Lt. Ed Del Carlo, all 6 feet 6 inches of him, rises out of his chair in a gritty windowless office inside the fortress-like Northern Station on Fillmore Street and extends a welcoming hand the size of a catcher’s mitt. In his other hand are 32 police reports from the day before. The 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department doesn’t try to whitewash the situation: Crime is mushrooming citywide — and it’s worse in the Fillmore.
Lt. Ed Del Carlo
“The big growth trend is property crime. But no longer is it only drug dealing addicts who break into cars to steal a laptop, a smart phone, an iPad or any electronic device they can fence within minutes at 7th and Market,” he says. “We’re seeing more sophisticated, more violent criminals who’re coming in from the East Bay, Sacramento, the Central Valley and the Peninsula because they know if they get arrested, chances are they won’t do any jail or prison time.”
The neighborhood crime surge is affecting both residents and retailers, and criminals are more brazen. This year, thieves drove a stolen car through the front glassdoor of the Marc Jacobs fashion boutique at Fillmore and Sacramento around 4 a.m., looted its merchandise and were gone in an estimated five minutes. And twice this year, the glass door of the MAC makeup shop on Fillmore near Pine was shattered in the early morning hours and the shelves were cleaned of expensive skin creams. In the summer, thieves smashed the glass front door of Dino and Santino’s restaurant at Fillmore and California and carted off the cash register.
Shop owner Claudia Volpi says Superga is a perfect fit for San Francisco’s casual vibe.
RETAIL REPORT | BARBARA KATE REPA
Claudia Volpi throws down a friendly ultimatum: “I challenge you to find an Italian who doesn’t own a pair of Superga shoes.”
And she’s hoping the sporty “People’s Shoes of Italy” will soon become common footfare for Fillmore residents as well, now that the doors to her new boutique are open at 2326 Fillmore Street.
The shoes — slip-ons, tie classics and hi-tops for women, men and children — look fresh and modern. But in fact, their origins hark back to 1911, when an entrepreneur in Torino, Italy, Walter Martiny, had the idea of using vulcanized rubber to make waterproof boots, revolutionizing footwear for the agricultural workers there. In later years, the shoes evolved to become tennis wear with carefully crafted cushioning and support — and then fashion statements when leather, wool and silk and thicker soles and wedge heels were incorporated into the designs.
Volpi says she has worn and loved Superga shoes since she was a little girl, and she has the evidence to prove it: a picture of a slightly tattered red pair she wore back in the day, later worn by each of her three children.
Photograph of 2555 Divisadero Street by Shayne Watson
LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY
The house at 2555 Divisadero was designed by an “important, neglected California designer,” the Planning Department’s Citywide Historic Building Survey in 1976 noted. That architect, Paul Revere Williams, has since been rediscovered.
Williams, one of the few African-American architects working in California in the decades before World War II, is now well known, thanks to the perseverance and publications of his granddaughter, Karen E. Hudson. Her books lovingly tell the story of this remarkably talented and pioneering architect. A key designer of the Hollywood Regency style, Williams was a master at slenderizing and refining Classical forms and motifs, creating a Modern version of shapes and features extracted from traditional architecture.
Often referred to as “the architect to the stars,” Williams designed many Hollywood and Beverly Hills mansions, as well as some iconic Southern California buildings such as the Golden State Mutual Insurance Company — the largest black-owned insurance company west of the Mississippi — and the Music Corporation of America headquarters and the Saks Fifth Avenue store, both in Beverly Hills. He also made important renovations to two luxury hotels: the Beverly Hills and the Ambassador, which has since been demolished.
While Williams’ work in Northern California was limited to a few commissions, he partnered with his clients at 2555 Divisadero to create a Hollywood Regency style house set amidst the much more traditional Colonial Revival houses atop Pacific Heights.
Archbishop James Provence at St. Thomas Anglican Church in San Francisco
JAMES PROVENCE, the longtime rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church at 2725 Sacramento Street — who advanced to become archbishop of his entire breakaway province in 2007 — has resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct with a former parishioner of St. Thomas.
In a July 20 letter to the church’s governing body, Provence wrote that he had been advised“for reasons of my health and chronic medical condition to step down from my ecclesiastical duties. I am therefore submitting to you my resignation as archbishop. I am relinquishing my seat on the council of bishops, resigning as ordinary of the diocese of western states and as rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church, San Francisco.”
His resignation followed a formal complaint alleging “pastoral misconduct within a counseling relationship” submitted for the parishioner by attorney Charles H. Nalls, who is also an Anglican priest and executive director of the Canon Law Institute in Washington, D.C.
“We regard the matter closed,” Nalls told Virtue Online, a website that bills itself as “the voice for global orthodox Anglicanism,” after Provence resigned.
