You know how you walk past that empty storefront across from Whole Foods and wonder what the hell? Or maybe you remember that eleven years ago Real Foods was abruptly shut down and there have been years of drama since. Maybe your remembrance is that Big Corporate America is against unions. Or maybe you don't care what happened. Regardless, many of you have had opinions over the years about what should happen to this prime Noe Valley space.
Andrew Ross writes (albeit in a bit flowery way) on SFGate that plans are finally moving forward to develop the Real Foods location. He references a visit Scott Wiener and others made to Utah in October of 2013 to meet with the current owners - Nutraceutical. And he tells of a promise made ("a solid oath") to rebuild on the site. None of that is news.
What is news: Nutraceutical is ready to present plans to the public - there will be a meeting in January. This type of meeting is standard procedure for developers looking to submit high-profile plans to the Building Department so don't expect final drawings and a committed tenant. Instead expect concept drawings and be prepared to give feedback on the project. Want to make sure it doesn't house a bank, nail salon or title company? Let them know how you feel.
We asked a few local people in the know for some more information. Todd David of Friends of Noe Valley told us the architect is SF-based Jackson Liles Architecture. Brian Liles is the project lead. Principal Julie Jackson is active in the public school system and has children at James Lick.
Carol Yenne, past president of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, gave us a bit more information:
I went on the trip in Oct 2013 with Scott to meet with the owners of the property. The plans to develop the property had stalled during the downturn in the economy in 2008 but we discovered when we arrived that the company was already starting to work on plans again. San Francisco is trying to encourage housing and we all are on the same page about wanting to get the property developed into active retail and housing so that it does not continue to be a vacant space. The company asked for ideas for the retail space and we encouraged them to consider active retail or a restaurant which they seemed to take to heart. The space will likely be two businesses and the housing will be a minimum of four units.Todd and Carol both let us know that neither FoNV nor the NVMPA have an official or active role in directing how this space is used.
So this is your chance to weigh in - mark your calendars for the community meeting and bring your opinions.
What: Community Meeting to present plans for Real Foods building
Where: St Philips Church, 725 Diamond St
When: January 22, 2015, 7:00PM
Bonus: Todd told us there's a rumor of childcare provided.
[Andrew Ross: Noe Valley’s Real Food to be reborn]
[NVSF: Real Foods - I Wish This Was...]