front of his establishment every Friday-Sunday night.
Posted by: gribble at October 11, 2013 11:49 AM
Time to put this whole formula retail business to the voters.
Posted by: 94114 at October 11, 2013 12:20 PM
How much time will it take until SF stops this self-destructive policy?
Posted by: conifer at October 11, 2013 12:21 PM
Time will tell if it's self-destructive. I suspect it will be fine. The Mission will continue to be a hot neighborhood without Jack Spade. And perhaps there will be a successful tenant who actually keeps profits in the city, which would certainly not be self-destructive.
Posted by: James at October 11, 2013 12:28 PM
Remember the SF legislation against "Formula Retail" was conceived by progressive darlings Matt Gonzales and Tom Ammiano.
Yes, it is time for a City-wide vote on the issue.
Posted by: Jackson at October 11, 2013 12:28 PM
What a joke this ordinance is becoming. The fact that the anti-Spade movement was led by a yuppie selling $2000 designer bicycles is laughable.
What is wrong with a balanced mix of formula and local tenants? This City is headed to heck in a hand-basket....
Posted by: SFZ at October 11, 2013 1:15 PM
And perhaps there will be a successful tenant who actually keeps profits in the city, which would certainly not be self-destructive.
Yes, because there clearly isn't enough money flowing into San Francisco. Best to hog some more. Other places should not be allowed to have successful companies! Only us! Use our Twitter! Buy clothes from our Gap! Bank at our Wells Fargo! Keep your stinky stores to yourself!
Posted by: anon at October 11, 2013 1:33 PM
And people wonder why businesses hate to set up shop in SF.
Since I've over 40 and, therefore, not a hipster, I couldn't care less if the Mission is "hot." The point is that there isn't a consistent policy towards formula retail in SF. Put it to the voters.
Posted by: Mark at October 11, 2013 1:36 PM
This ban is nonsense. All we need to form based codes and the rest will work itself out.
Posted by: Zig at October 11, 2013 1:46 PM
I think in this case it's business owners and landlords, not hipsters, who care about the hotness of the Mission. Anyway, it's true that there isn't a consistent policy toward formula retail. It varies by district and neighborhood. And why not? Should residents of the whole city decide what kind of stores are on a local street they probably never shop on? I live in the Richmond. Should I be consulted on commercial policy for West Portal?
Posted by: James at October 11, 2013 2:06 PM
^I see no compelling case for having a different commercial policy for each neighborhood. You shouldn't be "consulted" on commercial policy for West Portal, but you should be for commercial policy in San Francisco - which should be the same for West Portal and the Richmond.
But...if we want to landmark specific districts to not allow specific types of stores, that should absolutely be something decided by the city as a whole, since it affects the city as a whole through the market(s) that it creates and the taxes that are collected. Are you seriously suggesting that each neighborhood should be allowed complete autonomy? I don't really want schools in my neighborhood (kids are noisy), should that be something that my neighborhood can decide without involving the whole city?
Posted by: anon at October 11, 2013 3:12 PM
@James - agree. There's no easy answer (you can't go 'anything goes' and you can't totally go 'only local'), so without that, I lean toward letting each neighborhood decide on their own.
The process can work (albeit slowly). Noe (24th) had a ban on restaurants and later reversed itself when it realized it didn't work well.
Cow Hollow (Union street) takes a different approach, as does West Portal, etc. Since you can't have a perfect policy, leave it to the neighborhood to decide. If the Mission doesn't want this and it results in years of graffiti, it knows only to blame itself.
Posted by: DanRH at October 11, 2013 3:14 PM
You could put a law to the voters that would legally require everything in SF to be free, and it would pass.
Voters here vote based on extreme ideology, and have no connection to reality.
The worst thing that could happen would be to have a city wide vote on chain stores.
Posted by: Joe at October 11, 2013 3:16 PM
Given demographic changes in SF, I bet the formula retail ban won't last 20 more years. Maybe even 10.
Posted by: Frank C. at October 11, 2013 3:21 PM
I think we can all agree that the best way to preserve the "character" of the Pission is to leave this blighted dump as is. My god, if 16th Street suddenly didn't look and smell like an open sewer in Managua the yuppies would have won.
