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The War of the Roses: The City’s Future May Erase Its Past. In Which Case: Send Flowers.

November 22, 2014

By  : sfweekly – excerpt

An oasis of light emanates from the inky shadows at Sixth and Brannan in the South of Market district. It’s a few ticks shy of 5 a.m. on a Wednesday and every last person shuffling along the slick pavement has a story: hyperaggressive, lycra-suited joggers, diminutive women pushing shopping carts piled with rattling aluminum cans, unshaven men likely ejected from all-night diners when it grew clear the only thing they wanted was sleep.

But this place — this place is a story…

Strip away the trappings of exoticism, however, and the Flower Mart presents a deeply typical San Francisco tale. In the predawn hours especially, it feels like a self-contained little realm. It’s anything but.

Superficially, this place looks much as it did a generation ago; some of the same faces even peer out from behind the forests of hydrangeas. But, in that time, the flower business has transformed. The Mart is an anachronism in a town where anachronisms are now perceived as a market inefficiency. It’s one of the last industrial outposts in San Francisco, a sprawling, ramshackle hangar in the heart of SOMA, the burgeoning showcase of tech and imminent home to mushrooming office towers emblazoned with the gibberish names of companies defining the city’s 21st-century economy.

The Flower Mart isn’t nearly as valuable as the land beneath it (and the air above it), which, like so much of the city, is primed to house yet another high-rise tech fortress…

The Flower Mart was, for decades, composed of two organizations existing side-by-side: The San Francisco Flower Growers Association (the “Italian side”) and the California Flower Growers Association (the “Japanese side”). In October, Kilroy Realty, Inc. officially acquired the Italian side and is on the cusp of doing the same with the Japanese side. As such, a plum parcel in perhaps the world’s most desirable real estate market has fallen into the hands of one of the city’s newest, most prolific — and most aggressive — developers….

The Flower Mart is a repository of traditional, working-class jobs in a town rapidly shedding both tradition and working-class jobs. And, like everyone else, registered voters here like flowers, nearly as much as they like puppies and kittens. The universal appeal of flowers would be pretty persuasive if it landed on the ballot.

Seizing on this possibility, the city’s most prominent critics of high-rise development and tech ascendance could put the whole thing to a vote, calling upon the electorate (yes, you) to settle a spectacularly complex, high-stakes, and emotionally supercharged development proposal. Again… (more)

Displacement of our lifestyles is the problem San Francisco residents face. Who benefits from taking our homes, jobs, cultural venues and historical treasures? Citizens better figure that out and quit listening to everything they say if they want to change the pace of displacement.
Oakland will not work anymore as the panacea, as real estate values in Oakland are now the fastest growing in the country, if you believe the media. Displacement is the enemy. Let ‘s all agree to fight it and then figure out the methods.

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