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Report aims to sink 1028 Market development, keep 1907 building afloat

Planning Department notes that proposed demolition of historic building would ruin a

The proposed SCB building at 1028 Market Street.

The 33,000-square-foot building at 1028 Market has been with us since 1907. Once the site of Hollywood Billiards, it’s now a pop-up eatery dubbed "The Hall," and home to a slightly psychedelic eye-themed mural covering the plywood barriers over the entrances.

Developers see it as a prime location for a 13-story, 186-unit residential project. That plan, however, has hit a 33,000-square-foot obstacle, in the form of the old building that’s already there, which might hustle the new one right out of town.

The city considers the former billiard hall structure a historic resource, due to the fact that it's old and it allegedly contributes to the character of the historic district. And the draft Environmental Impact Report released yesterday is potentially terrible news for anyone with hot money on seeing the proposed 13 story building come to fruition.

The 490-page document identifies two "unavoidable impacts," the first being "the demolition of a contributing historic resource."

Well, of course, the development plan would mean demolishing the old building. That’s the whole reason they’re doing the report, right? The catch is that what 1028 Market Street contributes to is the 131 acre Market Street historic district.

"Intrusion" buildings that don’t jive with the Planning Department plan for the neighborhood already comprise a third of said historic district. The proposed building would not contribute to that overall vision either, whilst doing away with an old building that fits the preferred mode better.

Of the 1907 structure, the report notes: "While the building does not exhibit a distinguishable architectural style in its present state, the building once had ‘restrained Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation,’" only a little of which is now visible. The proposed building design (by SCB) is "asymmetrical and contemporary."

Hollywood Billiards was apparently a rough-and-tumble place, the site of frequent, speakeasy-style raids until 2003, when it closed after a riotous brawl left one person dead.

The report concludes that the "environmentally superior" option is to simply leave the site as it is. This despite the fact that "it is assumed that under the No Project Alternative the existing building would remain vacant, with its current use as a temporary food hall being discontinued in late 2016 or early 2017."