The Armory's got an only-in-San-Francisco history: It was built in 1912, after the original armory burned down in the 1906 earthquake, for the National Guard. In 1976, when the National Guard moved to Fort Funston, the Armory was left empty -- and because of the extensive retrofitting it would need to come up to current earthquake and fire codes, it's been languishing ever since.

The community's had vociferous debates about an appropriate use of the building for almost as long. In the 80s, Delancey Street (now where have you heard about them lately?) tried to buy the building to use in its rehab programs, but community members complained that Delancey Street was not a Mission-based organization. The Coppolas also tried to turn the space into an entertainment center, but that fell through as well.

In the mid-90s and in the beginning of the dot-com boom, various groups tried to buy the space to turn it into condos. Do you guys remember the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition? (and their radical wing, the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, made famous by one Ms. Laurel Wellman?) Well, they made their fame opposing any proposal to turn the Armory into market-rate condos, and scared off a succession of would-be buyers in the process. (There was also a proposal to turn the building into a server farm, but that company went dot-com broke.)

After the jump: How got in on the deal, community reaction, and -- do you know how expensive it is to heat a dungeon?

Picture of yesterday's protest from ABC 7.