Mirkarimi finally supports Harding project
Perhaps mindful that he's the one most responsible for allowing the Harding Theater to remain a derelict eyesore for more than three years, Supervisor Mirkarimi is now willing to allow the developer to do something with his property. Four years ago the developer wanted to build 18 condos and some retail space on the property. Mirkarimi took the side of the preservationists---it was a theater! the Grateful Dead once performed there!---even though they had no money and no serious plans about what to do with the space once they had foiled the developer. Way back in March, 2005, Mirkarimi addressed a HANC meeting:
Ross warned HANC members Thursday night that he doesn't want to end up with nothing but a derelict Harding Theater "if we don't get our way" on the issue. He pointed out that the Harding theater "looks terrible" from the street. In short, the neighborhood will have to live with condos on the site if he can't get the votes.
Unfortunately, he got the votes to save the Harding, both the developer and the neighborhood got the shaft, and the property has been a vacant eyesore ever since. Mirkarimi is finally singing a different tune:
Mirkarimi, who opposed the previous plan, said he supports the current project and wants to resolve the issue soon. He said he hopes the Harding can once again be a venue for film or live theater. "The city has done due diligence and given the historic issues serious attention," Mirkarimi said. "I don't believe we can allow this building to remain derelict."
The project has been scaled down from 18 to 8 housing units, with some retail space, and, apparently, preserving part of the theater.
Allowing the development of the Harding property will be good for the neighborhood. For this neighborhood the big question now is about the city's ill-conceived plans to "improve" Divisadero Street. It would be another plus for the neighborhood if Mirkarimi would withdraw his support for that misguided project, which is threatening the whole area with bogus, tacky, meddlesome "improvements."