A rendering of the potential Jack Spade store on 16th Street. (Courtesy of Jack Spade)

Jack Spade has canceled plans to open in the Mission District.

Wednesday’s 4-1 decision by the Board of Appeals to rehear the question of whether Jack Spade could be defined as formula retail — a finding that would make the approval process more involved — was clearly enough for the retailer to decide to look elsewhere.

In its official statement, the company wrote, “We at JACK SPADE are disappointed with Wednesday’s Board of Appeals ruling. In our minds and in accordance with the district’s code, JACK SPADE is not ‘formula retail’ and we have been completely transparent regarding our relationship to our parent company.”

The opponents felt otherwise.  They argued that although Jack Spade might escape being defined as a formula retail under the guidelines of the legislation, it was clearly the sort of store that the architects of the legislation meant to include. Jack Spade is associated with Kate Spade, which is under the umbrella of the company Fifth and Pacific.

On hearing the news of Jack Spake’s retreat, the opponents were exuberant and credited the community.

“People from all walks of life were motivated to rise up and speak out against Jack Spade, not just because the luxury menswear retailer displaced a community-serving bookstore, but because its presence, and insistence on avoiding the public approval process, symbolized the growing inequalities affecting this neighborhood,” said Kyle Smeallie, an organizer of the opposition.

In Wednesday’s vote, the board members considered letters from former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, who drafted the original 2006 legislation Section 703.3 of the Planning Code and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the author of Prop G, the voter-approved ballot measure that called for stricter chain store regulation.

Both indicated that Jack Spade was the kind of store the legislation intended to cover.

The press release from Jack Spade disagreed, but said, “We respect the Board and the community’s passion and will not pursue plans to open in the Mission District. We have nothing but admiration for the Mission District and remain fans of the neighborhood and its unique character.”


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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

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  1. Reading a lot of these comments, it is very evident why it is so necessary to educate the newcomers of the Mission as to the history and culture of the Mission. The Mission has a strong history of latino heritage. It is what makes this neighborhood so special and unique. To allow Jack Spade or any of these high-priced, chain retailers, restaurants etc is destroying hundreds of years of history and community. To come into this neighborhood so narrow-minded and ill-educated to the beauty of the murals, the latino community, the mom & pop stores, the working class people that built these streets, is exactly why we protest to have you leave and go to the Marina. If you want a Marina copy, that area is there waiting for you, but leave Mission to be the beautiful, cultural and working-class community it is. Read the history, take the time to talk to the people who have lived here all their lives, raised their kids here, interact with the them and have a sense of respect for the Mission, which is way more important and needed than any Jack Spade store.

  2. Slow The Man Down

    (To the tune, of course, of “Blow The Man Down”)

    As I took a walk on Valencia Street,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    Some big, gleaming chain stores my poor eyes did greet –
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    There was Jack Spade and Kate Spade and Starbucks as well,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    a big Cinnabon and a new Taco Bell,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    But gone was the bookstore where I used to shop,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    And gone the small market run by Mom and Pop,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    Our Lieutenant Governor Newsom was there,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    And Mayor Lee, grinning, the limelight to share,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    They had just cut a ribbon to open the place,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    But something about it seemed slightly off base,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    The customers there were all strangers to me,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    And the prices they showed were high as could be,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    Where there were once apartments those chain stores replaced,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    There were pricey boutiques far too rich for my taste,
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    “Our very next site,” Mayor Lee told the press,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    “will be at this spot – – – – ” and he named my address!
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    Said Lee, “Money talks here, and Real Estate rules!”
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    “And don’t mind protestors, they’re nothing but fools!”
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    But what can we do, with our City betrayed?
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    And who sold our rights to the likes of Jack Spade?
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!

    So don’t make it easy – – stand up and be heard,
    Slow down, slow the Man down!
    And don’t let them sell you a gold-plated turd!
    Give us some time to slow the Man down!!!

  3. Would be interesting to see the budget for whatever Liz Claiborne is paying for the comments on these articles. Whatever it is, they paid too much.

