Merchants look forward to San Francisco market expansion

10/02/2013 11:17:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

The first phase will involve constructing an 86,000-square-foot two-story building with closed docks that will be built to LEED gold standards — one of the top rankings for environmentally friendly construction.

Janis said he expected the building, valued in the low $20 millions, to be completed in 10 to 12 months.

The market also has undergone what he referred to as “retenanting.” Tenants signed new leases this spring and some requested new locations that offered larger spaces.

VegiWorks Inc., for example, plans to leave its 12,500-square-foot facility in October and move across Jerrold Avenue into Earl’s Organic Produce’s former 20,000-square-foot building. Earl’s is moving next door into an even larger facility that opened up when Whole Foods sought a much larger building off the market.

The last time the market expanded was in 2000, when the Earl’s/Whole Foods building was built.

“We’ve been able to really draw upon that experience,” Janis said. “There are very few things we would do differently.”


Public investment

He also credited city and county leaders for support of the project. The city and county own the land on which the market sit as well as the lot destined for the new building. The two entities last year signed a 60-year lease with the market. The market’s old 50-year lease was set to expire this year.

Without having that type of long-term commitment, Janis the market would not have been able to obtain the necessary financing and proceed with such an expansive project.

“It shows that San Francisco sees the value of the market,” Janis said. “They see the economic contributions we make. They see the importance that the market plays in the food economy.”

Under the plan, money put aside from rents will be used for initial construction expenses. The market will borrow the remainder, using rent revenue to repay the loan.

The improvement plan is being guided by a newly created governing board, a third of which is merchants. Remaining members come from other nonprofit groups or are volunteer members selected for their individual expertise, such as branding.

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