Wednesday, November 29, 2023

San Francisco death spiral takes another step down

Banks are refusing to provide loans to a local business based on the sheer state of San Francisco, the owner has claimed.

Owner Mark Sackett said that his event venue, which is also an antique shop, will be auctioned off because he can't get a mortgage refinance.

The owner purchased the building for over $1.5 million in 2004, but with an existing $2.5 million mortgage, he will be forced to auction it off.

As many as 30 lenders have refused a mortgage refinance, the Washington Examinerreported, which means a massive loss is all but guaranteed.

"[Lenders] are not making commercial real estate loans in San Francisco due to the state of the city," Sackett explained. "[City officials] don’t even return my calls," he continued. "They care about bike lanes, nonprofits, safe injection sites. … They have just ignored small business ... I’m just done with San Francisco and the bulls**t here. It’s out of control."

Sackett explained his building has a broken window, which costs $4,000 to replace, while feces and needles are constantly spread near the storefront. 

In addition to cleaning up human waste and drug paraphernalia, staff have had to use pepper spray in defense against attempted break-ins, while the owner has also been attacked by a person with a knife.

The business is also next to a drug sobering (detox) center, where people regularly smoke fentanyl outside, he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I’m just done with San Francisco and the bulls**t here," Sackett said. "It’s out of control."

A city official blamed COVID-19's impact on businesses but didn't shy away from mentioning the drug problems in the city.

"[The owner] and I share a lot of the same priorities, and I truly wish we could be making more progress sooner to turn things around in SoMa," said Democrat Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents District 6 in San Francisco. 

"This is a neighborhood that was disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, especially in terms of the number of shelter-in-place hotels here, and the myriad public safety challenges attributable to open-air drug markets and public drug use. I’m optimistic that the neighborhood is beginning to see some progress. But for too many businesses like Mark’s, we’re just not recovering fast enough," he added.

Despite the issues facing the city, Sackett said, officials care more about coming after him than fixing problems. He claimed that the city has come after him for zoning laws, despite problems with sewage overflow that caused $85,000 in damage to his business.

Now, he said he’s battling to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"I can put a tent in front of someone’s front door and sleep … but the city comes after me for ADA compliance," he complained.

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