Supervisor Eric Mar: Alexandria Theater update

Alexandria Theater Community Meeting Report
I am happy to report that there has been a lot of positive movement on the Alexandria Theater site.

On Oct. 12, I convened a productive community meeting to discuss the future of the Alexandria Theater site. We had a standing-room-only crowd of about 60 residents from throughout the neighborhood.

This meeting came on the heels of my work behind the scenes to ensure that the developers were communicating with the SF Planning Department. I helped bring the parties together and make sure they were moving forward. We are now on track to approve a final project proposal by February 2013.

The new project will house retail stores on the first level, with a 211-seat theater and a full service restaurant on the second level. The design features open walkways on both sides of the interior of the building so when you're on the second level, you can see down below. The design also calls for 36 residential condos, 15 percent of which will be affordable per the city's affordable housing requirements.

Original architectural elements of the Art Deco building will be preserved, including the domed roof that was part of the original theater before it was sectioned off to become a multiplex. The ornamental decoration on the facade of the theater building would also remain, including the blade sign. The original murals inside the building would be preserved and on view.

As for specific retailers, the Alexandria's architect indicated that they can't search for tenants until the project is approved, so, that information is not known at this time.

Planning is projecting that the development will come before the SF Planning Commission for approval in January or February of next year and, if approval is granted, that it will be built out in two years.

The owners also committed to keeping the property blight free and our office will coordinate with the SF Department of Public Works (DPW) and the SF Department of Public Health to ensure that graffiti is abated in a timely manner and other upkeep issues are addressed.

Finally, I am working with city departments and community advocates to develop a comprehensive strategy for keeping neighborhood theaters. Having already helped the Four Star and Balboa theaters, and with efforts to keep the Roxie and Red Vic theaters open, we have an amazing opportunity to keeps these landmarks and commercial keystones for years to come.

I look forward to continuing to work with Richmond District residents to ensure vibrant commercial corridors in our neighborhoods.

Grocery Outlet Comes to the Richmond
After months of working with the site owner and store owners, I am pleased to announce that Grocery Outlet has executed a lease agreement to open a grocery store in the Richmond. The new 12,360-square-foot market will be located at 6333 Geary Blvd.

Grocery Outlet will move into the space formerly occupied by the Cala Foods and Delano's markets that has been vacant since 2010. It is expected to open in July 2013 and will help revitalize a stretch of Geary that has suffered as a result of this large vacancy.

Grocery Outlet also offers San Franciscans the healthy and affordable food choices I have been advocating for. Though I remain committed to helping our small merchants, I also believe that having full-scale supermarkets is necessary in a neighborhood as large and diverse as the Richmond.

It will also bring dozens of jobs to our neighborhood and employ youth from our local high schools. I look forward to welcoming a full-service supermarket back to the Richmond!

ClemenTime Is Back!
ClemenTime, an evening celebration of Clement Street businesses and culture, is coming back Dec. 6! Led by the owners of Park Life, Seedstore, Toy Boat Cafe and Bold Italic, it will offer discounts on great merchandise, free beer and wine, and events highlighting books, music, original artwork and home decor.

Months of organizing between the merchants and myself have brought back what promises to be a great time for our neighborhood and shoppers from throughout San Francisco who will come to enjoy one of our great commercial corridors. Many thanks to everyone who helped pull this together.

Please go to the Bold Italic's website,, in the next few weeks to check for news and updates.

The Pole Gardens Return
Everything is coming up green in the Richmond! The mysterious and beautiful parking meter and street-sign-mounted planters that briefly appeared on Clement Street in August, but were removed by SFMTA in September, are coming back.

At the behest of residents and store owners, I have successfully negotiated an agreement with SFMTA that will allow small parking meter gardens to once again be mounted so long as they follow guidelines that are under development.

Thanks to SFMTA and DPW for working with us to create this win for the neighborhood and a heartfelt thanks to Aram Muksian, the "pole gardener," who created and selflessly donated his living art pieces in the interest of neighborhood beautification.

Making Our Streets Better
I am working closely with residents and city departments to continually upgrade the Richmond's infrastructure.

At the behest of residents, we have won approval for a stop light at Palm Avenue and Geary Boulevard as well as a stop sign at Balboa Street and 27th Avenue. Both of these areas have high accident rates, so we are happy the City is responding.

Also, work to replace pipes and repave Balboa Street have recently begun. This will include pedestrian safety upgrades and better curb ramps.

Coffee Hour with Eric
Join me for another opportunity to discuss community issues at the Toy Boat Cafe, 410 Clement St., on Monday, Nov. 5, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. I look forward to chatting with you.

Supervisor Eric Mar represents District 1.