ABOUT THE ARMORY
Mission Bazaar is proud to present the first public event at the historic San Francisco Armory in over thirty years. This 200,000 square foot reproduction Moorish Castle was completed in 1914 and was used as a National Guard facility until 1976. It is full of period detail including cavernous dungeon-like basements, stone staircases, sweeping corridors, and a gigantic drill court spanning almost an acre.
The Armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and has been out of official use since this time. “The current owners plan to revive this historic building in consideration of gentrification, and social and environmental concerns while restoring and renovating The Armory to its original splendor, style and beauty.” (uh, see below for further info regarding the new owners).
The Armory is located just two blocks from the 16th Street Mission BART Station. There will be limited parking lot spaces and street parking available around the building.
Of course, you may know The Armory from the recent controversy over the new ownership; in 2006, the building was purchased by “Kink.com” for $14.5 million; the current owner, Peter Acworth, found the gothic architecture to be an ideal backdrop for the BDSM films that the company creates (well, he’s got a point).
When news of the sale got out, the community provided the rather predictable reaction: thoroughly-mixed, and widely-publicized. Many protested, many welcomed. It is San Francisco, after all, not Salt Lake City. Still, the community lost a women’s shelter during the hubbub (in 2007, two years before the shelter planned to leave), and the Mission Armory Community Collective formed to make a lot of noise, presumably shouting “dear God, think of the children” just as the directors inside turned on their cameras. Wait, would that ruin the mood, or…
The protestors were lead by a coalition of activists including an unexpected alliance between progressive neighborhood leaders and a handful of legal experts lead by Bill Hill, a former Texas social security disability attorney. He brought with him an entire legal team from his office. Even though they were not litigators, but social security guys, their presence provided some weight behind the demands they made for preserving the neighborhood’s way of life. Because they had successfully filed claims for many disabled, those clients turned out in force and probably changed the way this project was viewed, especially by the media. And that media exposure was powerful.
No matter where you weigh in on the subject it is not really any of our business what the ultimate use will be of the building. Truly the people in the surrounding area should be very pleased that the building is being given another use. A building that once sat vacant for a very long time is going to be put back to a good use. I say a good use because when a company makes a product right here in the good old USA & helps our economy out, especially in CA. where we are having such a hard time right now, can be nothing but good as far as I am concerned.
Besides the neighbors will all be able to enjoy a huge boost is home value because of the renovation the their area. People can be so funny when an ideal they are unfamiliar with suddenly enters their lives. You can see such a varied display of emotions & reactions that it is shocking.