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San Francisco's Board of Appeals voted 3-2 on Wednesday in favor of allowing Jack Spade, an upscale men's clothing retailer, to move into the former Adobe Books space on 16th Street in the Mission. An aggressive neighborhood campaign to keep the store out failed to convince the board that the mini chain constitutes "formula retail," which is not allowed in that part of the Mission.
Formula retailers are defined as brands that have 11 or more stores across the country with uniform interiors and storefronts. This will be Jack Spade's 11th store, with 14 worldwide. But it's owned by Liz Claiborne, which protestors said made the menswear company part of a big conglomerate. It may do that, but it doesn't make the company a formula retailer, according to the board that voted on Wednesday.
Mission Local reported from the meeting that Jack Spade New York "co-leader" Melissa Xides was on hand to argue that the store will be neighborhood focused:
We are a neighborhood retailer through and through, there is nothing formulaic about our stores. We fell in love with the uniqueness of 16th Street?We fell in love with the food scene and gentrification that's happening there.
Interestingly, Mission Local also found that neighborhood merchants are split on the issue. Commenters in that post complain that the many vacant storefronts on 16th Street are attracting homeless encampments and violence, and that police are doing nothing about it. It's likely that those storefronts will stay vacant until upscale restaurants or retailers agree to pay rent as high as Jack Spade's, which is reportedly $12,000 per month. Quite a catch 22, it seems.
· Jack Spade Cleared for 16th Street [SFist]
· A Split Vote Upholds Jack Spade's Building Permit [Mission Local]
· Mission Neighbors Tell Jack Spade to 'Jack Off' [Racked SF]