Tenderloin CBD Opens First Storefront Location
| By Ted Andersen |
After more than a decade of hopping offices hidden from the public, the Tenderloin Community Benefit District finally has a storefront of its own in the neighborhood.
A crowd of about 50 people gathered on the sidewalk at 512 Ellis St. on Wednesday to watch District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim and Tenderloin Police Station Captain Teresa Ewins cut the ribbon and speak enthusiastically about the CBD’s first ground-level location.
Ewins said the new location is ideal as it sits in an area that is near the border of three different city police stations. She said areas near police station borders have a tendency to be less policed.
“This is the part of the district that needs it most,” Ewins said. “When you have storefronts that are occupied you take space from drug dealers who would otherwise be occupying that space.”
Kim, who brought a pair of oversized scissors to the event from City Hall to cut the ribbon, was optimistic the new space would help grow the organizations and its programs. “I think having a ground floor and a transparent window space is going to connect them more strongly with the community and more people are going to walk in and out,” she said.
For Kim, the grand opening was personal as she worked on the organization’s Safe Passages program 10 years ago before becoming supervisor. “It’s community blood. Community has decided to take safety into its own hands. It’s just amazing to see that.”
The TLCBD was established in 2005 and represents more than 600 properties. It focuses on public safety programs, beautifying the area and hosting neighborhood community-building and promotional events.
Throughout the past 12 years, the organization has found itself in a variety of neighborhood locations—like a basement unit and next to a mental health clinic—and never previously had its own storefront at street level. Its last office was on the upper floors of WeWork at 25 Taylor St., which is not accessible to the public.
“This has more of a community feel to it,” said Geoffrey Grier, a founding board member of the TLCBD. “It’s the sidewalk, it’s the people.”
CBDs are public-private partnerships with a variety of funding streams, the main one being public money in the form of a property assessment fee. Executive Director Steve Gibson said the TLCBD has about $1.1 million from property assessments and about $400,000 from grants.