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Monday, February 1, 2010

Chron Adds Details to Ferry Building Turnover Story, Fears Faux-Artisan Takeover

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 7:12 AM

On Saturday, the Chron deployed a four-reporter surge to suss out the Ferry Building story we broke on Friday about the Marketplace's refusal to renew leases for longtime vendors. In a Page One story about upward pressure on rents, reporters Stacy Finz, Amanda Gold, and Janny Hu got essentially the same eerily vague message we got from Equity Office's Jane Connors, who manages Ferry Building tenants: "We're not going to outprice people so they can't exist," she said. "The nature of retail is that leases roll over, partnerships dissolve, owners change over, and merchants pursue other business plans. There are a variety of reasons businesses move on. What is important is how we retenant." In other words, nothing to see here. Move along.

Meanwhile, C.W. Nevius sounded like an Old Testament prophet, warning of the consequences of Ferry Building management losing its way. "Begun as a groundbreaking foodie mecca in 2003, it has begun pushing up rents, knocking out long-time vendors and alarming loyal patrons. If they aren't careful, they will kill the organic, free-range goose that laid the golden egg."And he points to Hershey property Scharffen Berger as an example of the faux-artisan tenant who might proliferate in the new high-rent Ferry Building.

No doubt we haven't seen the last departure of longtime Ferry Building vendors. Stay tuned for the turmoil to come.

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