    1. Eric, your exhausting, unintelligent replies about any supporter of a business opening instead of urine and graffiti covered closed storefronts really gets old. You must be a local of at least five years.

  4. SF is definitely inconsistent when it comes to issues like this. I could care less about Jack Spade or any independent store that caters to the nouveau riche…and I can actually afford the stuff there. But, for instance, people protested an Urban Outfitters in the Haight but allowed Wells Fargo to move in at the same time so you have to wonder what the reasons are.

    But, for the Mission, I just wish there was a little more “balance”…I’m fine with some new fancy restaurants…but, more and more, it’s turning more homogenized, which is, well…boring. It would be sad if it just turns into Walnut Creek with worse parking…

  5. With all the daily crime in the Mission/District 9, including murder; countless quality of life issues; drug dealers/users; vagrants, a handful of NIMBYs shut out Jack Spade, on one of the most blighted, run down, crime-infested blocks in the area other than Mission between 16th/24th Streets. The energy would have better served to try to clear out all the trash!

    Since it is listed who opposed JS, I now know where NOT to shop/dine anymore.

    There are some vacant store fronts on Cortland Ave. Bernal Heights need some good shopping. Or for that matter, lots of vacant storefronts on Mission Strret. It would be great to get rid of all the schlock.

    1. Its funny to me that some folks think that Jack Spade was going to take care of all the social ills of the Mission. What you fail to realize that there are 700 units of very low income units around 16th St. and that is not going to change. Work with the residents of those units to deal with the crime, instead of trying to have them thrown out too.

      Another misconception is that gentrification will get rid of all crime and clean up the area.
      Robbery is up 34 percent in the neighborhood and homelessness is up.

      More people are being thrown out of their homes recently raising the homeless population. Shelters are completly full and no where for folks to go. To many fall beween the cracks and end up in the street.

      Statistics show that most people that commit crime here are not from here.

  6. the people that spent so much time opposing this baffle me. there are bigger issues to address and put energy into. they’re probably one of the most benign retailers out there.

  7. Sad and hypocritical outcome. I live in the Mission and I love it when my neighborhood flourishes. Would have been great to have Jack Spade here. Better than drugs&crime at the very least.

  8. Finally, a piece of good news today! Neighborhood activists kept Burger King out of North Beach and an Urban Outfitters rezoned 4 times the legal space out of the upper Haight. Quality of life is worth fighting for.

    It’s a-maz-ing how SF newbies are so pro-corporate and contemptuous of community. If it were really about economics, they’d defend mom-&-pops, i.e., local businesses that keep the $$ circulating in the local economy.

  9. SO Typically Mission hipster.
    What a shame.
    Hopefully they wil find a home in the Castro or Marina or Hayes…someplace not so pretentious. And that irony was intended!

    1. Jack Spade won’t find a home in the Castro easily, retail formula restrictions have been enacted in the Upper Market/Castro shopping areas. They would have to navigate the same hearings and community input they dealt with in the Mission. Based on the recent failures of Chipotle and Starbuck’s to win appooval, its highly unlikely they want the same fight all over again.

  10. The owners of Jack Spade define their brand with the name of the store. This name is printed on signs and merchandise and spoken by the employees when they answer the phone and speak to costumers. To say that this name is illegal is a restriction on free speech. We can wish for our communities to have a style we like but when we start restricting other’s freedoms for the sake of style and our own taste we have crossed a line.

  11. Great! Now that locale can be rented out to a local business that will serve the community — like a medical marijuana dispensary.

  12. This is clearly a disappointment for the small clothing boutiques on that block (Benny Gold, Sunhee Moon, Bell Jar, etc). The small business owners had hoped Jack Spade would become the anchor tenant that attracted customers and similar businesses, perhaps making that area an apparel destination. Now the space will likely remain vacant for months.

    1. Had Jack Spade moved in, the rise in rent would have driven the same stores from the block. There’s a reason those stores opened there, and not on Union Square (which is where Jack Spade belongs).

