Mayor Lee Announces Neighborhood Revitalization of Ocean Avenue

New Leases to Fill Long-Term Vacancies in Oceanview Merced Ingleside Neighborhood

1/20/12— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced new leases for a number of long-term vacancies along Ocean Avenue in the Oceanview Merced Ingleside neighborhood, representing a substantial drop in the vacancy rate from 9.5 percent in January 2011 to 6.8 percent today. The attraction of new businesses meets neighborhood needs for groceries, financial services and full-service restaurants with Whole Foods, Chase Bank, and Champa Garden Thai restaurant, a Michelin recommended restaurant based in Oakland moving in.

“By working hand in hand with the community, we are attracting new businesses and creating a more vibrant Ocean Avenue,” said Mayor Lee. “As we move forward it is my goal to continue to secure resources to support commercial corridors and the small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy.”

Ocean Avenue has been without a full-service grocery store and a full service bank since the mid 1990’s. Recruiting these types of neighborhood-serving businesses has been a major goal for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and community stakeholders; it is the result of several years of targeted economic development and investment by the City along Ocean Avenue.

The new Ocean Avenue Association, a community benefit district representing property owners, merchants and residents along Ocean Avenue, has been instrumental in the efforts to improve Ocean Avenue. In addition to launching street cleaning services this month, OAA will soon unveil their business retention and attraction program.

“The community has been waiting for years for a grocery store and a full-service bank and we are especially thrilled to have these businesses fill long-term vacancies that have been eyesores for half a decade,” said Ocean Avenue Association Executive Director Catherine Hickey. “Ocean Avenue is undoubtedly experiencing a renaissance, and we are looking forward to the grand opening of all these businesses later this year.”

Whole Foods will be anchoring the new Avalon Bay Development at 1150 Ocean Avenue. The project is a 173 unit apartment complex on a 1.8 acre site. Whole Foods will be taking over 28,000 square feet, activating a space which was once a barren parking lot.

Champa Garden, a 2011 Michelin Recommended Thai restaurant, based in Oakland’s San Antonio District, will open their first San Francisco location at 1700 Ocean Avenue. Their Oakland location currently has an average wait of 30 minutes for a table and attracts customers from throughout the Bay Area.

“We are honored and overjoyed to be a part of San Francisco’s dynamic culture and Ocean Avenue’s evolution,” said Champa Garden Restaurant Owner Phuoc Nguyen. “My family and I are looking forward to creating 20 new job opportunities in San Francisco and are motivated to create long lasting positive relationships with members of the community.”

Additionally, Chase Bank will be filling the former library site at 1649 Ocean Avenue; CVS Pharmacy will be occupying the former Blockbuster at 1770 Ocean Avenue; and Sherwin Williams will be opening at 1415 Ocean Avenue. The anticipated 2012 openings of these businesses will create 75-100, if not more, job opportunities in the southern part of San Francisco.

Ocean Avenue is one of 11 corridors included in the City’s Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative neighborhood economic development program and is an example of a successful effort to improve neighborhood commercial districts amidst an economic downturn. NMI, a partnership between the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and community stakeholders, has laid the groundwork for Mayor’s new Invest in Neighborhoods strategy, which will be launched in the coming months as part of the Mayor Lee’s 17-point Roadmap to Good Jobs & Opportunity plan.