17 Reasons Building Poised for Demolition and Condos, Tenants Fear

Update: This story has been partially retracted.

Following on the heels of the hostile eviction of Adobe Books on 16th Street comes news that the tenants of the 17 Reasons Building is facing a very similar fate.

According to a flyer being circulated anonymously by occupants, the building housing Thrift Town and many other businesses and non-profits at the corner of 17th and Mission has been purchased by Asher Insights—a company whose owners have a track record for razing buildings and constructing high-priced condos in their place.

The flyer alleges a bunch of foul behavior on the part of the new owners, including a “hostile an aggressive visit” from Asher Insights' managing partner Rick Holman (a former Bank of America executive), changing the building's locks without notice, and shutting down Thrift Town's loading dock for a site assessment:

Tenants we spoke to would only do so on condition of anonymity, fearing further harassment for the landlords.  However, one occupant described the “aggressive visit” by Holman as “scary,” noting he paraded around, yelling out leaseholder's names in an attempt to locate them, and rattling off concerns with the building's integrity.

Following Holman's “hostile” visit, he allegedly then fired the property's maintenance staff and changed the locks to the building's gates, causing employees for the businesses inside the premises to not be able to go to work.  We're told he still hasn't provided tenants with new sets of keys.

And to make matters worse, at least one business received a notice earlier this week that Asher Insights filed paperwork to have them evicted.

In The Works, an art and activist collective in the building (which also happens to be responsible for the “Google Bus Pinata” Anti-Gentrification Block Party), described the situation in a mass email:

On Monday, April 8th, Rick Holman paid a hostile visit to ITW, demanding to meet with the lease-holding collective members and an inspection of the premises. Rick Holman and his architect wife Toby Levy play a part of the gentry leading the gentrification of the Mission District by pushing out low-income families and community-oriented people. Rick Holman is currently collecting soil samples from 60 feet under the building, indicating that he is interested in building a parking garage for a new condo development.

One occupant stressed how important the building is to the local economy, “there are dozens of [Mission] jobs at risk here. There's two textile manufacturing shops, art studios, Thrift Town, the fabric store… Headline Shirts… we cannot afford to lose this place.”

The Homeless Children's Network also maintain's their offices in the building. Perhaps ironically, they too might lose their home in the Mission.

Comments (94)

raze it! thrift town fucking sucks. most of the other tenants are useless to me and the changing demographic of the neighborhood. don’t stand in the way of progress.

hey, fuck u

i hope a helicopter runs you over

I am somewhat sensitive to the plight of these tenants.

However, like some others already chimed here, I have no use for any of the commercial outfits there.

There is no value of any kind I or my cohort derive from these shops.

These pseudo-cultural outfits are, from my not so limited experience living here, a sham and add little to no vitality to the life in the Mission.

Chalk me up in the camp who wants this razed down.


It would be lame to convert this building to condos, but I can’t help but notice that the picture you’ve chosen has a giant “Space Available” sign on it. Maybe we can find a picture that at least makes the building look like it is viable as commercial space, like this one:


And not a building that is too old/undesirable/poorly marketed/whatever to get enough tenants to be profitable for the landlord as it is.

FWIW, this is an old Google Street View pic. I believe that sign is no longer present.

Business will prevail. Its only when these loud mouthed overeducated and underexperienced intellectuals get their way then progress stops. The world is not a stagnant place. You can’t bat a pinata for every birthday and your mother will grow old as well. The culture across the street at the bart station is great for the community right? mmm pee smell and crazy people. thats the community that we want.

You suck.

it smells like pee BECAUSE of gentrification you fucking idiot. People are homeless, you know, w/o bathrooms and businesses, especially gentrfying ones, wont let them use it. Do you think people prefer to crap on the street? Jesus, you stupid white supremacist fucks have no clue what you are even talking about.

I hope the class war tears your fucking heart out.

LOL. Then the Mission has ALWAYS been gentrified.

cool, hopefully it will displace you by sheriffs coming in with guns drawn and throwing you into the gutter.

but its cool, people have always been thrown into the gutter.

This is the worst point that’s been made on this blog, imo.

explain? i dont think you all get what colonization on a micro scale is or does to people.

Ha Ha someone is so addled that they think that gentrification cause homelessness. Hmm, does Pac Heights smell like pee? Really. Oh and if you instantly conclude that anyone who disagrees with you with you is a white supremacist, then you are the one with cognition issues. We are allow looking forward to the day when shallow, self-righteous losers like you move on.

