Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trinity Plaza Teardown

After years of controversy and political haggling, the Trinity Plaza apartment building at 8th and Market is finally being torn down.

The original block-long structure was called Del Webb's TowneHouse (see illustration above), built in the 1960s like an alien structure from Phoenix plopped onto a sketchy area of Market Street. The motel was something of a disaster and soon became an apartment complex owned by infamous San Francisco landlord Angelo Sangiacomo. For an incisive and funny history of the place, click here for Willie Morrissey's takedown of both Del Webb who got rich building the Japanese American internment camps and Sangiacomo who's a local, ruthless real estate developer.

The building's loss will not be greatly lamented. In a very funny Yelp review by a recent tenant, they reported: "Trinity Plaza really is the worst apartment ever. Sketchy area, annoying management, really expensive rent prices. Also, we got bed bugs while we were there, and so did a bunch of our neighbors (on the third floor), so it clearly wasn't our fault. Don't move here unless you hate yourself and everything good in life."

In 2005, the former Supervisor Chris Daly worked out a deal where the tenants would not be thrown onto the street but would instead be housed in the fancy new high-rise housing planned by Trinity and its owners, the Sangiacomo family. Say what you will about Daly, at least he didn't publicly worship the local gentry like our present Mayor Lee and the current crop on the Board of Supervisors.

In truth, it does not much matter. Sangiacomo won, and his huge, rather brutal housing structures above are turning a major block of Market and Mission into something new. Maybe it will be better for everyone, and not another misguided disaster dictated by greed.

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