Troubled Tenderloin corner aims to become temporary foodie destination

San Francisco city leaders are applauding a project aimed at turning a troubled street corner into a foodie destination. 

The project to turn an old post office in the Tenderloin into a municipal marketplace is already underway at the corner of Hyde Street and Golden Gate Avenue. The shuttered post office is now a location, notorious for its open-air drug market, with sales going on day and night. 

The site, once federal property, is now owned by the city of San Francisco. City supervisor Matt Haney says it's the equivalent of a blighted property. 

The hope is that activating the corner will bring a steady flow of people and that the flow will force the less-than-savory activity to move elsewhere. 

"What we want to do is replace one of the toughest corners with one of the most vibrant, energetic corners. And, the way we're going to do that is we're going to open a food hall here," Haney said. 

Enter La Cocina, a nonprofit that acts as an incubator for women looking to start restaurants. They're already working to transform the interior of the site with the idea of creating mini-restaurants inside. 

"It'll be a 7,000 square foot building that will house seven of our entrepreneurs, where they'll be able to cook their food, prepare and then sell seven days a week," said Sarah Qadri, La Cocina's Municipal Marketplace Manager. 

Although it may not look like a lot of work is going on on the outside, the inside has been demolished. The marketplace is expected to open this winter. 

"We definitely want the community to come in and do their thing as well. There'll be a kids area. Another place next to the bar for receptions and other activities," Qadri said. 

Mayor London Breed weighed in on the project as well, saying in addition to bringing legitimate activity to the intersection, it will act as a launching pad for small business in the city. 

"They're incredible cooks. They just need an opportunity to provide their talents to the rest of the city, and this is an opportunity for them to start and potentially grow their business," Breed said. 

The La Cocina Municipal Marketplace will only be temporary, on a seven-year lease. 

For the long term, the city plans to turn the site into affordable housing.