The stretch of Market Street between 5th Street and Van Ness Avenue is a vital segment of the urban core of San Francisco, and is key to its future as a vibrant, diverse and economically thriving city. For over a century, the Central Market, or Mid-Market, district has served as a regional center for arts, entertainment and retail. During the past several decades, the district has struggled with high vacancy rates, a lack of private investment, physical blight and a myriad of social challenges.
The planning effort for the Central Market Economic Strategy grew out of the realization that there were dozens of organizations and countless individuals working to improve and strengthen Central Market. However, there was no unifying framework to guide this work, and no clear method to ensure coordination and prevent duplication of efforts. In order to create a cohesive effort and ensure that all of the ongoing efforts work towards a common goal and capitalize on opportunities, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development launched a community-oriented planning process to enable neighborhood residents and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to prioritize activities, programs, and policies that will strengthen and transform the district.
The Economic Strategy is a way for the city to formally capitalize on recent successes in the neighborhood, build on existing community assets, and harness excitement and energy about the district to create jobs, and increase the quality of life for all residents. Several recent trends, such as the presence of the creative technology industry — including Twitter’s relocation to the district — as well as the growth of cultural and performing arts organizations, facilities and institution — like Burning Man, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and American Conservatory Theater — serve as a foundation for continued growth, investment and excitement in the district.
Building on existing activity and interest, Central Market is envisioned to grow and thrive as the heart of innovation throughout the city and the region. The Central Market Economic Strategy provides a clear road map for the city and partners that are committed to improving the district.