The Mission-based literary nonprofit 826 Valencia that last year secured a grant to open a second site in the Tenderloin has signed a lease for the former site of Big Boy Market at Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street, a historically crime-heavy intersection.
Named after its physical address, 826 Valencia signed a below-market-rate, 15-year lease last week that includes more than a year of free rent at 172 Golden Gate Ave., said Santino DeRose, a principal at DeRose & Appelbaum, the commercial real estate firm representing landlord Paul Boschetti — who happens to be the man accused of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of an 89-year-old pedestrian Dec. 31, 2013.
“He wants to bring a better presence to the corner, he wanted to improve the neighborhood and he wanted to see good things happen,” DeRose said of Boschetti, adding that “it was a corner that had a history of loitering and drug dealers, and that’s all going to be gone.”
The space was off the rental market when CM Commercial Real Estate, a firm representing 826 Valencia, called DeRose looking for a site.
“There weren’t a lot of potentials for 826 Valencia because they need a large footprint, and the Tenderloin unfortunately does not have a lot of large retail spaces,” DeRose said.
But the former Big Boy Market site was a good fit, DeRose said, because a couple walls can be torn down to combine an adjacent space left vacant last month by a construction company, making the total area 5,200 square feet.
The nonprofit, which offers writing instruction to youths and teachers, received a three-year, $500,000 grant from an anonymous foundation last summer that allowed it to pursue a location in the Tenderloin.
Executive Director Bita Nazarian previously told The San Francisco Examiner the new location will carry the original site’s “brand of whimsy and fun and creativity.”
The lease agreement announcement is planned at a 2 p.m. event today with Mayor Ed Lee.