January 6, 2014

Will San Francisco's Planning Commission Just Do It For Nike?


With the Metro Theater conversion nearing completion next door, San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to vote on whether to allow Nike to take over and renovate the former Rugby storefront at 2071 Union Street which has sat vacant since January of 2013.


Despite being formula retail, the Planning Department recommends the Commission approve Nike’s bid to occupy the space and "enhance the economic diversity of the neighborhood."

The Planning Department recommended the Commission allow Pet Foot Express to renovate the long-shuttered Blockbuster location a half-mile away on Lombard as well, a recommendation the Commission rejected four months ago, deeming it "not necessary or desirable."

First Published: January 6, 2014 1:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

If they said NO to Pet Food Express they need to say NO to Nike!

I wish they would have said Yes to Pet Food Express!

Posted by: MarinaBoy at January 6, 2014 1:19 PM

Union Street really needs some draws. Not sure that Nike fits the bill. Strange how Chestnut and Fillmore have thrived so much in comparison.

Posted by: Joshua at January 6, 2014 1:26 PM

Nike is a good fit for that neighborhood. Like Lululemon, it's essential gear for the hollow cows.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 6, 2014 1:42 PM

Does Union Street even have formula retail regulations? I always assumed it was like Chestnut, especially with so many big chains (Starbucks, Lululemon, Sur le Table, former Rugby store, Lush Cosmetics, etc).

I think this is a good fit, especially with the new Equinox on one side and the new SoulCycle on the other. I've always felt Union was the least interesting of the "yuppie" corridors (and I use that term endearingly, I live by Chestnut) when compared to upper Polk, Chestnut, and Fillmore. For example, Chestnut has so many hot restaurants (Tacolicious, Delarosa, A16, Tipsy Pig, Mamacita)...Union has, what, Betelnut? And don't even get me started on Upper Polk dining compared to Union. A Nike store would be nice for this street, sort of like the Apple Store on Chestnut.

Posted by: JWS at January 6, 2014 1:50 PM

One Chain Leads to Another
Another Store Bites the Dust

I'm so into the 80s.

Seriously, SF neighborhoods' chain policies/policing are hit or miss. La Boul is opening yet another Starbucks-driven outpost on 9th Ave/Irving. Speaking of Starbucks...they are omnipresent, but having a pet store on Lombard or a Chipotle on Market is a big no-no. A few years back American Apparel's attempt to open shop on Valencia was thwarted because it's a chain (even though the majority of opponents admitted they shop there). Oh, don't forget the BurgerMeister in North Beach.

Posted by: Mark at January 6, 2014 2:40 PM

how does a nike store fit the chain / formula description when there is currently only one nike store in town (Niketown)?

Posted by: condoshopper at January 6, 2014 3:06 PM

@condoshopper: I believe the definition is having more than 11 locations regardless of geography. Clearly, this doesn't apply to Starbucks, Safeway, Walgreens, etc.

Posted by: Mark at January 6, 2014 3:39 PM

@Mark - Isn't this formula definition enforced neighborhood by neighborhood? For example, Chestnut does not have formula retail legislation, while Valencia does? That's how I understood it, anyway...

Posted by: JWS at January 6, 2014 4:32 PM

I say we put it to a citywide vote.

Posted by: James at January 6, 2014 6:57 PM

let them come in. the space was formula retail before - Rugby by Ralph Lauren and before that it was formula retail with Z Gallerie.

Formula retail is defined by having MORE than 11 stores nationally. If the use is formula retail then the retailer needs a conditional use permit "CUP". which nike has submitted for and what has been supported by the union street merchants association as well as planning. This is a great re use of the space.

Regarding PFXPS- they were railroaded by over priced pet stores that strong armed merchants and used misinformation to protect themselves from any competition and fleece customers with hi prices.

Let NIKE in. They are a great addition and the neighborhood clearly wants them. If you don't want them in the mission or russian hill or anywhere else, let planning know but doing so from another neighborhood carries no weight at all.

Posted by: anonandonagain at January 6, 2014 8:38 PM

what a strange standard, 11 nationally. so if i have 9 already in SF i'm ok to open another one and saturate the city some more, but if i have no presence in SF but 10 on the east coast i'm disqualified.

Posted by: condoshopper at January 6, 2014 8:53 PM

Boulange now has 13 locations in the city and is owned by Starbucks. Does that make them subject to the retail regulations?

Posted by: jlasf at January 7, 2014 1:43 AM

With respect to which streets in San Francisco have "formula retail" controls and what defines formula retail in the eyes of San Francisco's planning code: The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco? and A New Formula For Keeping Out Foreign Threats.

Posted by: SocketSite at January 7, 2014 7:13 AM

Chestnut is awash in formula retail stores: Gap, Apple, Walgreens, Pottery Barn, Starbucks, Peets to name a few. Those, combined with great restaurants and two movie theaters make it a thriving area. Union Street still looks like a residential neighborhood that has allowed retail in the lower floors and some thriving bars. The crowds there tend to be bar hoppers, those on Chestnut couples with double strollers and large dogs. Take your pick!

Posted by: Oceangoer at January 7, 2014 9:37 AM

Patronizing Nike is tantamount to endorsing slave labor. Would you want your children to work in a Nike (or Apple) sweat shop?

Posted by: slavelabor at January 7, 2014 10:01 AM

^No, but they're not peasants in a developing country with little education moving into the big city looking for a factory job instead of fighting out a subsistence lifestyle on the family plot of land, so it's not really a fair comparison.

Posted by: anon at January 7, 2014 10:22 AM

@slavelabor: I'd like to know where you shop considering practically everything, including a lot of our food, comes from outside the country.

Posted by: Mark at January 7, 2014 10:25 AM

Just DO IT!

Posted by: moto mayhem at January 7, 2014 3:30 PM

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