Renovation sparks interest for other Market projects

The renovation of the Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco has sparked an interest in redeveloping a number of properties across Fifth Street, further west along the Market corridor, said Michael Cohen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The block of Market between Fifth and Sixth is very mixed, running from solid retailers like Copeland’s Sports on the east end of the block to a number of vacancies, as well as a Social Security Administration office and several other public-assistance programs.

A few retailers have remained further down the block, with urban clothing store First Step flourishing in a new, larger retail site while discount camera store Ultra Image is preparing to close with a liquidation sale.

“There’s no place for poor people,” said Ultra Image salesman Elwin Funes, who plans to move to either Texas or Las Vegas. He has nothing against the center and grants that the block could be cleaner, but said he isn’t sure how the center will benefit anyone of low income.

At First Step, manager Will Kim welcomes the opening.

“You’ll see maybe a higher number of shoppers,” with more tourists and more wealth, he said.

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