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at October 11, 2013 3:24 PM
The last time voters passed formula retail policy was Prop G in 2006, requiring Conditional Use for ALL NCDs in the city. That went in the opposite direction of self-determination for neighborhoods by allowing anyone who lives in any neighborhood to oppose any proposed formula retail store for any reason. The current policy has too much breadth and not enough structure or integrity. There is no way of knowing whether a project will be approved until neighbors break out the pitchforks, making it a game of russian roulette for business owners.
Posted by: Joel at October 11, 2013 3:31 PM
SF has one of the lowest retail vacancy rates in the nation, possibly the lowest, rivaled only by Manhattan.
I'm fine with tweaking the regulation, but contrary to popular belief, if the rules are having any effect city wide, it would appear to be possitive. I'm sure it's frustrating in these one off cases for the people involved, but it appears that city wide the effect is positive.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 11, 2013 3:48 PM
San Francisco is its own worst enemy. so stupid
Posted by: Spencer at October 11, 2013 3:57 PM
" There's no easy answer (you can't go 'anything goes' and you can't totally go 'only local'), so without that, I lean toward letting each neighborhood decide on their own."
"I live in the Richmond. Should I be consulted on commercial policy for West Portal?"
I dont understand the above sentiment. I dont live in the mission, but feel i have the same rights to say what happens there as someone who does. I live .5 miles away from it and go there frequently. Why would someone's locale within the city give them more rights to the business policy for a specific neighborhood. Its a TINY city and we all shop throughout many neigborhoods. My taxes dont only go to my neighborhood.
Posted by: Spencer at October 11, 2013 4:06 PM
SF has one of the lowest retail vacancy rates in the nation, possibly the lowest, rivaled only by Manhattan.
@lyqwyd - I'm sure that you know this, but the reason for this is because both SF and Manhattan have massive regional shopping districts that have basically zero occupancy - and lo and behold, no chain restrictions! (Union Square is essentially all chains) These massive shopping areas that serve the whole region overwhelm the tiny amount of square footage in the neighborhoods that are mostly neighborhood-serving. A single department store in Union Square is larger than the whole Inner Sunset shopping district, for example.
SF would be middle of the pack or lower if you just look at the neighborhood retail districts, which is the only place that these regulations come into play.
Posted by: anon at October 11, 2013 4:29 PM
I could give a rat's kootchie about Jack Spade. I would rather there was a Starbucks in that space than that annoying Kenneth Cole clone.
Posted by: $AN FRANCI$CO at October 11, 2013 4:30 PM
Hey Jack Spade, come on over the Chestnut Street! How about where "The Grove" closed after the property owner wanted to raise their rent to over 20K a month to rent the 1,500 square foot space.
In all seriousness, I wonder why anyone would want to try to open a retail business in this city at this point?
Posted by: anon94123 at October 11, 2013 4:31 PM
I don't see how it's untenable to have different regulations by neighborhood. It seems analagous to other forms of neighborhood zoning. You can have different kinds of buildings in SOMA than in the Sunset. You can have different kinds of shops in Union Square than on Valencia. And you have neighborhood input on the planning/permitting process. Seems reasonable to me.
Posted by: James at October 11, 2013 4:36 PM
"both SF and Manhattan have massive regional shopping districts that have basically zero occupancy"
That doesn't overpower the fact that SF is #1. There are many other shopping districts with similar characteristics, some of them in the same top 10 list I provided above.
"SF would be middle of the pack or lower if you just look at the neighborhood retail districts"
Interesting theory, feel free to provide supporting data.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 11, 2013 4:50 PM
It is ironic the gentleman leading the fight against Jack Spade owns the shop selling $2000 bikes AND is a former GAP executive.
I cannot believe the hipsters would rather have a boarded up building instead of this proposed store.
Posted by: Justin at October 11, 2013 4:59 PM
What a small minded, little provincial town we live in.
We are becoming a joke to the world.
Posted by: Futurist at October 11, 2013 5:02 PM
Here's the top 10 retail markets by transaction volume as of 2012:
While San Francisco has the single best vacancy rate in the nation, it's not even in the top ten list as far as transaction volume goes.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 11, 2013 5:04 PM
Blu Dot (tm.) just opened around the corner.
Posted by: Mike at October 11, 2013 5:16 PM
"I dont live in the mission, but feel i have the same rights to say what happens there as someone who does."
