Supervisor Cohen has formally introduced legislation which could effectively block the conversion of the San Francisco Design Center at 2 Henry Adams Street from showrooms into tech space for at least 18 months.
The Design Center is currently zoned for Production, Distribution & Repair (PDR), a zoning which disallows general office use. And a key objective of San Francisco’s recently adopted Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Area Plan is to specifically preserve the supply of PDR space within the district and city.
But as we first reported last year, there is a landmark loophole which the owners of the building have been planning to exploit.
In an attempt to ensure the economic viability of historically significant buildings which might not otherwise have a productive use, so to speak, the aforementioned Area Plan also provides an exception for the conversion of landmarked buildings to office use. And as such, the owners of 2 Henry Adams have been seeking a Landmark Designation for the building which was built in 1915 for the Dunham, Carrigan & Hayden Company, a wholesale steel and hardware importer/distributor.
While San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved the landmark designation for the Design Center building, the designation has not yet been approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. The Board’s vote, however, seemed a formality.
With Pinterest having since been revealed as the tenant to takeover much of the building once the designation is complete, a move which would displace many of the existing Design Center tenants, Supervisor Cohen has just introduced legislation which could block the building’s conversion, landmark or not, for 18-months by imposing interim zoning controls and requiring a reassessment of the Area Plan’s policies and priorities.