As we learned back in March, Jack Spade has signed a lease for the former Adobe Bookstore space on 16th Street. Since early May, neighborhood merchants have been battling to keep the chain retailer out of the neighborhood, and signs have gone up in nearby storefronts saying "Support Local Business, Oppose Jack Spade."
The merchants argue that Jack Spade, which is an extension of the Kate Spade brand and owned by Liz Claiborne, already violated the city's ban on formula retail in the area by opening too many locations. As the merchants said in a statement in May, the company only had 7 locations when they applied for a LOD (Letter of Determination) from the Planning Department, and "Planning confirmed that they were not formula retail at the time but cautioned that if they opened up 3 more stores their status would change." As of now, they have 10 U.S. locations, with three more overseas, and the 16th Street store would become their 14th location. Technically, though, under the rules governing formula retail, the chain is not verboten so long as they have fewer than 11 U.S. locations, so the outcry may be moot.
Still waging the campaign in the press, however, neighbor and merchant Michael Katz tells ABC 7, "Rents are high enough around here. If we have big chains coming in here, basically ... the special flavor, the special identity of San Francisco in one more neighborhood will be compromised."
This battle echoes a recent failed attempt by Hayes Valley merchants to block an incoming Gant store, with that brand falling under the 11-store threshold as well.
Jack Spade is set to take possession of the space on June 15, and their opening date remains unannounced.