It's not an un-compelling argument to suggest that others should also have a say, but I don't think I'd go so far as to suggest that people who actually live in a place aren't the most important parties. It's your shopping area; it's their home.
Posted by: ciparis at October 11, 2013 5:39 PM
lyqwyd: You note (per your link) that San Francisco is "not even in the top ten list as far as transaction volume goes", but the chart doesn't account for city size. Los Angeles has nearly five times the population as SF, so of course their total retail transaction volume is higher. The link you gave notes that SF would be #2 in transaction volume per square foot, which seems like a more relevant metric.
Posted by: Gordon at October 11, 2013 5:53 PM
Boston is on the list and it's smaller than SF, so that doesn't change anything.
In my opinion it's best to fit one's opinion to the data, not the other way around.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 11, 2013 6:36 PM
I don't get how someone who lives one neighborhood over should have EXACTLY as much input. It's a small city we all live in
Posted by: Moto mayhem at October 11, 2013 7:33 PM
lyqywd, they make no mention how they're assembling "markets" on that list. Could be the Boston MSA versus SF city for all that we know. Most on the list are cities, but then Manhattan is tossed in there. A ranking without the methodology is as useless as a wet cat.
Posted by: anon at October 11, 2013 10:12 PM
It's perfectly reasonable to separate Manhattan out from the greater city of NY. Manhattan would be one of the biggest cities in the U.S. if it were on it's own, and it's quite distinct from the rest of NY.
The list is based on a paid study, which is not publicly available. Those who pay for these reports are basing multi-million dollar projects on the results of these types of reports.
The methodology may not be public, but I'm comfortable with the assumption that it's reasonable. Feel free to provide better data that contradicts what I've provided.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 11, 2013 10:45 PM
^Better than what you've provided? You haven't provided any data, but simply a list. Here's another list:
2. San Ramon
As you can see, Fresno has more retail sales than Zebra.
Regardless, if this list is accurate (a gigantic if), it shows that the arbitrary chain restrictions are having tremendous negative impact on the San Francisco retail market, if somehow San Francisco has smaller retail sales than much, much smaller cities (with smaller regional retail within their borders) like Seattle, DC, and Nashville (!!!).
Posted by: anon at October 11, 2013 11:30 PM
If San Francisco is ranked #2 in "transaction volume per square foot", but below #10 in total transactions, the only conclusion you can draw (assuming that those are both measuring the same thing) is that SF has an unusually small number of square feet of retail.
Obviously if SF had as much retail area as Nashville AND had a higher volume per square foot, it would have a higher total volume too, mathematically speaking. So apparently it doesn't.
So I don't see the chain restrictions as having that big an impact, unless you believe that chains would drive volume per square foot--already #2 in the country--even higher. If you really wanted to increase total volume, it would probably be more effective to increase the number of square feet (not that that's likely to happen).
Personally I'm dubious about the numbers. I wouldn't be at all surprised if their report was based on data provided by national companies, i.e. chains, simply because that's a whole lot easier than trying to collect data from a bunch of independent businesses.
Posted by: Alai at October 12, 2013 1:51 AM
James, keeping profits in the City is a BAD thing, keep in mind it will only drive up rents and housing costs!
Keeping business down is good because it makes people poorer and rents go down.
I'd like to see a vote to allow no new stores on 16th. Eventually they would all go bankrupt and squatters could move in to the broken storefronts. Better for everyone really.
Posted by: Marc at October 12, 2013 9:19 AM
Making up your own crazy list is not the same is discrediting what I've provided, it just makes your arguments look even weaker.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 12, 2013 10:38 AM
Cool! A run-down, dilapidated blight is WAY better than formula retail any day! Way to go, SF!
Posted by: Pfffttt at October 12, 2013 10:43 AM
@lyqywd - so you don't have any actual data to provide? Thanks, assumed as much.
Posted by: anon at October 12, 2013 10:46 AM
Does anyone know if the so-called "celebration" protest/demonstration planned to actually take place in front of this location did occur last night? I'm curious who was in this group of Nimbys.
I have read it was mostly other retail stores nearby who were against Jack Spade.
