A year or two back, Burning Man moved their offices into a new building in Market St. An area “best known for drug deals, graffiti and vagrants“, it’s close to City Hall, in the heart of San Francisco. Burning Man’s move was announced proudly in 2011 at the United Nations Plaza (the UN was created in SF) by Mayor Ed Lee, and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu – who (like a number of SF politicians) has hardcore Burners on his personal staff and has made the trek to Black Rock City personally. They saw Burning Man’s presence as something that could transform the Tenderloin and Mid-Market area, through public art and “civic responsibility”.
Now that building has been sold, for a pretty reasonable price of $200/sq ft in San Francisco’s booming real estate market – the fastest growing market for Class A office real estate in the US in 2012. According to the San Francisco Business Times:
The long-neglected office building at Sixth and Market that houses Burning Man has sold for nearly $17 million, another example of institutional capital pouring into the Mid-Market neighborhood.
SF Investment LLC, a joint venture between Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Advisors and San Francisco-based Long Market Property Partners, has closed on the acquisition of 995 Market St. The price was just under $200 a square foot.
“We are excited to be purchasing this asset, especially in the midst of all the positive developments taking place in Mid-Market,” said Justin Shapiro, a partner with Long Market Property Partners.
Who are these hedge funds? Did the Burning Man founders cash out of Black Rock City, LLC, and plough the money into real estate developments? We’ll probably never know, as these are private companies.
As might be expected, in 2 years there is no word yet on whether Burning Man has been effective in spreading the Playa gospel to transform inner city San Francisco. Did they create new jobs, foot traffic, and services? I used to live very close to there until quite recently, and trust me, it’s still a shithole. If you ask me, Twitter is more likely to reform the neighborhood than Burning Man. But I still hold out hope that when BMOrg says they will do something, and it will be wonderful, that maybe they will actually do it and it will actually be wonderful. Others, perhaps with an eye on history, might be more cynical…