Upon his election last year, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee vowed to make the revitalization of the city's troubled central Market Street district a top priority for his administration.
And the few-block stretch has certainly put forth an earnest effort towards improving. The past year has seen a surge in everything from pop-up festivals and art installations to mom-and-pop shops and technology powerhouses.
Now, the neighborhood's advocates can happily add a new project to that ever-growing list.
Local production outfit PianoFight, best known for their choose-your-own-adventure sketch comedy series "Forking!" and the audience-judged playwriting competition "ShortLived," recently announced plans to build a shiny new complex on the site of the old Original Joe's restaurant on Taylor Street. The new space will boast two theaters, rehearsal and office areas and a 60-seat restaurant and bar with a cabaret stage.
"We're stoked," PianoFight Artistic Director Rob Ready told The Huffington Post. "Having a home not only for PianoFight's group of artists but also a place where the larger community can plan, rehearse, produce and party together is going to be a gas."
PianoFight recruited renowned local architect Said-Jonathan Eghbal (of Rich Table and Monk's Kettle fame) to design Central Market's first new live-performance venue, which is being funded by a handful of private equity investors with close ties to the theater world. Ready said he hopes their empire will open its doors sometime in mid-2013.
Mayor Lee, of course, is quite pleased that his vision for the embattled area has begun to take shape. "We are thrilled to see a project as ambitious as PianoFight come to fruition on Taylor Street in the Tenderloin," he told HuffPost. "The combination of theaters, a cabaret and restaurant is a great match for the expanding arts district in the neighborhood, and will go a long way in filling a challenging vacancy after the Original Joe's fire five years ago."
PianoFight plans to continue their regularly-scheduled slew of performance projects in the meantime. For a taste of what's to come, check out a preview of their holiday spectacular, "A Merry FORKING! Christmas," here.