Ha Ha someone is so saddled that they think that people priced out of homes just disappear into thin air.

Pac Heights has always been too expensive for anyone but the rich. Not so with The Mission. Of course you wouldn’t know that because you moved in during one of the dotcom booms and thought all those pretty white people with terribly bland taste were always there.

Im not saying you are responsible for driving up the prices - the real estate fiends and the corrupt politicians who could have stopped it are - but you are simply ignorant if you don’t understand how displacement works.

Awww, man. That would suck. Thrift Town fucking rules.

If true, great way for these speculators to help ‘us’ pick the prefect focal point.
There will be hell to pay if that building is cleared and passed for demo for condos.
They represent the FIRE sector to a tee. Only if BofA or citigroup were
doing it would it more clearly provide a dramatization of our casino economy.
People love this building. It looks great. And what is inside it.
I wasn’t even considering bothering with any more anti gentry protests, one issue
protests are pathetic considering what our govt is doing to working class and
middles class here and bombing 7 or 8 countries a week. And of course there is
a 2nd bigger crash coming fast…so at least ⅓ of new arrivals will lose their jobs..
But if action happens to evolve around this alleged project…..everyone I know will
be on the streets…If you are so inclined look to the take overs in argentina.
Go re watch The Take on youtube.
Perfect opportunity to bring the big picture all together….
and logistically couldn’t be better.

This sucks! That building also houses one of the better fabric stores in the area (among many other things.)

I wonder if they can get the building classified as “historic”?

If you followed discussions on reforming San Francisco’s administration of CEQA (California Environmental Qyality Act), you would know that being declared an historic resource does not protect you from anything these days. Ask the folks at Parkmerced. Money talks.

I agree. I’m a regular shopper at the Fabric Outlet. And there is a rare book store on the second floor further down mission.

Adobe books has new life. Their “hostile eviction” has lead to over $60K being raised, a new location, and a new business mission.

yeah, to become the next gentrifying business. how much longer you think swan will be sleeping there and ppl will be walking out as “pay-what-you-can”. not fucking long..

Is this building currently a mixed use commercial/residential? Or is it all commercial?

It’s entirely retail/offices.

I was told by one of the tenants that’s it’s mixed use.

whatever goes in here, i hope they put in a chipotle. im sick of not being able to find a decent burrito in this shitty neighborhood

you are a white supremacist piece of shit who better watch out walking around this hood, motherfucker. well feed you to the lumpenproles on the block, ya know, eat the rich, feed the poor.

And you are an easy mark.

then step up.

It’s too bad SFSU doesn’t offer an “Understanding Humor” elective as part of its program in Obtuse Earnestness.

It used to a requirement in the Self-Righteous History program. Damn, budget cuts.

Fuck you we need more Walgreens.

Obvious Troll is Obvious.

There’s a word for someone who repeats the same action yet expects a different outcome: idiot.

You’re referring to the gentrifying class that are buying and flipping and I totally agree. We all lose when low-income residents, businesses and non-profits get pushed out.


Why do “we all lose when low-income residents, businesses and non-profits get pushed out”? Seems to me things things just get nicer/cleaner/safer

Well pushed maybe a loaded word, maybe even the wrong word, but if you accept that people are being pushed then problems.

It also goes to the same rational that proposition 13 is the law in the golden state.

I don’t really think demanding higher rent is “pushing”. If you can afford the rent, pay it. If you can’t afford it, move somehwere where you can.

Right, But sometimes it is pushing. Like when the Landlord become landlord from hell to get tenants to move out.

Markets are one thing, and a great thing for making society better, more efficient, etc. but most people recognize that there are limits to markets, and times when other interest should also come into play.

And to add, some of those who push the idea that market are next to God and can never be adjusted, to often seem to be those who got a good portion of their wealth from life’s lottery type occurrences.

Awesome. When in first class, have another!

Poor little rich boy with daddy issues will leads us to freedom.

there was no leader. It was just him. and if you had ANY knowledge of the ‘activist’ or ‘left’ or working class fights
against real estate speculation in the mission, of the past 20 years, you would know he was hated.
He not only left cuz he had worn out his little narcissistic grandstand, but also some ‘anarchists’
such as me spread the word that he had better. ..leave…Try any trope college kid.

