San Francisco

Sterling Bank to move into ground floor of controversial Church & Market building

Sterling Bank & Trust has gotten the go-ahead from the Planning Department to move into the ground floor of a recently constructed building at 2100 Market St. (at Church and 14th). 

The move will be a convenient one: Sterling has been located right next door, at 2122 Market St., since 1997. Senior vice president and regional manager Steve Adams says the bank will make the move in June or July. 

The move was necessary because the bank's lease is up, Adams said. He wants to stay at Church & Market because "that's where our customers are," from small business owners to people who live in Market Street's SROs.

The bank needed authorization for the move from Planning because it qualifies as "formula retail," with 20 branches in the Bay Area and two on the East Coast. At Sterling's Planning Commission hearing, Adams tried to distinguish himself from larger banking chains, noting that he also lives in the neighborhood.

"I am a community bank," he said. "I am not Wells Fargo, I am not [Bank of America]." 

The current storefront of Sterling Bank, at 2122 Market St.

The new bank will have an open floor plan, with a 24-hour ATM and exterior security cameras. Adams noted that the corner has "been long neglected," and he plans to have the sidewalk steam-cleaned weekly, likely starting next month.

Adams said he's also willing to make the new bank's conference room available for neighborhood community meetings, encouraging neighbors to reach out to him or the branch manager once it opens. 

The developer of the building, Brian Spiers, told Hoodline that he has known Adams for a long time, and is excited to have him as a stable tenant. A second, smaller retail space on the building's ground floor remains available. 

Spiers also pointed to Adams' involvement in the community. He currently serves as the president of the city's Small Business Commission, and was previously board president of the Castro Merchants for more than five years.

Sterling Bank (left) will relocate to the currently empty retail space on the right.

The 2100 Market building drew controversy last summer, after all of its 52 market-rate units were leased to Sonder, a San Francisco-based startup specializing in furnished apartment rentals. Many neighbors expressed concern about the loss of permanent dwelling units amid San Francisco's ongoing housing crisis.

Sonder officially welcomed its first tenants last September, and Spiers tells us that 44 of the 52 apartments are currently leased. 23 of the 44 apartments are on one-year leases, while the remaining 21 are on leases ranging from 30 days to six months.

The building also has eight below-market-rate (BMR) units, which are operated by the Mayor’s Office of Housing. A lottery to determine the future tenants of the BMR apartments took place on January 7, Spiers said, and the winners will soon begin to tour the building in lottery rank order.

2100 Market Street

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