From the Friends of 1800 Market's guerrilla-warfare campaign, to knight-on-a-white-horse Jim Siegel's recent offer to buy the Victorian structure for $500,000, it is becoming less and less likely that the Community Center Project (CCP) will proceed with plans to demolish the 103-year-old Carmel Fallon building at Market and Octavia.
The proposal to sell the house to Siegel was one of several compromises discussed at a December 17 meeting in the mayor's office among the CCP, the San Francisco Heritage Foundation and Friends of 1800 Market. CCP President Brenda Barnett said other options include restoring the building or finding another location for the center. "We never wanted to tear the Victorian down," Barnett said. "What we need is for people to raise some money and show us some support so we know there is going to be help if we decide to keep the building."
Tom Mayer, chair of Friends of 1800 Market, said that his group, as well as national organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will gladly help with fundraising, but only after the CCP rescinds its September 17 vote to demolish the building. The next mediation session is slated for January 7.
San Francisco was on the verge of finally realizing Harvey Milk's dream of a gay community center when the Community Center Project's board of directors announced that they would destroy the existing building at 1800 Market Street instead of incorporating the structure into the design as originally planned, citing cost factors. of course, a new group sprang up in October: Friends of 1800 Market wants to preserve the battered Victorian at all costs. In November, the Landmarks Commission heard three hours of testimony regarding the preservation of the existing structure and agreed to put the issue on a future meeting's agenda.