The Community Center Project board of directors voted on September 17 to demolish 1800 Market Street. Heritage has worked for several months with the developer of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center planned for this site to achieve the historic building's preservation and integration with new construction
The developer presented the results of a three-month feasibility study by its architects and engineers that showed the cost of rehabilitation to be between $1.6 and $2.6 million, three or four times what they expected. This works out to be between about $260 and $425 per square foot. The massive Palace Hotel rehabilitation and seismic project, completed in 1991, came in at under $200 per square foot. Higher costs are related primarily to additional foundation and seismic work.
The California Department of Transportation historic properties survey for the Central Freeway Replacement Project found the building to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Eligibility, at the local level of significance, is based on the assessment that it is "a relatively unaltered example of a mixed-use design in the Queen Anne style, one of the few to survive the earthquake and fire of 1906 on Market Street in the Hayes Valley." The City's Planning Department has concurred with this determination.
San Jose architect Edward D. Goodrich designed the three- story wood frame building for Carmel Fallon, whose mother was the daughter of Joaquin Ysidro Castro, military governor of California during the Mexican period. In 1849, she married Thomas Fallon, a member of John C. Fremont's California expedition.
In 1906, the fire following the earthquake burned the area across Market Street into the Mission District and up the north side of Market to within a block of the building. Although it has suffered neglect in recent years, the building, according to the Caltrans survey, "retains sufficient integrity of location, design, materials, workmanship and feeling." One of the ground floor store fronts appears to be in nearly original condition.
Heritage assembled a team of architects, engineers and contractors experienced in the rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of historic buildings, that, as this issue was going to press, was scheduled to review the cost figure switch the developer during the first week of October. We still hope to arrive at a feasible preservation solution for the project.
In the October issue of the Castro Star, Tim Kelley and Bob Burnside wrote, "Eventually, if the bottom-line development ethic is allowed to reduce our cityscape to the most efficient expenditure per square foot, there will be no particular reason to live in San Francisco... We may ... have to dig down and help finance the things we want, like preservation of the Fallon building."
If you want to express your support for the preservation of this building, contact the Community Center Project at 99 Colton Street, San Francisco, CA 94103; telephone (415)437-2257; FAX (415)437-2259.
The Planning Department's 1976 survey rated 1800 Market a "3." The Community Center Project press release noted the opinion that this is not a very high rating. The '76 scale runs from "0" (least significant) to "5" (most significant). Approximately 10,000 buildings (about 8 percent of the city's total building stock) were rated on this scale. Those who took part in the survey estimate that buildings rated "3" or higher represent approximately the best two percent of the city's architecture.