SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Organizers celebrated Tuesday night at San Francisco City Hall as supervisor Jane Kim announced a legislative package, which would introduce the nations first Transgender cultural district.
"This is a great thing. Everyone ended up a winner. The SRO [Single Residence Occupancy] housing will be built. It will be a thriving district and not just a plaque on the wall”, said Honey Mahogany of the Compton district.
The Compton's TLGBT District will cover six blocks in the Tenderloin district from Market including two blocks of 6th street.
The boarded and vacant building in the 900 block of market will be replaced with a hotel and condominium complex which will transform transform the district and create a safe haven for the Transgender community and low-income people. Supervisor Kim couldn't hide the excitement saying, "I'm excited that for the first time ever, and and as far as I know in the world, that we are commemorating a social cultural district for Transgender and non-gender conforming community."
The project did face hurdles after neighbors and community groups learned the buildings were about to be torn down without preserving the history of the neighborhood. The community groups initially tried to stop the project.
Nate Allbee of the Compton district coalition spoke to the history saying, "The very first cases of the TLGBT and LGBT civil rights uprisings happened in the Tenderloin Transgender community".
The new Compton Cafeteria Historic district get's its name from the Compton Cafeteria riots of the 1960's
A cafeteria owned by Gene Compton was a gathering place for the transgender community. Staff complained and asked police to crack down, because cross dressing was illegal at the time police raided the business. This prompted demonstrations and riots.
It is considered the first transgender riot in the United States and a deal was struck with the developer to preserve that history.
The new building will provide 20 units of step up housing, a community center and down the line a museum.
Getting the building built at 950 Market Street wasn't easy but supervisor Kim said it was worth the effort
Still some in the neighborhood remained skeptical. "Its great that San Francisco is a sanctuary city, but if people can't afford to live in San Francisco then it's just a statement." Long-time resident Edan Enriquez said.
"I welcome the fact that we're providing a space for the transgender community, but if it's going to dislocate people in the neighborhood then that's something we may want to think about."
The glass and metal flatiron building will add 242 condo units and 232 hotel rooms to the area of Market that has been an eyesore for over 10 years.
The work to pull permits begins in February with the first shovel in the ground by March if all goes well the developer Group I says the project should be completed in two and a half years.