The Catholic Church Moves to Evict Two 24th Street Business, Making Way For a High-End Restaurant

Because nothing is sacred (ha!) (ugh), we're now hearing word that the Catholic Church is plotting the eviction of two long-term Mission businesses.  Praise God!

According to a petition being circulated, which has already amassed nearly 1,750 signatures, the San Francisco Archdiocese is looking to evict St. Peter's Bookstore and G.G. Tukuy Indigenous Arts & Crafts to bring in a high-end restaurant and higher rents:

The community of the Mission District and 24th St. strongly oppose any plans to evict St. Peter's Bookstore and G.G. Tukuy after years of being on 24th St. and convert the space to a high-end restaurant. The plans will not only destroy the social and cultural fabric of 24th St. but displace 2 community serving businesses and their families. We are shocked that the San Francisco Archdiocese would even consider such a move. We are opposed to the change of use from retail to restaurant and will boycott them from forcing themselves on our community. Stop Urban Deportation.

If this sounds like a familiar story, it's because it is: the business's leases have expired, the landlord (“The Church”) is keeping them on a short, month-to-month leash, and now the landlord is looking to cash in on the restaurant bubble. Via El Tecolote:

Both businesses are tenants in property owned by the adjacent St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and their leases with the parish have expired. They are currently renting on a month-to-month basis.

In the spring, Rev. Manuel Estrada, pastor at the St. Peter’s Church, received notification from the Archdiocese of San Francisco that the two businesses may be subject to eviction.

“I told (the Archdiocese) that these spaces are already rented…by families from our parish and that I don’t want them to leave,” he added. “It’s important to preserve these businesses … because this is a Latino neighborhood … I think that is our identity as a neighborhood.”

According to [Erick Arguello of the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association], the Archdiocese was made an offer of $100,000 by prospective investors to replace the current tenants with a high-end restaurant.

The Church is already being accused of “bullying” and “harassing” to get their way, so expect this to get worse.  We'll update you as this sad situation develops.

Comments (32)

Thank you so much for covering this, and for including the petition link. There are also paper petitions in most of the stores on lower 24th street, if you’re down this way. The neighborhood also just recently learned that the high end condos just up from Folsom on 24th, the old auto body shop, which had neighborhood support because the ground floor retail space was promised as a neighborhood incubator and low cost short term rental space for small businesses - is planning another high end restaurant instead. Which means open only at night, and more ugly giant gating during the daytime. And if that’s not enough, just off 24th on Harrison, nine units of working families (reported estimates of total people evicted vary from 28 to near 60 people; lots of children) recently received eviction notices. Supposedly gonna sell them as TIC’s to nine wealthy tech bus riders. Hoping for an article with details from El Tecolote soon.

The current rent control system doesn’t work anymore. The city needs to move to a housing voucher system and target those tenants in need: the poor, the elderly, and the disabled.

And your reason for saying that current system “doesn’t work” is… why, exactly?

Isn’t it self-evident?

Yeah, the idea that my rent can’t be increased beyond inflation is just soooo self-evidently horrible. I mean, perish the thought that my landlord can’t buy that extra jar of gold-plated caviar this month.

a needs based system definitely wouldn’t benefit techies like yourself.

Rent control makes people stay in their houses longer, for obvious reasons.

Then, when all the other houses around it go up 3x the value, the person in said rent controlled unit is now at risk of being evicted, as the temptation to match market value or to sell the unit so that someone else can reach market value becomes high.

Without rent control, there are fewer evictions, but also fewer people that can afford to move there in the first place, however the market won’t tolerate such sharp contrasts in rents because nothing is protected from market forces in a non-rent controlled situation.

I find it extremely perplexing that people assume they have the right to live in a high value area and not pay higher prices for things. Its supply and demand, simple as that.

Then, when all the other houses around it go up 3x the value, the person in said rent controlled unit is now at risk of being evicted, as the temptation to match market value or to sell the unit so that someone else can reach market value becomes high.

So rent control is bad because landlords might break the law? Okay.

Without rent control, there are fewer evictions

Interesting idea, please cite your source showing that there are fewer evictions in SF in non-rent controlled residential buildings.

I find it extremely perplexing that people assume they have the right to live in a high value area and not pay higher prices for things. Its supply and demand, simple as that.

So I take it you’re also vehemently against Prop 13, since it has exactly the same effect on condos, etc?