All of the nonprofiteers have sold out to Ed Lee and Willie Brown. So long as they get paid and tend to their gardens of trophy poor, there is no need for them to contest neoliberal designs on our neighborhoods.

We’re on our own as residents on this.

Yupp. Too much truth in this. Same things happened with most governmental union types.

After court ruling that paradoxically seemed to favor the unions, members cannot sue when the Union leadership sells them down the river, the union leadership sold their members out for easy jobs for themselves and the most tenured members.

Non profit scene in San Francisco has long been a way to pay the politically connected for favors.

Eric Quezada, RIP, achieved the activist nightmare, organizing the entire community, developers and Planning Department against him. People were too afraid to call him on it because he had terminal cancer. It is not just those with life threatening illnesses who are immune from criticism.

Any time that one disagrees with a nonprofiteer or union hack, the individual views it as a personal attack first, an attack on the people they claim to work for and represent second, and the act of a conservative third. Welcome to narcissism land, where disagreements about political analysis or strategy is tantamount to a personal attack.

This happens in the cult-like SEIU as well, where individuals remain employed by the union when over the past decade they’ve been there, the economic circumstances of their members drops every year.

Somehow, failed candidates for public office end up rewarded with positions of power on the left, and that inability to connect leads to catastrophic failure.

We’re on our own as residents on this stuff.


Also, no one seems to be blaming the previous owner of the building who sold it. They surely made a killing on it.

(Also, surprised that Vera Cort doesn’t own that building. She seems to own the rest of the Mission)

the good news is that the building will not be torn down… that’s way too difficult. the bad news is that in 6 years this building will be totally different. they’ll add a garage, reinforce the existing structure, and redo upper floors to make one floor of offices and one of condos (just a guess). they might even add another floor or a roof area. once that is done and the neighborhood had changed enough, they’ll raise the rent on the street level tenants, essentially forcing them out.
this will take time, i’m sure permitting will take at least a year. but these people aren’t idiots and they don’t want people fighting them tooth and nail, that will look bad. with some opposition they’ll slow it down… but it won’t stop. there is already probably fuck-ton of money on the line.
i knew a dance studio that lost it’s lease in that building months ago and i was wondering what was up.

Of course all of this upzoning and intensification of use was predicated on transit oriented development and fewer cars, so, of course, they’re going to add parking spaces.

The Planning Department will support more parking in the Mission NCT, the Planning Commission will give them parking to the max, and without any significant investment in transit, without any significant analysis of impacts to transit from more parking, the high costs of this gentrification will be shifted onto the Muni riding, cycling and walking public.

“There are dozens of us! Dozens!!!!”

The Fabric Outlet is wonderful, one of the best businesses on Mission.

This would be more interesting with a detailed list of tenants. How many are wannabe tech giants? Here’s one: http://crowdflower.com/

I really do weep salty tears that they may have to move.

I can understand worrying about residents being displaced - they have a property interest of sorts in their rent-controlled apartment. If I’m paying $500 a month for my apartment, and am forced out, I cannot replace my housing at that cost; I’m stuck looking at $3,000 places.

Businesses, however, do not have rent control. Every time their leases are up, they can face all kinds of changes of terms, including rent. This is true no matter where they are. So they have no expectation of a particular rent. If rents are going up for commercial leases, that is true everywhere, *including where they are*. That’s the difference between commercial and residential rentals in SF. So I really don’t see why we should give a damn about a particular space a commercial (non-residential) enterprise is in - they’re completely fungible.

people have always lived in the 17 reasons why building, overtly or covertly.

you are very talented at over-simplification.

Did you check their website? Said business has a dozen open positions, 6 of them being for entry-level generalists. Some of the people whining about rising costs and underemployment should just apply for one of these tech companies, instead of resisting change and ultimately losing out. You, too, can be a gentrifier!

Absolutely not! I prefer adolescent rage!

Right, because how DARE local companies hire people in the Mission. Let’s immediately replace that business with condos and make everyone take a private bus to another city.

You know what fungible means, right? Go look at Loopnet. Go look at commercial rentals on craigslist. 2111 Mission is not some irreplaceable gem of a commercial space. If they have to move to, say, Excelsior, well, so be it. But I don’t think they’ll have to.

Remember, we need residential spaces as well. As someone else once said, “SF is already a mature city with not much empty land to build on.”

Sure, but your entire objection is centered around the CrowdFlower has something to do with technology. And guess what, if we remove all the tech companies from the Mission, that’s going to mean more private buses, not less.

