Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mission Civilisatrice at the Warfield?

@CurbedSF praises Peter Fenton re: "the civic duty of establishing a presence" in "mid-Market." A little too much of Take Up The Rich Man's Burden in that, wouldn't you say?

Anyway the Curbed comment is in praise and paraphrase of an article by Fenton on Benchmark Capital's plan to rent offices in the Warfield Building at San Francisco's skid-row-central intersection, the corner of Sixth and Market.

Fenton may be in for a surprise if he really isn't distinguishing Sixth and Market from Tenth and Market:
"So, like Twitter last year, we saw an opportunity to go into a tough neighborhood, and to be part of the transformation. Twitter’s new headquarters are at 10th/Market..., and the Warfield is at 6th/Market."
There's a whole lot of ground in between. Tenth and Market is way more peaceful.

On the other hand, Fenton may know exactly what he's doing.

It's clever of him to talk about a "center of gravity" consisting of "the 3-mile radius around Yerba Buena Gardens." The phrasing helps to erode the long-term role of Sixth Street as barrier between the more and less commercial halves of SoMa. It also provides a point of reference for out-of-town business people who have been to a convention at Moscone Center in the Yerba Buena complex. And for history buffs, intentionally or not, it's making a subtler point: Yerba Buena was Skid Row first -- before the city ripped out the hotels and drove the moneyless single adults west to Sixth. Places can change. Oh, can they ever.

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