Foundation acquires buildings to keep arts in Mid-Market

Rising real estate prices in The City are shoving artists and nonprofits out of the mid-Market Street area — but one local group is working to ensure the art presence remains.

A newly formed nonprofit funded by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation has acquired a pair of buildings in the mid-Market area, which will serve as permanent homes for gallery space and other artistic endeavors, Mayor Ed Lee announced Wednesday.

On Oct. 31, the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) purchased the home of The Luggage Store Gallery at 1007 Market St. The Luggage Store has been in that space since 1993, but was in potential jeopardy of closing as the building was “at risk of sale to private investors,” according to CAST.

CAST also acquired a former porn theater, once known as The Dollhouse, at 80 Turk St. in September. There, CounterPULSE — a combination theater, performance space, gallery and artists’ incubator currently based in South of Market — is planning to take up residence in 2015, as soon as it can raise the funds.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation — named for a late medical supplies executive — has committed $1 million a year for five years to CAST to acquire more properties in the mid-Market area in order to house the arts, according to the Mayor’s Office.

While mid-Market-based Twitter is bringing an influx of wealth to the area, “we can still take care of everybody,” Lee said. “San Francisco will still be a city for the ‘100 percent.’”

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