      1. I actually have a Jack spade shoulder bag I bought 4 years ago for $180. Its holds up very well. But $1000 and up for bikes in four area stores is ok? And that denim store at $200 and up for a pair? Sometimes items s are worth it and other times not. If the quality y is good sometimes it is worth paying more. $4. coffee is everywhere there..

      2. The businesses named are all on record as supporting Jack Spade. Successful businesses have to believe in their ability to grow and adapt to change.

  13. Such Bullshitt. The new local coffee companies all have multi outlets now and are growing. Same with the bars and restaurants. If it is a quality store then it should be allowed to move in. There really are not many clothing shops in this area but let cafes bars and burritos in and nobody has a problem. Bookstores have been dying because of the internet and technology. If people were still buying lots of physical books, then a store would survive. Blu Dot is a chain and they just took over a huge space on Valencia.

  14. Agreed. Nothing can hold back gentrification. Jack Spade actually perfectly fits in with the rent of the Valencia mission restaurants, bars and shops. Oh no, not a “chain” store!

    If Chains are hated then why is there a McDonalds on 16th and Mission?

    1. The word gentrification is just slander invented by “make time stand still for imbeciles”. I refuse to use it out of context and call it what it really is, neighborhood improvement. Not that I am chastising you for using it here.

    2. Yes, McDonalds sucks, but at least long-time Mission residents can afford to eat there, unlike the venture capital-funded doucheries one block over. Fast food joints have their (unfortunate) place in a working class neighborhood, simply due to their affordability. There is no need for Jack Spade, selling expensive clothes to Marina yuppies, in the same neighborhood.

      1. Are you out of your mind? What is the difference ? There are a lot of over priced stores in the Mission. But why pick on Jake Spade? Because you can. Grow up and grow a pair. I hope you enjoy your juckies and hookers sandwich. with a side of yuck.

        1. Jack Spade offered to pay Union Square-level rent in order to kick Adobe out of their longtime space.

          If McDonalds offered to pay triple the rent to El Farolito out, there would be hell to pay. For all theri crappy food, fast food joints are not a threat to the neighborhood.

    3. OF COURSE, there are many things that can hold back gentrification. In fact, they are the very things that gentrification tends to push out: crime, bad schools, human excrement on sidewalks, independent booze shops (instead of formula retailers), etc.

    4. Good point. The truth kind of hurts because when there’s something in it for the people “cheap cheap food”, then there’s no problem with one of the worst multinational companies in the world being in the Mission.

    1. Did any of you folks who are upset about his outcome show up an any of the hearings for Jack Spade? Did any of you write letters to your elected officials or talk to any of the store owners, or your neighbors about this issue? Did any of you, in fact, engage in your community regarding this issue in any way at all, other than writing disparaging comments on the internet? Just curious.

    1. At least this slows down the manic pace rents at which rents are rising.

      Why does that bother you, David?

        1. No bike shop will pay the rent JS was going to pay. Only a deep-pockets high-end retailer or venture-capital-funded restaurant can.

          1. If that is the case, and another high-end retailer or VC backed restaurant comes in . . . won’t that just further the gentrification you are bemoaning?

        2. Or, maybe, another Head Shop would make enough to be pay the rent. Tweekers always need new pipes.

      1. Slow it down? Not likely. Not unless you get rid of all of the high end businesses that attracted the nouveau riche to the neighborhood in the first place.

    2. sec 703.3 (9) of the Business and Tax Regulation Code states the purpose of the Formula Retail ordinance:

      (9) The increase of formula retail businesses in the City’s neighborhood commercial areas, if not monitored and regulated, will hamper the City’s goal of a diverse retail base with distinct neighborhood retailing personalities comprised of a mix of businesses. Specifically, the unregulated and unmonitored establishment of additional formula retail uses may unduly limit or eliminate business establishment opportunities for smaller or medium-sized businesses, many of which tend to be non-traditional or unique, and unduly skew the mix of businesses towards national retailers in lieu of local or regional retailers, thereby decreasing the diversity of merchandise available to residents and visitors and the diversity of purveyors of merchandise.

      This is a win for Missionites. That is all.