They’re not breaking the law. Owner move in and Ellis Act evictions ARE the law.

Where’s the evidence of this eviction? How can they ask us to sign a petition without it?

It’s very interesting to watch as the anti-gentrification folks seem to be moving towards wanting rent-control for businesses. This, to my knowledge, exists nowhere in the United States. When it comes to commercial real estate (as opposed to residences), there has been universal agreement that one business (the landlord), and another (the tenant) can be left to work things out for themselves, protecting themselves with long-term leases, but also understanding that business propositions and conditions are subject to change, and sometimes, you gotta move because you’re priced out.

Now, we’ve decided to interfere with these business relationships with residences. A man’s home is his castle, and so forth. Relatively simple to administer - everyone gets it, if your building is old enough.

I’ll be interested to see if Campos proposes commercial rent-control in response to the upset of the gentrification-fearers. I feel like we may have discussed this here before, but what would commercial rent-control look like? Will Jack Spade get it, just like St. Peter’s Bookstore? No? You have to have been here awhile? How long? When do you start counting? Will Jack Spade get it after X number of years? Never, because they aren’t what you had in mind? Popeye’s must get it, right? Even if it has more bargaining power than its local landlord? Do we just start a Business Protection Commission that votes on who can’t have their rent raised? Come up with some formula that protects the bakery on the corner, but maybe not the check-cashing store? Save Smile BBQ, but maybe not Lolinda? I can’t imagine how this would work, but expect I’ll find out soon enough.

And let’s not forget what happens when a business is sold. You cannot sell your rent-controlled apartment lease to another tenant, but can you do it for a business? Isn’t part of a business’s value the space they’re in? The location?

What happens if the business ‘pivots’ after 10 years? And changes their name? Is it really the same business anymore?

Regardless, something should be done, but this has been a brutal year for local businesses and it’s only getting worse. If this restaurant bubble ever bursts, and we do nothing to slow its growth, it’ll lay waste to the neighborhood.

Commercial rent control is not allowed under California law.

Just like Jesus would have wanted.

As much as this wave of commercial evictions frustrates me (and thank you for continuing to post about it), I wish interested parties would stop trying to brand this as “urban deportation.” The threat of deportation is a very real sword of Damocles that thousands of SF families live beneath every day – it threatens to separate parents from children and spouses/partners from each other, often by forcing them to move to distant countries that they left as children, where they know no one, and don’t even speak the language. Having to relocate one’s business because of a landlord’s greed sucks, and it is certainly important for all of us to look at this as a larger trend and consider its impact on neighborhoods, but it’s downright insensitive to compare it to “deportation,” in my opinion. (Again, I recognize that this is the word choice of interested parties and not that of UA.)

The Catholic Church has been gentrifying neighborhoods for centuries.

Spot on. Amen!

Catolico no molestar

Does the Church already have a restaurant looking at this spot? Whatever restaurant or other prospective business is seeking its own advantage at the expense of established business deserves heaps of shame, a la Jack Spade forcing out Adobe Books on 16th Street.

Sorry but people have stopped buying books at stores long ago. At least in numbers that justify renting storefronts in major business areas. Like Record stores it IS to bad but a reality.

Someone needs to start a blog from 1948 and put fake articles about the natives complaining about these 49er dicks coming into town.

Headline: “Area man afraid of sit-down restaurants”
Comment: “Goddam gentrifiers”

Headline: “Homeowner pissed about neighbor being closer than 5 acres away”
Comment: “How can we let this happen? Where’s Cowbow Campos??”

You’re a century or so off, but nice.

Hence why I’m asking for someone else to take the lead! ;)

Oh shit! That’s awesome!

Empowering Marxism starts with subsidizing awful indigenous craft stores and ends with a boot on your neck. Now about that church…


If you want to keep the stores there then shop there. I am pretty sure the majority of the commenters have never set a foot in either of those places. Vote with your feet and wallets.

Businesses need to be smart and get long leases when they can if they are to be successful There never should be rent control on commercial spaces. This is a free market and this is not about people living in these spaces. We already have some ordinances in some hoods about chain store limits . So if a lease is up you need to renegotiate. If someone offers more $$ per month after your lease has expired, well that is our legal system here.

I can understand them wanting to get rid of indigenous arts & crafts(they’ve been doing that since they came to CA)but Saint Peter’s religious bookstore? I guess money is the holy grail.