The site for the proposed 950 Center for Art & Education [photo: Bing Maps]
A while back then-mayor Gavin Newsom pushed real hard to transform flailing Mid-Market into an arts district. Now the SF Business Times reports that a plan to turn one of the remaining derelict blocks (bound by Market, Turk and Taylor Streets) into a mixed-use arts and housing development has stalled because a key property owner backed out of negotiations. The North of Market Neighborhood Improvement Corp. and the American Conservatory Theater have been negotiating for the past 2 years to buy three parcels between 966 and 974 Market Street, eventually to be combined with neighboring 950-964 Market. The 950 Center for Art & Education planned for the site would also include 120 housing units and retail, and is basically supported by everyone from the Mayor to other property owners.
Now Dallas-based hedge fund Loan Star Fund (see what they did there?), the owner of 966 and 974 Market, has broken off negotiations, with insiders hinting that they decided to put the property up for sale in 2013 rather than do an off-market deal with the 950 Center proponents. They recently sold nearby 935-965 Market Street to developer Cypress Equities, and the theory is Loan Star Fund thinks they can get a better price once Cypress breaks ground early next year on their Market Street Place (The Project Formerly Known As CityPlace). Some of the 950 Market group is afraid that the sudden influx of Twitter, Square and Dolby relocating to Mid-Market will price out smaller arts groups.