August 29, 2015

This Week In Noe Valley: La Bou Closing Soon, The Root Wants You To Re-Wild And Local Blight From 1945

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Noe Valley summer day via daretoeatapeach]

August 27, 2015

Moving: Video Wave to Relocate Inside Buttons Candy Bar

Finally some good news on the small retail front instead of another closure or eviction: Video Wave of Noe Valley, which has been renting videos and DVDs at 1431 Castro St for 27 (!) years has found a new home – centrally located on 24th Street. A sharp-eyed reader sent this from the Video Wave Facebook page:
"We are excited and relieved to tell you that we signed a lease today with Buttons Candy Bar at 4027 24th street, 2 blocks from our present location. That means we have a place to move to, and to stay in business in!. We will be closed from Monday August 24th until our re-opening in the new location, which is planned for Tuesday September 1st! 
Stay tuned! We've received great support, enough financial help to get us into the space. We might have to raise money to help with the move, a new store space, and to offset the time we are closed, but let's cross that bridge later. For now, relief! And we get to get away from the Landlord That Shall Not Be Named!"
Nice to see owner Gwen Sanderson and the Video Wave team find a new home, and  the candy + movie combo could be a hit.

Video Wave of Noe Valley
4027 24th Street

[Photo: Holdn2aces]

August 16, 2015

We Live Here

Sure the fires in northern California are producing the smoke that is streaming at the Bay Area to produce crazy beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Reader Julie S reminds us all that San Francisco is an amazing backdrop whatever the natural wonder.

Closing: Martin Mattox

Just a year after opening in the dogs days of summer of 2014, the curators of style at Martin Mattox are closing their little clothing and housewares boutique at 1104 Sanchez St. According to the owners, the lease was up and business in their home decorating service has been brisk, so something had to give. The store closes today at 5pm and all items are on sale.
This spot has a long history of quick turnovers. Before it was the upscale Martin Mattox boutique, it was a consignment store called The Garage, and before that it was speech therapist, a computer repair shop and an antique store. Given all the other turnover on 24th St this month it might be awhile before it rents again.

August 9, 2015

The Latest Victim of Rising Rents: Cradle of the Sun

A reader forwarded us this note from Dan Gamaldi, owner of Cradle of the Sun, the charming stained glass store on 24th Street:
I'm sorry to inform you that yesterday our landlord let us know our rent was going up to market value. So after 33 years we are looking for another location. If we don't find a place we may be forced to retire. I'm keeping my fingers crossed things work out.

Meanwhile we are trying to sell off our stock and there are massive discounts on supplies and art glass. I'll keep you posted on events. We have 60-90 days before we have to be out.
33 years! That's a great run for a retail store. Sadly, Cradle of the Sun joins several other retail stores that have been hit with rent hikes at that end of 24th Street. We hope Dan is able to find a new home – and that the colorful threshold survives as Cradle of the Sun's legacy.

Lots of changes are afoot at that end of 24th Street: The Ark is closed. Noe Valley music is closed. Isso is closed. La Boulange is being shuttered by Starbucks in September. Horner’s Corner is being reborn as Hamlet. The Noe Valley Town Square will begin construction in January. The new retail/housing building next to Shoe Biz will be on the market soon, and the little Victorian next door will be demolished for mixed retail and housing. Change is hard; let’s hope it’s done right.

Update (8/28/15): Dan sent out another email today announcing a new location in a larger space:
Great news...we have a new location. 2377 Ocean Ave. A bigger space allowing me to add 3 extra students to each class. I should be set up and open by 10/15. I'm taking bookings for those spaces so get back to me early to have a preference. Class fees will be $230 per session. Each session goes for six weeks, 2.5 hours per week. The classes are 7-9:30pm Tues, Wed, Thurs, 9:30 -noon on Sat, 10:30-1:00 Sunday morning and 1:30-4 on Sunday afternoon. I supply the use of tools in class. You'll need to purchase the consumable but will get a 10% discount on those items. I'm looking forward to having even more fun. Thanks, Dan

This Week In Noe Valley: Overhearing Outside Lands In The Home Of The Lazy And Entitled

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Noe Valley sunset via @TheStreetCircus]

August 6, 2015

Noe Valley Town Square Meeting Update: Groundbreaking Scheduled for January 2016

Several weeks ago we got an email from the Noe Valley Town Square team announcing a meeting with supervisors Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell on July 9 with an update on the progress for the development of the Town Square site at 3861 24th Street. The original plan was to start breaking ground in August.

