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Fell And Laguna's Parcel O To Become Temporary Arts Space

There’s more development news on the horizon for Hayes Valley – and this time it has nothing to do with housing. At least, not yet.

We brought word earlier this month that a proposal had been submitted by Mercy Housing to build a 50-foot tall affordable housing complex for low-income families in the northern section of Parcel O, located at Fell and Laguna. Construction is still a long ways off, and in the meantime, the former Hayes Valley Farm space will be home to another community-minded project.

In partnership with the Mayor’s office and District 5 Supervisor London Breed, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association will have free use of Parcel O for 18 months, beginning August 1st. Hayes Valley fixture Russell Pritchard, who's now retired after closing his longtime home goods store Zonal, presented the news. “Parcel O will be ours,” he said at last week's HVNA meeting.

This past week, Pritchard met with Avalon Properties representatives who are currently using Parcel O as a staging ground for their construction of the Avalon apartment building on the southern half of the parcel. Avalon, according to Pritchard, will work with HVNA on the project and plans to keep the construction trailer at the corner of the lot for use as an art gallery. In addition, a single-wide trailer will be placed along the Fell Street side for artists-in-residence, workshops, and community events, much like the shipping container-turned-gallery pop-up in Proxy over the winter.

The outdoor space is expected to be prepped for use as a sculpture garden/outdoor art installation and public use space, Pritchard confirmed. The ground will eventually be laid with gravel for ADA access, and will be seeded with drought-tolerant grasses.  

Pritchard emphasized the importance of promoting the area’s interim use, an approach which the neighborhood encountered with the Hayes Valley Farm, an interim use project which closed down in June 2013. After three and a half years, the volunteer-based farm, which had brought much-needed greenery to a "wasteland of rubble and ivy" following the Central Freeway removal in the '90s, permanently vacated the lot to make room for development. 

Expect additional updates and news as plans for the new interim-use project become finalized over the next couple of months. 

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