San Francisco's Tenderloin district- notoriously seedy and poor- is also one the densest neighborhoods in the city, and greatly in need of fresh produce and groceries. City officials are trying to attract a store, but it's a tough sell.
"It's not a challenge entirely unique to the area. Many grocery stores have pulled out of urban areas in recent years, including some San Francisco neighborhoods. But the demographics and reputation of the Tenderloin make things all the more difficult.
"It's so important to have, but it's one of those things that most of us live our lives without being aware of - except for the people who have to hop onto Muni and lug back their groceries," said Don Falk, executive director of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp., which owns a parking lot at Eddy and Taylor streets. The nonprofit housing company hopes to develop the land into a 14-story residential tower for low-income families, with a grocery store on the ground floor.
But after several studies, a lot of outreach and a few close calls, Falk and Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has met with grocers, aren't much closer than they were two years ago.
A number of stores have turned the city down cold, while others, like Fresh and Easy - a chain that will soon be moving into the Bayview neighborhood, a huge coup for Newsom - pulled out when representatives visited the proposed site, which is just a block from a Hilton hotel but seems worlds away."