Lower Fillmore Street

The Fillmore is the commercial corridor serving the Western Addition neighborhood by the same name. During the middle part of the twentieth century, the demographics in the neighborhood shifted; as Jewish families moved out, and Japanese and Japanese-American families suffered internment, many African Americans who came to San Francisco for war industry jobs arrived in the Fillmore. The burgeoning African American community supported a slew of new jazz clubs and neighborhood businesses flourished; the district was dubbed ‘the Harlem of the West’. Unfortunately during the postwar period, redevelopment in the Western Addition did severe damage to the community fabric, displacing residents and small businesses and disrupting the community network.

Today, the commercial district is a destination for live music – including Sheba Lounge and the Fillmore Auditorium – and boasts a growing food scene with award-winning restaurants such as State Bird Provisions, The Progress and 1300 on Fillmore, the new Black Bark BBQ, and a handful of new African businesses such as African Plural Art gallery and Z011 Coffee Traders. Coming soon in early 2016 will be Wise Sons’ first bagel bakery in San Francisco.

The Fillmore has many active community and cultural organizations working to preserve the history of the neighborhood and contribute to the quality of life of the area. The Lower Fillmore Merchants Association supports and promotes neighborhood businesses. The sustained and community-driven vitality of the Fillmore remains a central priority for the City, which provides funding for loans, small business consulting, promotional campaigns, beautification projects, and façade improvements such as a forthcoming facelift for the Fillmore Auditorium.

Fillmore Heritage Center Update

In partnership with President of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development has convened a series of community meetings to inform interested parties on the issues facing the Fillmore Heritage Center site, former home to Yoshi’s, and to hear directly from community members regarding their concerns about the impact of the vacancy on the neighborhood and their ideas for activating the building.  Below is a status update on the short- and longer-term efforts to activate the building.

Community Activation and Events Program

We’re looking forward to April, when we’ll launch a Community Activation and Events Program.  The Program will enable community usage of the Fillmore Heritage Center lobby, gallery, screening room, and cocktail lounge for interim activation while the City seeks new ownership of the property.  The program, which we are conducting in partnership with Urban Solutions, will invite reservations from community organizations and other interested parties to facilitate classes, meetings, and events at a deeply discounted rate in order to activate the space regularly, draw more people to the corridor, and provide a community accessible space to the neighborhood.

For information on the program, and for room reservations, please visit www.fillmoreheritage.com.

Request for Information and Request for Proposals Update

In January 2016, the City released a Request for Information (RFI) to invite ideas and potential teams to propose concepts for the long-term activation of the Fillmore Heritage Center.  Please click here to visit the Department of Real Estate’s web site with materials related to the Fillmore Heritage Center, including the RFI, which was due March 4, 2016.  The RFI allowed submitters to make their contact information and/or their full submissions public.  Please see the web site for the information we have been asked to share.

Using input from the RFI process, we are currently developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) and the Selection Committee for the RFP process.  Please note that the RFI was not a requirement for those who are interested in responding to the RFP.  Further updates will be provided in April with the timeline for these items as well as dates for future site tours and community meetings.

For questions regarding the Fillmore Heritage Center, please contact Derick Brown at 415-554-6475 or mons.info@sfgov.org.

Upcoming Events and Community Announcements

Please visit the Fillmore District web site for the most current neighborhood events and announcements.

Small Business Resources and Opportunities

One on One Assistance
Urban Solutions will continue to provide one on one assistance to existing and new businesses along the Fillmore corridor.  This includes:

  • Assisting small businesses in the Fillmore with referrals to legal assistance, small business loans, and other supportive City and pro bono resources.
  • Assisting small businesses seeking to lease space in the Fillmore by connecting them with available properties; assisting with lease negotiation; assisting with access to City and other resources and incentives; and advising on permitting and build-out.

For more information: Helen Branham, Urban Solutions Helen@urbansolutionssf.org 415-553-4433

Enterprising Women
Urban Solutions will continue to provide professional development and mentorship services to African American women entrepreneurs (many of whom are Western Addition residents) and will run a new program open to citywide participants in 2016. Enterprising Women has been recognized by the San Francisco Foundation for its advocacy for support of women entrepreneurs. For more information: Helen Branham, Urban Solutions Helen@urbansolutionssf.org 415-553-4433

Fillmore Marketing Services
Urban Solutions will continue to promote events and business promotions along the Fillmore commercial corridor, including restaurant specials and promotions, special events and recurring events including: Fillmore Salsa Festival, Black Couture Ball, Kwanzaa and others. Urban Solutions also provides administrative support to the Fillmore Merchant Association. For more information: Helen Branham, Urban Solutions Helen@urbansolutionssf.org 415-553-4433

Small Business Loan Products
OEWD has partnerships with a number of organizations that provide low interest loans from $5,000 to $1 million. Visit http://investsf.org/loans/ for more information or contact Helen@urbansolutionssf.org 415-553-4433

Welcome New Businesses!

African Plural Art

The Progress Restaurant

Black Bark BBQ

Z011 Coffee Traders

Future Openings:

Wise Sons Bakery

Beautification Projects

Fillmore Merchant façade project

This project will focus on individual self-selected merchant façade and streetscape improvements designed by SF Beautiful, sponsored by the Fillmore Merchant Association and funded by Invest In Neighborhoods, OEWD. For more information: Peter Clarke via email at peter@sfbeautiful.org.

Blue Bridge

The Lower Fillmore Merchants association in partnership with SF Beautiful has secured a grant to clean the bridge and improve the lighting feature and streetscape amenities.  For more information: Peter Clarke via email at peter@sfbeautiful.org.

Gene Suttle Plaza

This plaza improvement designed, by SF Beautiful, and funded by the City’s Community Challenge Grant (CCG) and AMRCI, the property owners of the plaza is partially complete. Look for inviting bench seating to be added soon.

For general information about City or community projects in the Fillmore not listed above, please contact Andrea Baker at andreabakerconsulting@gmail.com.