“We presented a detailed complaint with exhibits including photographic evidence,” Nalls later commented on the website. “Mr. Provence resigned shortly after the complaint and accompanying evidence were presented without availing himself of procedure or even offering a defense.”
The former parishioner, Kathy Webb, alleged in a public letter that Provence had engaged in improper sexual behavior with her and with another woman.
Calls and messages to Provence and St. Thomas Church seeking comment were not returned.
Photograph of Jet Mail’s Kevin Wolohan by Kathi O’Leary
IT SEEMED AS IF Jet Mail had cheated death.
Two and a half years ago, with its prime retail space at 2130 Fillmore coveted by the onrush of fashion boutiques eager and able to pay far higher rent, the packaging and mailing store moved south to 2184 Sutter. In the process, they sparked new life on a sleepy stretch of Sutter Street.
Now the gig is up.
Jet Mail will go out of business on September 15, ending a 25-year run in the neighborhood. The space will become an insurance office.
Singing has helped fundraiser Jerry Mapp battle Parkinson’s disease.
LOCALS | THOMAS REYNOLDS
For 25 years, Jerry Mapp raised money and cultivated donors to help build California Pacific Medical Center into the respected hospital it has become, with a state-of-the-art new home rising at Van Ness and Geary.
As president and chief executive of the CPMC Foundation, Mapp led a team that raised more than $300 million and helped build a portfolio of assets and endowments.
A rendering of ADCO’s proposed tower at 1481 Post Street.
By FRAN MORELAND JOHNS
It may be a sleek luxury high-rise condominium bringing new life to Cathedral Hill. Or it may be a code-violating, too-tall tower adding traffic, wind, noise, parking and shadow nightmares — and opening the door for more spot zoning across the city.
New York developer ADCO Group’s plan to build a 36-story residential tower at 1481 Post Street is drawing mounting concern and opposition from nearby residents. The project is expected to come before the Planning Commission in late September.
The building would replace an above-ground parking structure, fitness center and tennis courts that adjoin Cathedral Hill Plaza apartments at Post and Gough, which ADCO also owns and plans to remodel. The new tower would rise to 416 feet, requiring an exception to the 240-foot height limit the city planning code sets for the site.
In this view from Vallejo and Scott Streets, circa 1893, Frank Pixley’s estate occupied the entire forested block bounded by Green, Steiner, Union and Fillmore Streets.
LOCAL HISTORY | SANDY STADTFELD
More than 120 years after Frank Pixley — California pioneer, businessman, former state Attorney General and longtime editor and publisher of The Argonaut — enabled the construction of a church on his family’s property at Union and Steiner Streets, it remains the vibrant home of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Yet Pixley was an unlikely benefactor. Openly hostile toward churches and churchmen of any denomination,he described himself as “an agnostic with a touch of atheism.”
After studying law in his home state of New York and practicing briefly in Michigan, Pixley came to California in 1849 in pursuit of gold. Learning quickly there were easier and more prestigious occupations than placer mining, Pixley entered legal practice and civic life in San Francisco. In 1853, he married Amelia van Reynegom, daughter of a merchant sea captain with extensive property in Marin County in what would become Corte Madera. Gaining stature as an attorney and politician, Pixley was elected California’s Attorney General in 1861 and later served as a regent of the University of California.
Pixley inherited land just east of San Francisco’s Presidio and was among the earliest gentrifiers of Cow Hollow, until then a bucolic enclave of laundries, vegetable gardens, breweries, tanneries and dairy farms. The Pixleys built their estate on the block bounded by Union, Steiner, Green and Fillmore Streets. The entire block was a forested compound, the gracious Pixley mansion screened from the outside world in a central grove.
Mural at St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church at 1286 Fillmore Street
BOOKS | FLORIANA PETERSEN
For the last few years, Miles, my beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback, and I would walk through the neighborhood every morning. Down to Fillmore, up to Broadway, over to Lyon, back to Sacramento. I would point things out to him. I am a designer, by trade and by nature, and I am finely tuned to detail: the font in a logo, the frame on a window, the way a painting is lighted, the clasp on a woman’s handbag.
I would remark at the details as we walked along. Sometimes Miles would look disdainful, as though to say, “Why are you so fascinated by that?” And so we would go on. He held to his mysteries; I held to mine. Then one day he died. He was 14.
It was Miles who first got me thinking about the nature of interesting places in the city. Our journeys led me to start a blog about art, architecture and unusual places in the Bay Area, which led to my new book, 111 Places in San Francisco You Must Not Miss, one of a series of 111 Places books published by the German publisher Emons Verlag.
THE DOCENT PROGRAM at St. Dominic’s Church at Steiner and Bush is sponsoring “The Grand Tour: An Overview of Church Art & Architecture” on Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Docents will lead visitors on a tour of treasures in wood, stone and stained glass inside and outside the church. The event — a “drop in and stay for as little or as much as you like” tour — is free and open to the public. For more information, call 415-517-5572, or email email@example.com.
