Retail Strategy

Castro & Upper Market Retail

This is truly an exciting time for the Upper Market / Castro area.  Several major changes are underway, including new residential developments, streetscape and transit improvements, and also a host of new retailers up and down the corridor. The new developments, combined with a broader retail transition underway, also present many opportunities, and there are a number of available spaces for rent with a diverse range of possible uses and competitive pricing. The neighborhood is surrounded by some of San Francisco’s wealthiest and most densely-populated census tracts, and the city’s main street – Market Street – is a natural destination for retail.

The Castro / Upper Market Retail Strategy, released in 2015, is now in its ‘delivery’ phase – and discussions are underway between the neighborhood, the City of San Francisco, brokers, area merchants, property owners and a number of potential retailers – to maximize retail opportunities and cement the neighborhood’s reputation as a premier retail, dining, entertainment, as well as residential destination.

Figure 1 Castro / Upper Market on a Busy Evening

Figure 1 Castro / Upper Market on a Busy Evening

I. Neighborhood and City Support for Retail - and Small Businesses

As part of the Castro / Upper Market Retail Strategy, there is strong support from the surrounding neighborhoods and from the City of San Francisco – including Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and State Senator Scott Weiner – to promote retail along the corridor.

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II. Neighborhood Strengths

Castro / Upper Market has a tremendous amount of potential, possessing all of the things that make for a vibrant destination: excellent central location; several major public transit lines and stations; a strong, cohesive community with a unique and historically-important identity, and a surrounding patchwork of dense, affluent residential areas. There is high pedestrian traffic, and activity in the neighborhood during the day and well into the night from local residents as well as tourists who come to celebrate the area’s culture, attractions, and LGBTQ heritage.

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III. Significant new and Upcoming Strategies / Initiatives to Improve the Area  

Several major developments, and improvements, are either underway or planned in the area for 2017-2019. These will improve the pedestrian experience in the area, beautify and enhance the streetscape and urban design, and also improve transit access to / from the neighborhood.

These include:

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Figure 2: The Duboce, Opening in 2017 (Retail and Residential) Photo Courtesy of Greystar

IV. Major New Real Estate Developments Recently Opened or in the Pipeline

One of the largest developments that just opened is The Duboce, a major project by Greystar, located at Market and Sanchez Streets. The Duboce (below) is a mixed use development that includes three new retail spaces along Market Street: a corner restaurant space of 2,700 square feet and two smaller spaces of 1,400 and 1,100 square feet, respectively. This project includes 87 rental units, introducing over 100 new residents to the area.

Figure 3: Landscape and Streetscape Improvements around Sanchez and Market Intersection (Courtesy of Greystar)

A few blocks down Sanchez Street, the highly popular bakery Le Marais is opening its first Castro location in 2017, which will join the other branches on Chestnut Street and Ghiradelli Square.

Verve Coffee Roasters opened its first San Francisco location in the flagship building at Church and Market Streets, adding a welcome jolt of activity in a long-time vacant space.

The Myriad Food Hall (pictured below, at 2175 Market Street) opened in 2016, is an innovative and exciting shared space with several start-up food stalls, ranging from baked goods to crepes and poké.

CVS (at Noe and Market) is transitioning – and possible tenants (heard through the broker grapevine) include a possible high-end gym’s first location, and the flagship space currently occupied by Pottery Barn (Castro & Market) will also be transitioning this year.  Watch these two spaces!

The Myriad Food Hall

Castro & Upper Market Retail Strategy report 2015

The Castro & Upper Market Retail Strategy is a collaborative effort to guide the retail district’s evolution and attract new complementary businesses. As new development continues to occur and retail spaces in existing and new buildings have become available, the community has come together to realize a shared vision to cultivate the district’s long-term success.

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