JOINT STATEMENT BY FRIENDS OF 1800 MARKET STREET, GAY/LESBIAN/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY CENTER PROJECT, FOUNDATION FOR SAN FRANCISCO'S ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE

 

Representatives of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Community Center Project ("CCP"), the Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage ("Heritage"), Friends of 1800 Market Street ("Friends"), the San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board met on March 30 and April 1, 1998, to discuss the concerns of CCP, Heritage and Friends regarding the process initiated by the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board for possible landmarking of the Fallon Building at 1800 Market Street. That initiation will be considered by the Landmarks Board on April 15, 1998.

Representing CCP at the May 30 meeting were Brenda Barnette, President, David Latina, Chair of Building Committee, Board members Scott Shafer and Dana Van Gorder, project architects Jane Cee and Peter Pfau, and legal counsel Steven Vettel. Representing Heritage at the May 30 meeting were Bruce Judd, President-elect, David Bahlman, Executive Director, and Arnie Lerner. Representing the Planning Department at the May 30 meeting was Mary Gallagher.

Representing Friends at the April 1 meeting were Tim Kelley, Gary Goad, Denise LaPointe, Kate Black and Arnie Lerner, who comprise Friends' Negotiating Committee. Representing Heritage at the April 1 meeting was Executive Director David Bahlman. Representing CCP at the April 1 meeting was legal counsel Steven Vettel. Representing the Planning Department at the April 1 meeting were Neil Hart and Elizabeth Gordon. Representing the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board at the April 1 meeting was Daniel Reidy, President.

Background. On March 18, 1998, the CPC's Board of Directors voted to rescind its prior vote in favor of demolition of the Fallon Building, and instead voted to undertake an adaptive reuse of the Fallon Building if the Community Center Project is built at the 1800 Market Street site. The extent of the proposed adaptive reuse is set forth in a revised Feasibility Report, dated February 17, 1998, that was developed by CPC's architectural team, including preservation architects Page & Turnbull, and that has been agreed to conceptually by Heritage and Friends. A copy of the revised Feasibility Report is attached to this statement. The additional Community Center Project construction costs represented by the proposed adaptive reuse of the Fallon Building (as opposed to a completely new structure) have been reduced by the revised Feasibility Report from approximately $900,000 to approximately $500,000.

Concerns. CCP representatives expressed concerns that landmarking of the Fallon Building would result in significant delays in project approvals; concerns that the extent of replacement of original historic features called for in the Feasibility Study might not be permitted on a landmark building (while it would be permitted for a lesser rated structure); concerns that the new structure to be built adjacent to the Fallon Building would also fall under the jurisdiction of the Landmarks Board; and concerns that landmarking would offer no financial incentives such as income tax credits or property tax relief.

Heritage and Friends representatives expressed their belief that the Fallon Building is of landmark quality; stated that they could not reverse their prior position in support of its landmarking; and acknowledged that landmarking would offer no tax incentives to CCP. They also reiterated their support for the Feasibility Study conclusions, pledged their support for an adaptive reuse consistent with the Feasibility Study (including assistance in fundraising), and expressed their desire to avoid delays in the project approval process.

Agreements. To address each of these concerns, the representatives of CCP, Heritage, and Friends agreed on the following course of action:

1. CCP will instruct its architectural team to develop schematic designs for the exterior elevations of the Fallon Building adaptive reuse consistent with the revised Feasibility Study, with a goal of completing the exterior elevation schematic design by May 13, 1998. CCP will consult with Heritage and Friends during this period to receive comment on the schematic design for the exterior elevations.

2. Upon completion of exterior elevation schematic design for the Fallon Building, CCP will submit that design to the Planning Department by May 13, 1998, for presentation to the Architectural Review Committee of the Landmarks Board on May 20, 1998, for the committee's review and comment.

3. Based on the Architectural Review Committee's comments and CPC's response to them, a landmark case report will be developed by the Planning Department nominating the Fallon Building as a landmark; attaching the Fallon Building exterior elevations schematic design (with explanatory narrative) to the nomination and stating that an adaptive reuse in general conformance with that design will warrant issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness; and limiting the landmark designation to the portion of the site occupied by the Fallon Building only. The goal would be to present this case report to the full Landmarks Board for action on June 3 or 17, 1998, and for CCP, Heritage and Friends jointly to request that the Landmarks Board act to recommend designation of the Fallon Building as a landmark consistent with the above scenario.

4. On June 3 or 17, 1998, CCP, Heritage and Friends will also request that the Landmarks Board indicate its intent to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Fallon Building in general conformance with the exterior elevations conceptual design.

5. CCP, Heritage, and Friends will jointly request the Landmarks Board to continue its consideration of landmarking of the Fallon Building from April 15, 1998 to June 3 or 17, 1998 (with the Architectural Review Committee to review the Fallon Building exterior elevations schematic design on May 20, 1998) so that the process outlined above may proceed.

6. The CCP representatives identified above pledge to ask the CCP Board on April 8, 1998, to support landmarking of the Fallon Building consistent with the above scenario.

7. Heritage pledge to support landmarking of the Fallon Building consistent with the above scenario; support issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness consistent with the above scenario; support issuance of a negative declaration for the Community Center Project; support issuance of a conditional use permit for use of 1800 Market Street as a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community center (including support for construction of a new structure adjacent to and integrated with the Fallon Building); support issuance of a parking and density variance; and support a Planning Code amendment to permit the existing dwelling unit on the third floor of the Fallon Building to be converted to community center uses.

8. The Friends' representatives identified above (who constitute the Friends' Negotiating Committee) pledge to ask the full membership of Friends at a meeting scheduled for April 13, 1998, to support the process and agreements described above, including continuing landmark consideration by the Landmarks Board to June 3 or 17, 1998 and supporting each of the approvals described in Paragraph 7 above.

9. Heritage and Friends pledge to undertake fundraising efforts to assist in meeting the budget shortfall identified by CCP for the adaptive reuse of the Fallon Building.

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