You can’t have it both ways.

I think you’re misunderstanding me, and suspect there’s no fixing that.

I’m not sure what else can be said. This is a building where many people in the neighborhood work. If you think we’d be better off with fewer jobs in the Mission and more “luxury” condos, so be it, that’s the direction our city seems to be heading in anyway.

God help me, I’m gonna try.

Yes, it is terrible that there is nowhere for them to go: http://www.loopnet.com/California/San-Francisco-Commercial-Real-Estate/
(That’s just an example of hundreds of available commercial spaces from different sources).

This is a BAD argument when dealing with residential renters, because the prices will be totally out of equipoise - you can’t show me a list of available rentals when they all cost four times what I’m currently paying. They’re unavailable to me.

It is a GOOD argument, however, with commercial renters, because the lack of commercial rent control means they’ll have to pay the going rate no matter where they are. If Crowdflower has to move to the US Bank building at 22nd and Mission, there is no loss to anyone. [cue passionate cries of the tragedy of the five-block move?]

Sure, but you’re still removing office space – it’s not just Crowdflower, this is a huge building we’re talking about with many other tenants.

Dunno about you, but I’d rather live in a truly mixed use neighborhood. A bedroom community dotted with overpriced restaurants is the opposite of that.


Not all commercial landlords are profit maximizers.

When buildings are flipped and speculators take over, then the antics ensue.

This is why businesses who plan to stay in business will sign long-term leases, and renew the leases way before the lease is over. Got a 5 year lease with an option for another 2 years? Start talks for renewing at year 4 minimum.

A lot of businesses want month to month or short term leases because they don’t want the responsibility of paying all that future rent should their business not succeed. That’s their option, but the other issue is that they may find their rent getting jacked way up when they do want to make a longer term lease, or otherwise having their month to month lease terminated.

tell that guy good luck digging down 60 ft for a parking garage and not hitting the BART lines. or maybe he should put his parking garage downtown where it belongs and leave the mission neighborhood alone.

Totally. Because there aren’t any BART lines Downtown.

Tell that girl to put on some make-up.

This is terrible news. That’s the problem with dot-coms in the neighborhood–they tend to be followed by other big-business types. Has CrowdFlower struck a deal with the new owners to benefit from this, while all their business tenant neighbors are getting screwed? How is CrowdFlower being treated?

small dotcoms get just as screwed over by landlords. not all dotcoms have a sugardaddy vc feeding them cash.

Another 40-50 talented artist having to leave the city and make Oakland a cooler place - progress = boredom
San Francisco is turning white and pale and totally techy …

Yes, now that the work is almost done in the Mission, continue with Oakland. Then start making the Bayview “cooler”.

I live but a few blocks from here in a pretty run down but wonderful apartment. It’s cheap (SF-wise), houses lower-income families, and makes for a pretty wonderful community.

We shop at Thrift Town and the Fabric Outlet because they are cheap. We can’t afford the boutiques on gentrified Valencia. The grungy dollar stores are our best friends and wonderful people in our community run them.

We know the homeless people who live on the corner because they are part of our community too.

This is coming from a dual-income home where we work our butts off 10-12 hours a day at work, 6 days a week.

I speak for a lot of people in our community when I say that we can’t afford gentrification. Sure, bad things might happen in our neighborhood. There might be pee on the streets and people getting mugged sometimes. But it’s still our neighborhood and we are trying. Shoving me and our community out of the way in the name of progress makes us feel like dirt, like we are not good enough for the area and neighborhood we have put so much time and effort into. We have come a long way even in 10 years. Please let us be.

Hey lady,
It’s not just ‘gentrification’. It’s real estate speculation. Cashing in on a bubble. What happened in 2008 crash, with rampant fraud and massive money to the top 10%. You can’t just ‘ask the rich to let you be’. You have to be active, demand, and fight back. You can’t be passive
and hold signs up. You have to fight. With many many bodies. You can be ‘of’ a class, but you can only fight when you are ‘with a class’. As fredrick douglas said, Power only understands militant demands. Power only responds to power. Not morality or ethical arguments.

The nonprofits are in place to ground out popular demands for economic equity and justice, converting them into forms digestible by neoliberalism, such as maudlin displays of morality, and an ethics that focuses exclusively on the most, most vulnerable and writes off anyone who is not wretched to the ranks of the rich.

