In the rapidly changing mid-Market area of San Francisco, the influx of new tech companies into a historically low-income neighborhood is causing some conflict, especially around commercial real estate. Geoff Link is editor and publisher of the Central City Extra, a monthly newspaper serving the Tenderloin, mid-Market, and SOMA neighborhoods. It's put out by the Study Center, a publishing house that also supports non-profits.
As a journalist, Link has been monitoring changes taking place in this part of the city as tech companies move in, including the displacement of a lot of neighborhood non-profits. He himself has been affected-- the Study Center has had to move twice in the last two years. Link spoke to KALW's Ben Trefny in the offices of Central City Extra.
In a small room, inside a former sewing machine factory in the mid-Market district of San Francisco, Mitsuru Muraki is jamming on some unconventional percussion instruments: two round glass vases and a couple of pencils. He and another musician named Gabe Stern are writing a song together. As Muraki moves on to drumming on a metal bucket, a tall, dreadlocked young man pokes his head in the door.
The mid-Market district of San Francisco is undergoing tremendous change. Construction cranes literally cast shadows over the businesses and charities serving long-time residents of the neighborhood. This is an area filled with supported housing and Single Room Occupancy hotels. Homeless people and panhandlers traverse the wide sidewalks. One of the food pantries that serves them is run by The Quaker Meeting House. It’s on 9th Street, just south of Market, and has been around for nearly 20 years. To date, Twitter has run its global operations around the corner for about half-a-year. Which means these two entities with similar sounding names and strikingly different purposes are unlikely neighbors.
As any visitor who takes an antique streetcar through the mid-market district finds out, there’s much more to San Francisco than just tourist attractions. Many mayors have tried to revitalize the area with some success, but the stretch is still dominated by vacant buildings, Single Room Occupancies (SROs), strip clubs, and populated by the city’s outcasts.