It’s considered by many to be an historic site in San Francisco, but the Flower Mart in the South of Market neighborhood is facing an uncertain future.
The San Francisco Flower Growers Association (SFFGA), which ones a good portion of the property that’s been there since 1956, is holding a board meeting Thursday to possibly finalize sale to Kilroy Realty. Kilroy is the same group that’s building the new office spaces that will be home to tech giants like Salesforce and Dropbox.
“In this area, the high-tech is coming in and these low-lying buildings will soon be 15 to 20 stories in this region,” said Patrick McCann, CEO of Greenworks at the mart, who’s become a spokesperson for tenants. “It’s a beautiful flower market that the neighborhood can embrace. I think it should stay.”
McCann said it was about three weeks ago when tenants began to see people surveying the property and began to get memorandums that nothing was going to change.
“It’s very difficult because we’ve put our life into it and we’ve built our stores. To see it all come to an end is very sad,” McCann said.
There has been a push in recent days to save the Flower Mart, the second largest of its kind of space in the country. At the start of a video uploaded a week ago, Art Agnos, former San Francisco mayor who narrates, says, “What San Francisco is about to decide is what do we want this city to be? And who do we want it to be for?”
A petition online titled “Save the San Francisco Flower Market” garnered more than 9,200 signatures as of early Thursday afternoon. Tenants said they’ve heard very little about whether they’ll be allowed to stay.
“There’s history. You have the Japanese, the Italian side, going back to the fifties,” said McCann. “Farmers coming in, bringing their products every day, shipping out across the nation for this product – the economic toll would be big, from farmers to drivers to brokers.”
Kilroy Realty issued a statement through email: “Kilroy Realty Corporation remains committed to working with adjacent owners, existing tenants, and the City to preserve the Flower Mart at its current location. After we acquire the site from the San Francisco Flower Growers Association, we look forward to conducting an extensive outreach and planning process to create a modern facility to be enjoyed by growers, tenants, buyers, and visitors for many decades to come.”
The SFFGA did not return calls for comment.