The SF Flower Mart is in danger, and you should probably care. Why? For one, it’s one of the city’s oldest and most beloved institutions. Second, Martha Stewart has gone on the record to define it as “the best in the country.” And believe us when we tell you that woman does not mince words in regards to the floral things in life. Third, if a city values nothing--not even its own history--what hope does it have at being valuable itself?
The history of the SF Flower Mart is much richer than one may realize. Originally opening its doors at the turn of the 20th century, the Flower Mart was created to serve the needs of the city and showcase the diverse and bountiful flora the Bay Area had to offer. Moreover, the institution itself was founded by Japanese immigrants, thus making the Flower Mart one of the oldest and most revered Japanese-American owned operations in the United States.
In 2014, the stability of the establishment was put into question when Kilroy Realty Corporation bought the Flower Mart altogether. Plans to tear down the marketplace and erect high-rise tech buildings in its place became evident, prompting local suppliers and florists to fear for their place amidst all the changes. Kilroy then assured tenants their mart would continue to exist in the basement of the soon-to-be-built structure. Forced to relocate either way, the market has since been moved to the Bayview District in the interim. Just four years since this upheaval, however, Kilroy has now decided the mart is to be moved once more, this time to the Piers 19, 19 ½, and 23. Tenants and florists in general have voiced the seemingly unworkable qualities of the new location through a petition on change.org, now totaling nearly 14,000 signatures. Relocated and essentially displaced multiple times in less than five years, the Flower Mart’s tenants and customers alike worry for the establishment’s place in the ever-changing plans of Kilroy’s new building project. The petition explains florists’ fears that the Flower Mart will receive no protection from Kilroy or the City of San Francisco, and ultimately buckle under the pressure of corporate developers.
Do what you will with the facts, but we’ve got words for you, San Francisco: surely a city’s future lies in its progress, but its character is deeply rooted in its past. Let’s not allow a longstanding pillar of authentic SF to wilt away.
// Thoughts on the fate of the Flower Mart? Let us know! Photo by the Well Traveled Wife.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.