North Beach Commercial Vacancies Prompt Action - Enough Is Enough

Supervisor Peskin, Community Leaders Address Errant Landlords – EVENT

By Joe Bonadio

As perhaps the most unique neighborhood in San Francisco, North Beach has for decades been a lively cultural hub, chockablock with shops, restaurants and bars. But in recent years, we’ve seen a disturbing trend: ground-floor commercial vacancies, often on blocks that have historically been some of our busiest. Columbus Avenue between Green and Greenwich is the prime example.

Exacerbated by the ubiquitous soft story retrofits (which have also emptied their share of storefronts, albeit temporarily), these vacancies have fostered a false atmosphere of decline in North Beach. Shuttered businesses do not encourage repeat visits, and only beget more shuttered businesses. Worse yet, these fallow conditions continue to discourage other small operators from moving to North Beach. It’s a vicious circle that threatens to sideline one of the most vital commercial and cultural enclaves in our city.

As the stewards of small business in North Beach, the SFNBBA is seeking solutions that will get new tenants into these spaces–and ultimately, put more boots on our sidewalks. And high on our list is holding errant landlords accountable.

On Wednesday, January 23rd at 1:00 PM, we are taking the first steps to publicly expose just one such group of landlords: Good Earth Realty, owned by Jeffrey and Sophie Lau. For the last decade, Good Earth has been part of a small group of landlords who have held up to 21 percent of commercial storefronts off the market  in North Beach.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will join Supervisor Aaron Peskin at 527 Columbus Avenue near Green Street, where commercial units have been kept off the rental market for nearly a decade. The press will be in attendance, and Supervisor Peskin and SFNBBA board members are expected to speak about the need for these commercial landlords to do their part to restore the commercial rental supply in our neighborhood–and the well-being of our commercial district. It’s not complicated: we are simply asking that property owners offer their vacant spaces for rent, and at a reasonable market rate.

In addition, we will be working with San Francisco Board President Sandra Lee of District One–where Good Earth Realty has also held commercial storefronts off the market for long periods.

We ask you to join us on Wednesday, and to please spread the word about the event through your network. Your attendance will help guarantee a proper level of attention to this issue, a problem we will all benefit from solving. For the health of our business community and our common neighborhood, we look forward to seeing you there!

Community Action: Resolve The Vacancy Crisis
Wednesday, January 23rd @ 1:00 PM
527 Columbus Avenue (@ Green Street)