Posted by: Anonandon at October 12, 2013 11:43 AM
Can we stop pretending that formula retail is a "one size fits all" discussion? Hayes Valley and North Beach are THRIVING because of/despite formula retail. Unreal selection of boutiques and restaurants (respectively) that draw people from all over the city. Those areas would be less attractive with chains allowed. Then again, the Haight and Castro are suffering from those same restrictions, with many empty storefronts. The Mission depends on the area. Chestnut is thriving with chains allowed.
In short, I completely support formula retail in locations that are thriving because of their one of a kind boutiques/cafes/restaurants, because these are areas where Starbucks or J. Crew would easily outrpice the local options. In other areas where it is struggling financially, with many stores vacant, it does not seem to make sense.
Posted by: JWS at October 12, 2013 5:11 PM
^I've got no issue with a different regulation for different neighborhoods, but within each area the rules should be transparent and enforced equally in all circumstances. The "go ahead and apply and we'll see how it goes from there" silliness is what's absurd and corrupt.
Of the neighborhoods you mention, I think Hayes Valley does it best, by simply banning chains (implicitly at least). The others have an implicit "find out who to pay off" policy, which doesn't work as well.
Posted by: anon at October 12, 2013 5:45 PM
There are very few empty storefronts in the Haight these days. Whoever said that hasn't been over there in a while.
Posted by: Truth at October 13, 2013 8:40 PM
It's ok. I'm sure San Mateo County welcomes all sales tax revenue left on the table by San Francisco. You guys have enough money to blow on bloated and wasteful homeless programs anyway.
Clearly you don't need anymore.
Posted by: toady at October 14, 2013 10:19 AM
Just because you don't like the data in the links I provided doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 12:55 PM
@lyqwyd - you didn't provide any data. You linked to a site that merely claimed to be using data from an inaccessible report. That's the same as providing no data. A ranking with supporting data is 100% useless.
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 2:01 PM
no, it's not nearly the same as providing no data. Providing no data is what you did.
Colliers International is one of the largest commercial real estate services in the world. The list of vacancy rates is based on their data, which is not free, they sell it to thousands of subscribers.
If you believe Collier's data is incorrect, you better provide some strong evidence to prove your theory. Until you do, you are just talking a lot of hot air.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 2:57 PM
Take another look at the link you provided on 10/11 at 5:14 pm.
That list comes from data provided by Collier's? Where does it state that?
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 3:08 PM
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 3:09 PM
Take a look at what I just wrote, I clearly said the list of vacancy rates (which is found in my 3:48 posting) was from Colliers.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 3:13 PM
Ah, gotcha, so just your list that we were most recently talking about is worthless. Understood.
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 4:32 PM
Nice try, but completely failed logic. Try supporting your arguments with evidence, rather than hot air.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 4:44 PM
So the list that we were talking about is worthless then?
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 5:22 PM
Wrong, hence the comment about your failed logic.
Of course the list that's important, and the one I've been talking about all along, is the one pointing out that SF's retail vacancy rate is the best in the nation, which is evidence that these regulation have little, if any, negative impact.
The list you seem fixated on says that SF is not a top ten retail market, which helps to disprove your completely unsupported theory that the reason that SF's vacancy rate is the best in the nation is that SF is somehow unique. It's not at all important to the idea that formula retail regulations are not harmful to SF. So even if you showed that it is incorrect (which you haven't even come remotely close to doing) it wouldn't matter. That's why I didn't even bother mentioning the source for that list, because I don't really care...
As I said before, our retail regulations are not hurting the city in any noticeable way, they might even be helping.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 5:33 PM
^So you admit your list is worthless? Good.
Posted by: anon at October 14, 2013 10:49 PM
Well, you've certainly shown yourself to be adept at coming to absurd conclusions based on nothing.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 14, 2013 11:22 PM
I'll take that as a yes.
Posted by: anon at October 15, 2013 7:20 AM
This argument is nutters.
Posted by: 49yo hipster at October 15, 2013 9:41 AM
^VERY much agreed.
Posted by: anon at October 15, 2013 10:21 AM
Yes, it's a debating with anon, he lives in a strange world where facts are not facts and "no" means "yes".
Thanks for the reminder, adios.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 15, 2013 11:27 AM
So bizarre when someone can't admit that they made a mistake.
Posted by: anon at October 15, 2013 11:36 AM