The San Francisco Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center Project (CCP) has retained preservationist architect Jay Turnbull to conduct another feasibility study for the proposed community center at 1800 Market Street. Turnbull is expected to determine whether the project can incorporate the 103-year-old Fallon Building that now occupies the space, which the CCP board unanimously decided last September should be demolished to make way for an all-new center.
The CCP board of directors approved Turnbull's hiring January 21, prompted by an agreement made with Friends of 1800 Market Street and the Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage, Barbara French, the CCP director who was involved with the negotiations, told the B.A.R. the study will be completed in time for the next meeting with Heritage on Tuesday, February 17. Friends of 1800 Market Street representatives were pleased with Turnbull's selection.
"As part of the agreement, we said we would go back to the CCP board and do another feasibility study to look at retaining the Victorian," said French. "This study will re-cost the project. "The CCP board authorized up to $10,000 for the reassessment.
On February 3, Turnbull told the B.A.R. that he has visited the building with architects Jane Cee and Peter Pfau, and said an all-team meeting with engineers and consultants will take place soon. "It's an important building historically," he said. "It is old and in poor condition, but the quality of the exterior and some of the interior is worth holding on to.
"I think the building is worth taking another look at, and am happy the board went in this direction."
The agreement between the CCP and preservationists also postponed action to determine if the Fallon Building is an historic landmark, until March or later.
In a related matter, ongoing problems of squatters in the Victorian were discussed at last month's CCP meeting. Dave Latina, the building committee chair, said that although the CCP shut off the building's utilities months ago, electricity has somehow been turned on or squatters are using extension cords. Also, he said, locks have been removed and walls have been opened, causing even more damage to the building.
A property management firm that has had success with what Latina described as "difficult properties" has been consulted and is expected to work with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Task Force to help people who are on the property illegally.