City Lights Bookstore: Threats to the Site
The potential expansion of the financial district is a threat to the neighborhood that supports City Lights, and therefore a threat to City Lights itself. The bookstore sits right on the edge of San Francisco’s economic center. Despite the proximity to the skyscrapers, North Beach has continued to maintain a small, cohesive true neighborhood feel with some relatively affordable housing, mainly in the form of SRO (single room occupancy) hotels and small apartments. While City Lights owns the building that they operate from, neighboring residential buildings and businesses face the threat of being displaced by higher-profit tenants. The potential change to the demographic of the tenants could dramatically alter the character of the neighborhood. Preventing developers who try to expand high rises and condominiums into the Chinatown and North Beach areas will continue to be crucial in preserving the City Lights community.
Keeping rent affordable for tenants is vital in keeping the literary nature to the neighborhood. In order to maintain a creative community that is supportive of City Lights it is vital to keep the single room occupancy hotels in the area so that particularly artists (including the poets of the Beat Generation who may be nearing an age where they are too old to work) and creative folk struggling financially can still stay in the neighborhood and bring their work to the community.
Here are some links to community groups working on behalf of the neighborhood in various ways:
Chinatown Community Development Center: http://www.chinatowncdc.org/
North Beach Merchants Association: http://northbeachmerchants.com/index.html
Telegraph Hill Dwellers: http://www.thd.org/
North Beach Citizens: http://www.northbeachcitizens.org/
Manilatown Heritage Foundation (I-Hotel senior housing): http://www.manilatown.org/