Pascal Rigo will reopen his original Pine Street bakery on October 5. The return comes barely two weeks after the boulangerie was shuttered by Starbucks, which bought the maison mere and 22 La Boulange cafes from Rigo in 2012.
“I had no idea people loved it so much,” Rigo told the Chronicle. Read more »
GAP'S NEW LINE
The influx of fashion retailers to Fillmore Street continues. Among the newest brands with eyes on Fillmore is Intermix, a group of 42 boutiques acquired by Gap Inc. in 2012.
Intermix describes itself as “a multi-brand women’s fashion retailer” that favors locations on neighborhood streets — such as 2223 Fillmore, now the home of Brooks Brothers’ Black Fleece, which Intermix hopes to replace next year.
A few doors north at 2237 Fillmore, the women’s boutique Limu Is closing and will be succeeded by Paige Denim.
Paige is a high-flying brand already available in stores across the country now beginning to open its own shops. Fillmore will be the seventh.
COMING OUR WAY
If it’s not fashion, it’s cosmetics. A new company, Space NK, plans to bring its curated selection of beauty and wellness products from around the world to 2000 Fillmore, currently home of Paolo Shoes.
Space NK is holding a meeting to introduce itself to the neighbors on October 6 at 6 p.m. at Congregation Sherith Israel at 2266 California Street.
PAINT 'N' SIP
The Planning Commission has given the go-ahead to Pinot’s Palette, which bills itself as “America’s fastest-growing franchise,” at 1981 Sutter, formerly a deli and grocery.
At its 130 existing or planned locations around the country, customers come together for an evening to create a painting while they drink wine.
WISE SONS BAGELS
COMING TO FILLMORE
Wise Sons Bagels is turning 1520 Fillmore into a bakery that will produce up to 5,000 bagels daily, plus other Jewish delicacies. There will also be a 12-seat retail shop.
Tablehopper offers a look inside the gutted space and more on the plans.
The offerings inside the shop on the corner of Fillmore and Sacramento have been suddenly downsized and upscaled, the Marc by Marc Jacobs nameplate outside quietly replaced by lettering that says only Marc Jacobs.
The higher-end Marc Jacobs boutique on Maiden Lane, near Union Square, has been closed and incorporated into the Fillmore shop.
SIGNS 10-YEAR LEASE
The father-daughter team who own Fillmore Bakeshop at Fillmore & Bush have signed a new 10-year lease.
Elena and Doug Basegio have developed a loyal local following in the five years since they took over Patisserie Delanghe. At first it looked like a 90 percent rent hike might force them out. They’re still facing a big increase, but hoping to make it work. Those fruit pies are safe.
AT THE AMELIA
In the same block of setback storefronts underneath the Amelia condos, there’s another vacancy. First Barry for Pets closed after 40 years on Fillmore at the end of April. Now the fashion shop A City Obsession has called it quits barely a year after arriving.
At the southern end of the block, Pizza Inferno has finally begun a long-planned renovation.
NOW IT’S THE
What has most recently been the Hotel Tomo at 1800 Sutter in Japantown — sold last year to Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants — has been rechristened the Kimpton Buchanan.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of joining this lovely neighborhood,” said Blue Bottle boss James Freeman.
Permits were issued on August 4 and 8 for a soft story retrofit, which is now underway.
A NEW INCARNATION
AT OCTAVIA & BUSH
An elegant new dining option has arrived in the neighborhood, with Octavia opening at the corner of Octavia and Bush, previously home of Baker & Banker, Quince, Meetinghouse and others.
Under chef-owner Melissa Perello — much lauded for her cooking at Frances in the Castro — the dining room is lighter and more minimal and the menu simplified and seasonal. Initial reviews are glowing. Octavia is open for dinner, except on Monday, and a private dining room is coming in the former downstairs bakery.
Juicy News, the newstand at 2453 Fillmore for the past 23 years, is settling into its new home down the hill at 2181 Union Street, just a few doors east of Fillmore.
"It's an eight minute walk and five blocks away from our old location," says owner Mo Salimi.
Its new digs were once the home of the legendary Minerva's Owl bookstore. "This shop had massive history," says Salimi. "So good vibes and heritage all around."
PAINT STORE MOVES
TO THE FILLMORE
Lower Fillmore has a useful new business: a paint store. G&R Paint Co. — the highly regarded purveyor of Benjamin Moore and other paint at 1238 Sutter — has moved to 1491 Webster, in the Safeway parking lot.
The store is part of the locally owned Creative Paint company, which has four paint stores and two hardware stores, including Brownie’s on Polk Street.