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Nonprofit Food Incubator La Cocina Envisions Major Tenderloin Food Hall

As an interim use of the vacant post office space at 101 Hyde

La Cocina

Nonprofit food incubator La Cocina, which has helped women of color formalize or launch food businesses like Reem’s California, El Buen Comer, Nyum Bai, and Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas through its Mission District commercial kitchen, hopes to expand with a new 7,000 square foot food hall to be located in the Tenderloin. The project, which would be called La Cocina Municipal Market, is in its early stages, and would be undertaken as an interim use activation of the former post office site at 101 Hyde (at Golden Gate), a stopgap use of the vacant city-owned property which is set to become affordable housing.

City planning has approved the interim use, which could last anywhere between 5 and 10 years, but a La Cocina representative says the nonprofit has yet to sign a lease. Currently, La Cocina seeks to fill the role of project manager for the Municipal Market and fundraise to make it a reality.

The market, which would focus on feeding the Tenderloin community and supporting food entrepreneurs, would be a collaboration with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which provides legal assistance to low income tenants and secures SRO units through a program of operating master leases. In 2016, the city brokered a deal to receive the 101 Hyde site from the Shorenstein family. As a term of the deal, the Shorenstein family agreed to pay $1 million for an interim use of the site, with something similar to the mid-Market food court The Hall in mind, while the city raised funds to construct a 12-story building with 87 units of affordable housing.

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At the time of the deal, THC executive director Randy Shaw told the Chronicle the vacant office space was “the No. 1 blight in the Tenderloin.” Eater SF has reached out to Shaw regarding the Municipal Market project use and awaits comment.

According to a hiring notice from La Cocina for the manager position, “we expect to sign a lease with the City in May, and begin construction in June, 2018. The construction timeline is 14 [to] 18 weeks, depending on external factors.” La Cocina currently operates a 4,400 square foot full-service shared use commercial kitchen and incubator space at 2948 Folsom Street. The new 7,000 square foot project would “focus on equitable economic opportunity for entrepreneurs, affordable and healthy eating options for residents and workers of the Tenderloin and a vibrant community third-space that welcomes everyone to the table at 101 Hyde Street.”

“The very density of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood with 30,000 residents, and one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the City, alone speaks for the need for additional community spaces and gathering spaces,” La Cocina’s development and communications manager Jessica Mataka tells Eater SF.

“These individuals and families are the backbone of our city — the workers, students, strivers and new arrivals that have always shaped San Francisco with their day-to-day lives. These are residents that deserve more affordable food options and more places to sit around the table. We’re building this food hall to stand in opposition to the tiered economy we see being built everywhere around us.”

Stay tuned as the Municipal Market project advances: To help it do so, donations to La Cocina can be made here.

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