San Francisco's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center will stay at its proposed location; the project's board of directors voted unanimously to develop the 1800 Market Street site at its annual meeting Wednesday, June 17.
The week before, members of the Friends of 1800 Market Street celebrated recent developments that led the Community Center Project (CCP) board to reach that decision. Preservationists and politicians stood in front of the site and popped champagne in a call for unity.
"The project has gone through a long process," CCP board member Dana Van Gorder said, before making his motion to stay and develop the center at 1800 Market. A controversy erupted last year after the CCP board voted to demolish the 104-year-old Fallon Building at the site, which it purchased in late 1996 with $1.1 million in city funds. Preservationists denounced the decision, which the board later rescinded. Van Gorder acknowledged that the CCP board briefly considered the vacant lot at the intersection of Market and Noe streets, where the proposed Life Center is slated for construction, as an alternative site. Van Gorder's motion also included incorporating the historically significant Victorian building, as preservationists wanted.
Architects Jane Cee and Peter Pfau, who had the winning design for the project, have been working with preservationist architects and others, and are set to begin schematic drawings. The city's Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend landmark status for the Fallon Building earlier this month.
At the unity news conference on June 11, preservationists thanked the CCP board and others for working through the controversy. "The decision to demolish the Fallon Building was the pivotal point," said Gary Goad, of Friends of 1800. The group met and came up with financing for a billboard drawing attention to the fate of the building. It worked. "We were able to communicate with the community center board and it turned out to be a great thing," Goad said.
Supervisor Mark Leno, who was a member of the CCP board at the time of the CCP board at the time of the controversy, said fiscal constraints led to the original decision regarding the Fallon building. "Through open meetings, we heard from the community that was not the decision they liked," Leno said.
In other matters last week, the CCP:
Said they will have a dunking booth at this weekend's gay pride festivities.
Introduced board member Frank Woo, who is the new co-chair of the center's $3.5 million capital campaign with board member Jody Cole.
Announced that the CCP now has office space located at Lyon-Martin Building at 1748 Market Street, suite 204. The CCP is accepting donations of office furniture, particularly chairs, and hopes to have its monthly board meetings there soon.
To donate office furniture or for information call the CCP at (415) 437-2257 or check out the website at www.sfgaycenter.org.
The Friends of 1800 Market also has a website at www.friendsof1800.org.