Things aren't looking good for Chipotle, which wants to open its tenth S.F. location in the former Home restaurant space at Church and Market. Yesterday afternoon the Planning Department issued its weekly staff report with recommendations for items to be decided on at next week's Planning Commission meeting, and they're recommending the Chipotle plan be rejected.
The reasoning has to do with Chipotle being a formula retail use, and the proposed restaurant would "increase the formula retail commercial frontage to 1154.7 linear feet for a 36 percent concentration of formula retail uses." Also:
The project would be detrimental to the neighborhood by occupying a prominent corner lot with a formula retail use that uses standardized color schemes, decor and signage that will detract from the distinctive character of the Upper Market Neighborhood which includes primarily local, independent retail businesses.
The recommendation, though not a final decision, represents a victory for nearby merchants (like the three nearby Mexican restaurants) who weren't happy about the potential competition from the chain, as well as the more than 700 residents who signed this petition to block the project. Not to mention the person who wrote this nice graffiti on the Planning meeting notice.
This doesn't necessarily bode well for the prominent corner space being filled anytime soon, though. The financial obligations associated with the liquor license in the space which had never legally been extended to Home's enclosed patio may prevent a small local operator from being able to take the place. But time will tell.
The Bay Area Reporter makes a gay issue out of the scuffle, pointing out the fact that Chipotle founder Steve Ells is, himself, gay, and so is S.F. planning director John Rahaim.
The final word on the project will come at the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, June 20.
Previously: New CVS-Anchored Market-Noe Center Revealed