Disney Studio Coming to the Mission?

Categories: Business
Bienvenidos a La Mission, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse?
Mission denizens received an odd, anonymous press release last week: "According to reputable sources, Disney Studios recently met with the SF Mayor's Office to plan its move to the former Hershey's Chocolate location at the corner of Folsom and 16th streets in the heart of SF's Mission District." When we followed up, the author would only identify his or herself as an owner of the "property adjacent to the future Disney location at the corner of Folsom and 16th streets."

Well, neither Disney Studios nor the mayor's office has gotten back to us. Mission District Supervisor David Campos hasn't heard a thing. But the property's real estate broker wouldn't deny the Disney rumor (though he said there are still no "signed commitments") -- and made the following none-too-veiled reference to a large, glove-wearing rodent:

Regarding what the client would be interested in doing with the space, Tom Niu of Cassidy Turley BT Commercial said "Think more like Mickey Mouse.

"It's not like they're going to be doing the Lassie TV shows. It would be something a little bit more edgy." Mickey Mouse is edgy? We suppose his red shorts are now considered skinny jeans.

Sign of the apocalypse, Missionites, or needed economic development? Ever since the influx of dot-com employees more than a decade ago, Mission folk have worried about the Disneyland-ification of one of last gritty and ethnic holdouts in our increasingly twee and affluent city. The city even put the kibosh on American Apparel moving onto Valencia Street even though just about every hipster riding a track bike down the street is wearing at least one piece of the store's clothing.

Yet the city is apparently stoked about the prospect of Mickey coming to town: "The city of San Francisco has had to compete for this use," Niu said. "It's not like [the potential tenant] is wedded to this location. The tenant was looking throughout the Bay Area. ... I think they were drawn by the hip, cool, artistic vibe of the Mission, as opposed to some of the more sterile places they could go to that are probably cheaper, too."

This is the site of the Joseph Schmidt's chocolate factory which closed last year, leaving scores of employees out of work (Hershey's owns Joseph Schmidt's, hence the term "Hershey factory" among locals). Since the last chocolate delicacies were produced, Niu said, everyone from green tech companies, industrial/distribution, and studio-use clients have expressed interest in the 97,000-square-foot property. He said he should have more to disclose by later in the week about the potential new residents. 

Incidentally, Disney moving in would put two companies known for fantasy films in the immediate neighborhood. Kink.com is just down the street. The Mission is a small world after all.

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