Thursday the hotly contested proposal for a new, approximately 2100 sq. foot, mega-Starbucks retail space at the corner of Sanchez and Market (2201 Market St.) was shot down by the SF Planning Commission 5-1.
We’ve been following the developments since Aug. of 2012 when the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro (MUMC) made the public aware they’d awarded the project their seal of approval. Our comment sections on subsequent posts have been rife with impassioned arguments for and against Starbucks opening a fourth, retail outlet within a 1 mile radius of three others in the Castro/Duboce Triangle neighborhoods.
At the Thursday, May 9th final, final-no we swear-final Planning Commission meeting on the subject the Board followed their own staff’s recommendations and denied the coffee giant a permit based on the newly minted, formula store, Upper Market neighborhood’s density rules. Requirements state formula retail density can’t exceed more than 20% allowed within 300 feet of any given area.
They also noted they’d received petitions and letters from both sides on the subject. Lining up on ‘Yea’ side: 59 letters of support (including one from MUMC and the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association) plus a petition with 453 signatures in favor of their plan. On the ‘Nay’ side: 4 letters (including one from the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District-aka CBD-who rarely agrees with MUMC wishes) and a petition containing 4,200 signatures opposed. Commissioners also listened to an hour and half of public comments with 25 citizens pleading the ‘Yea’ case and 16 ponying up for the ‘Nay’ contingent.
The Commission’s majority also pointed out there’s four other long-established, local coffee-house options and one formula coffee shop for citizens to access to meet their caffeine and bear claw needs. They also found that letting Starbucks occupy such a notable space would allow that particular retail design to be the dominant theme for that area and would detract from the community’s unique and distinct character.
Starbucks can still appeal the decision directly to the Board of Supervisors if it so wishes.
If this plan had been approved this would’ve been Starbucks 73rd store in San Francisco. Even without this new Market St. store that translates into one of the Seattle-based chain stores every six-tenth of a mile throughout the City.