Peter Acworth: SF’s Prop I Will Kill Plans for an Armory Event Center

Sep 29, 2015
Adult Business News
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Peter Acworth: SF's Prop I Will Kill Plans for an Armory Event Center

When I first toured the abandoned Armory nearly a decade ago, I was captivated by its history and its grandeur. But it was the centerpiece of the building, the old Armory Drill Court — a space once known as the Madison Square Garden of the West — that truly captured my imagination. Last summer, our massive restoration of this historic space was finally completed, and with great pride I announced that it would finally open to the public.

Unfortunately, the Armory Drill Court is currently seen by the City as a PDR use (“Production, Distribution, and Repair”). We have an application pending with the city to change this use to “Entertainment,” which would allow us to make it a full time public event space. While we wait for this application to be approved, we are restricted to hosting only one event per calendar month.

Despite this temporary and very restrictive permit, we have nevertheless hosted several events over the past few years, including the anarchist book fair, a Gay Pride celebration, two New Year’s Eve parties, Rollerderby tournaments, a benefit for Hack Cancer, and a fundraiser for AIDS Emergency Fund. We even worked with the Mayor’s Office on an event to provide dental care to the homeless.

However, the restriction to one event per month is not sustainable. We have had to turn down any event that spans more than twenty-four hours, such as a sporting tournament, or a weekend flea market. No business can function in this manner. It is only because the remainder of the building has other uses that the plan to resurrect the Drill Court as a public venue still has legs.

Astonishingly, Prop I will block any change of use away from PDR, including the Armory Drill Court. Thus, for eighteen months and up to thirty, the plans to open the Drill Court to the public will be frozen.

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