APPROACH AND PHILOSOPHY
For Joy Ou and her team at Group i, community engagement is an ongoing, lifelong commitment demonstrated by deep connections with those whom share their dedication to improving urban life, support for arts and artists in the local community, and working together to improve the livability and economic vitality of the neighborhood.
This commitment has been demonstrated in myriad ways – from long-term board memberships to sustained financial support to personal relationships based on shared values. Ever since acquiring the Warfield office building at the edge of the Tenderloin a number of years ago, Joy has been working closely with leaders of neighborhood organizations that support youth and families in the Tenderloin. These include the Tenderloin Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC), as well as United Playaz located in nearby SOMA. As an ally for affordable housing, she has worked closely with the leadership at neighborhood housing nonprofits such as the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). Additionally, Joy is a supporter of San Francisco’s Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), the St. Francis Foundation, and the Tenderloin Economic Development Project (TEDP).
Design and the arts have been a love of Joy’s since her days as an architecture student. She is a long-time advocate for local artists through her support of organizations such as CounterPulse, EXIT Theater, Cutting Ball Theater, Women’s Audio Mission, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST). She sits on the board of directors of the San Francisco Art Institute and the Wildflowers Institute, and is a former Trustee for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Joy has served in an advisory capacity for the Luggage Store Gallery (including providing them with temporary exhibit space) and the Global Heritage Fund, and as an early backer of the Tenderloin Museum hopes to further support its mission through partnerships with the proposed hotel.
Group i has also made contributions to many organizations throughout the community, including:
- 826 Valencia
- All Stars Project
- Bay Area Woman's and Children's Center
- Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco
- Central Market CBD
- The Cutting Ball Theater
- Door Dog Music Productions
- GLBT Historical Society
- Hospitality House
- Market Street Association
- San Francisco Pride (Compton Café 50th Fund Sponsorship)
- SF Fringe Festival
- Sponsored Central Market Workshop
- TEDP (Tenderloin Economic Development Project)
- Uptown Tenderloin
- Urban Solutions
In addition to these ongoing efforts and relationships, the development at 950-974 Market will offer its own set of community benefits that are specific to the project and its neighbors. Most visible will be the non-profit hub at the corner of Turk and Taylor, which will be inhabited – free of charge – by Magic Lab. This is simply one of the many long-term community benefits that the project will offer, which are outlined below.
NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY PARTNER
Group i has selected the San Francisco nonprofit Magic Theatre, which cultivates bold new plays and playwrights and raises the next generation of local artists and theater leaders, to develop a new community-focused concept called Magic Lab. In the new 2,000 square foot space at the corner of Turk and Taylor, the theater will host rehearsals, tuition-free youth and community-oriented educational programs, and theater productions – bringing renewed energy and activity to the community during daylight and evening hours.
Additionally, Group i will work with Tenderloin Economic Development Project (TEDP) – a non-profit organization that provides job creation and economic development services for small businesses in the neighborhood – to identify a local café partner who will provide food and beverages services to the community as well as patrons during performances. TEDP will seek locally-owned vendors and other local partners to sell products at prices affordable to the community in an on-site café inside Magic Lab.
LOCAL HIRING, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The planned development will bring numerous economic benefits to the Tenderloin community. New jobs will come in the form of local hiring for non-professional roles by Magic Lab as well as new construction, retail, restaurant, and hotel union jobs.
Because we also believe in a community benefit package that will serve the Tenderloin community at large, Group i has been working closely with Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and Vietnamese Youth Development Center to develop a Tenderloin-specific workforce development and job training program, providing a total of $300,000 to Tenderloin-based organizations.
To ensure employees have a fair chance to unionize, Group i has signed an agreement with Unite HERE Local 2 regarding card check neutrality for future qualified hotel employees.
Group i has also committed to use a Union Signatory General Contractor for the project's construction, and construction activities will create more than a thousand construction jobs with living wages, health and retirement benefits. In addition, Group i’s project will be a gateway for local workers to enter union apprenticeship and training programs for a sustainable career in the construction industry.
In conjunction with Group i’s efforts with neighborhood organizations, Magic Lab will recruit local community members for paid positions such as facility manager, teaching artists, teaching assistants, non-union acting roles, and front of house staff. Once the theater has moved into its new space, it has pledged to hire at least one third of new non-professional staff directly from the Tenderloin community.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS
The mixed-use development will bring multiple improvements to the public realm on both Turk and Market Streets. On the Turk Street side, the sidewalks will be extended to provide space for seating, vegetation, and a plaza that will be programmed with performances, art programs, and exhibits. Crosswalk bulb outs at intersections will be added to increase pedestrian safety, and ample street lighting, video surveillance, and 24-hour valet services will greatly improve public safety in the area. The Market Street side of the project will feature an outdoor food and beverage space that will activate the sidewalk with dining, entertainment, and events. Group i will also engage the Coalition on Homelessness in designing the Turk Street open space to ensure it meets the needs of the community.
Group i has committed to working with local groups to ensure that training in de-escalation, cultural and mental health sensitivity, and conflict resolution is provided for retail, hotel and housing personnel.
Once construction has been completed, the project will generate approximately $15M in standard City fees, over $6M per year in property taxes, and over $4M in annual hotel tax to the City’s General Fund. These fees will support transit development, the maintenance of open spaces, job creation, health programs, and schools and art programs throughout San Francisco.
SUPPORT OF LOCAL ARTISTS
The hotel will support local artists and arts organizations in a variety of ways, including potentially providing spaces on property for exhibitions and events, as well as supporting their galleries via digital and social channels. Additionally, the project will contribute approximately 50% of the 1% Public Art Fee for local community art programming that will support arts education, promote local artists, and activate the public realm.
Although the construction site is 80 feet away from the nearest residents who live across the street, Group i has been working closely with TNDC to develop a construction mitigation plan to offset any impacts construction may have on nearby residents. These provisions include limiting “Disruptive Activities” to the hours between 9:00am and 8:00pm, unless a special permit has been applied and granted by the Director of Public Works or the Director of Building Inspection; providing relocation assistance for residents who have demonstrated medical need to move elsewhere; as well as funds to provide air purifiers for up to 180 tenants.
LGBTQ INTERPRETIVE DISPLAY
Although the proposed project would not have a direct impact on historic resources, the project will develop an interpretive program to commemorate the former LGBTQ bars which used to be located on the project site and their association with the LGBTQ history of the Tenderloin and City.
Group i is working with Shayne Watson, an architectural historian specialized in LGBTQ heritage preservation and the co-author of the LGBTQ Historic Context Statement adopted by the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission in November 2015, to develop an outreach program to involve LGBTQ and Tenderloin communities to create a broader, more authentic interpretive approach to celebrate the LGBTQ history in the neighborhood.