We asked Todd David who is on the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square Board for his recap and highlights of the event - and here’s what he told us. We’ve edited his answers only slightly for clarity:

Can you give us a short overview or summary of what was discussed in the meeting? The meeting was about 2 different issues:

      1. Park Funding in general
      2. An update on the Noe Valley Town Square

For the first part of the meeting, District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell spoke regarding his working on a ballot measure for the June 2016 election that would designate funding for operations for Rec and Park. He spoke in general about how the City will become more dense over time and acquiring and maintaining healthy parks will be key to San Francisco being a livable City over the next 100 years.

I then spoke about the amount of fundraising that has been accomplished to date: Supervisor Scott Wiener authored legislation to purchase the land for $3.8 million from the Open Space Acquisition Fund. Also included from that fund is an additional $343,000 for remediation. We received $567,000 from the State of CA in an Urban Greening grant. We also received $744,000 from the Federal Government from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Residents For Noe Valley Town Square is contributing $450,000 in private donations to the project and finally Supervisor Wiener secured an additional $670,000 in funds during the City's budget add-back process.

I then spoke about the process of how we got to our current "working" design. I talked about the neighborhood meetings and the input from neighbors to arrive on an original 4 designs. And then the process of voting from the four designs to the current "working" design. I also explained that the design will be driven a bit by the grant funding. For instance, a large tree is shown in our working design. However, the Land and Water Conservation Grant will only pay for smaller trees, so we will have to change that in the design. (There is actually a good reason to use smaller trees. It turns out that they have a better chance of surviving when planted in a new location and the sequester more carbon monoxide from the air than larger trees!)

Chris Guillard, the Landscape Architect from CMG: Landscape Architects took additional questions regarding design.

Were there any action items that came out of the meeting? I would say the main action item that came out of the meeting is that Residents For Noe Valley Town Square needs to have a meeting with the Farmers Market and the CBD [Community Benefit District] to see if we can come to an agreement where the CBD does additional cleaning/maintenance above Rec and Parks cleaning. The thought has been that the Farmers Market used to pay rent for the space. The current permit costs are significantly lower than the previous rent. Therefore, the difference in savings could potentially pay for additional cleaning from the CBD.

Are there any surprises or challenges ? The biggest challenge/surprise that has come up is the bathroom. Rec and Park estimates that we need an additional $600,000 to $800,000 to build a bathroom. We are working with Rec and Park to see if a less expensive solution is possible.

Where will the Saturday Farmer's Market be held during the construction? This question needs to be directed to the Farmers Market Board. As far as I know, no decision has been made yet.

Any updates about timing and next steps for progress on the construction? Groundbreaking is scheduled for January 2016 and Ribbon cutting is scheduled for October 2016.

Anything else that the community should know about the project? Please send in your pledge if you have not done so already!

[Photo: Google Maps]

August 1, 2015

This Week In Noe Valley: High Hopes for Hamlet, Patxi's Parklet Commentary & Dining Out With Kids In The Hood

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Gorgeous day, no left turn via muspillius]

The Secret History of SF’s Stonehenge Houses

We’ve always wondered what the owners of beautiful Victorian and Edwardian buildings were thinking when they decided to swap the beautiful wood façades for a Stonehenge-like faux stone – and now we know. A recent tweet via Eric Fisher from the 1950 edition of San Francisco Progress shows an ad touting the benefits of Perma-Stone: "Add Beauty, Permanence, and Strength to your Home at Low Cost! Eliminate Painting Forever!"

Perma-Stone - and several other variations of the artificial molded stone such as FormStone, FieldStone, Dixie Stone, and yes, Stone of Ages were popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s and applied like vinyl siding to existing homes. Perma-Stone was invented in Columbus, Ohio and most popular in places like Baltimore and the East Coast, but found a foothold in San Francisco too, mostly in the Avenues. According to this article in SF Gate from 2010, film director John Waters dubbed Perma-Stone "the polyester of brick."

The ad from the SF Progress lists houses that had already been “Perma-Stoned” and many of them still stand, including these two in Noe Valley:

3976 26th Street – Apparently the current owners don’t buy the bit about never painting again and decided to turn the three-story building into the color of a Tootsie Roll.

4068 Army Street (now Cesar Chavez) - The Perma-Stone endures in what looks like it's the original color on this tiny Noe Valley fortress.

So the next time you see a faux stone façade around the neighborhood, now you know – the home was Perma-Stoned, probably 50-70 years ago.