The Old Left that sought refuge in the social services meant well but like the boomer generation from which they arose, have lost all credibility and sold themselves and us out.

Affirmative expressions of inclusive, diverse popular power is what it is going to take, and the nonprofits are standing between us and a clear shot at corporate power.

just a lady,

I have no intentions to make you or anyone to feel like dirt.

The biological processes of economic happenings don’t have those intentions either.

We are all part of a bigger system called an economy.

People move when they can’t afford and move when then can afford.

Times change and that’s a fact. Austin Texas is a a nice place and I also hear that Sacramento is an up and comer.

Sorry for the bad news.

Economic happenings have nothing to do with biological processes. The economy consists of actions carried out by people, not some mysterious, unassailable “market.”

Hang in there, just a lady. Others share your viewpoints about the neighborhood.

It’s the price.
When rents and ownership prices exceed the incomes of the entire middle class, let alone those below average, then a society dies.
Nothing is worth 5 times what it’s worth here.
Let alone in the Mission.

PS: A 900 sf condo is “worth” maybe 75,000.
How you say?
I built one, from scratch, in an environment isolated from the bubble where people make money without improving their properties.
Built at cost, not paper.

As a City, we should require that all future development of any kind - 100%, be affordable (3X income).
It will take MANY DECADES to re-establish the new middle class, but you need to start somewhere.

Thoughts from the Mission

Hmmm. Yeah, pretty sick of hearing the same old whining crap about gentrification. “WAAAAAAAH! Those evil yuppie hipsters are trying to gentrify the neighborhood I’ve been gentrifying for years. NO FAIR!!!”

I mean, yes, it sucks to lose viable businesses like the fabric store. But let’s face it, that part of Mission is a total shithole, and the crowd that hangs out at the 16th street BART stop is the most depressing collection of human wreckage I’ve ever had to encounter. Pretty much any change would be an improvement.

It would be nice if they could fix up the neighborhood in a way that didn’t mess with the local economy – it *is* kinda handy to have a fabric store there – but money talks, etc etc etc.

I should add, though, I’m well-aware that someday my landlord may get a wild hair up his ass and Ellis Act me out of my precious rent-controlled apartment, at which point I may be priced out myself. And I’m okay with that. My hope is that by the time that happens, Oakland will be safer and have a viable 24-hour transportation link to SF. Sure, I love where I live and don’t wanna move. But I don’t think “Fuck you, I was here first” is a valid argument. It’s a city. Nobody owns it.

Cool sentiment, but you must be lit or a clueless transplant to think Bart will be 24 hours in the near future. San Jose is the next project. And then Antioch and Brentwood. Not to mention the second transbay tunnel we have to build. And then maybe we can talk about 24 hour service for you alcoholics.

Um, where in my comment did I say that BART would run 24 hours? I was thinking bus rapid transit, actually. But thanks for putting words in my mouth!

I want only my kind of things around me at all times.

Affordable housing maybe, high priced condos, no.

The people who live in the affordable housing near me all have really nice cars, much newer and nicer than mine. So all the money they’re saving on housing is going to their cars. If they didn’t have a $800 a month car payment they could rent a market-rate place.

just a thought.

(It seems that the people who really need affordable housing the most aren’t the ones getting it)

I call bullshit.

Anybody who wants a CHIPOTLE in the Mission has no business living here in the first place. Go back to the suburbs if you want to eat that crap but keep it out of my neighborhood, and don’t move into a neighborhood if you can’t appreciate the local businesses. How arrogant can you be, thinking you can move into an established neighborhood and mold it according to your will and diss the local businesses? Fortunately you won’t last long, just like with the other tech booms & busts, you’ll be running back to the burbs in about a year and selling off your Ikea apartments on Craigslist. Seen it before, ho hum! If you don’t like the smell of piss or the taste of authentic food, then get the hell out of the Mission and move to the Marina or someplace where things are nicely sanitized and you can eat as much touristy fusion food as your shallow hearts desire. You’re way too lame to live in a real neighborhood so please take your arrogant, selfish and (most of all) boring selves elsewhere and leave the Mission alone. Bunch of selfish pricks (“None of those businesses serve my interests whatsoever so I say raze it; why should I care about all the residents who would be displaced or people who would lose their jobs? They’re just a bunch of lowlifes and illegals anyway. I’m far superior because I’m educated and affluent, and I deserve to get what I want even if I have to step on others to attain it.”).

Of all things posted you get suckered by an obvious joke.