This story was updated on Feb. 17, 2011. See below.
The San Francisco Armory, a historic “Moorish Castle” building with a vast open space that once was used for military drills, will soon be home to a community center that plans to hold monthly farm and flea markets. The structure, owned by the businessman who founded Kink.com, will host events to benefit the Mission District neighborhood in San Francisco.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal and by KGO-TV, the 200,000-square-foot armory, which sat unused for 30 years, was bought in 2007 by U.K.-born entrepreneur Peter Acworth and rehabilitated for use by an adult film production company. However, Kink.com was not using the vast former drill court, which has been leased to The Armory Community Center LLC, the developer of the site.
The use of the venue for a market just took a big step forward, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
“Last week, Mr. Acworth and TACC received permission from the city to upgrade the drill court’s electrical systems and fire alarms, and make other improvements Mr. Acworth estimates will cost $200,000 to $300,000. Once that work is done, he intends to start hosting events one a month. He hopes to apply for a permanent use permit once he establishes a track record of events.”
Although many in the local community were opposed to the sale of the Armory to an adult content producer, Acworth has worked hard to win over skeptics. He has beautified the Armory building exterior, decorated for the holidays, and made donations to a non-profit next door. As anger in the neighborhood has turned to curiosity, Kink.com has raised thousands of dollars for charity by charging for public tours that show off both the historic areas of the structure as well as the elaborate sets the film company has created in the basement. One consequence of those goodwill efforts: There’s no opposition to the use of the building for community events.
The portion of the Armory used by Kink.com is separated from the drill court by “a big wall,” Acworth told KGO-TV.
Photos courtesy The Armory Community Center, with thanks.
Feb. 17 Update: According to Fiona Greene, community relations manager for Kink.com, “We’re not holding events in our space until we have the permits in place. We think we will be functional by the end of this year.”