A longtime San Francisco business owner is facing “financial ruin” after “widespread drug use, violence and filthy streets” destroyed his neighborhood, making it impossible to keep his companies afloat.
Mark Sackett, owner of multiple businesses, including a “South of Market building with a printmaker, antiques shop and events venue called the Box SF for almost two decades,” revealed his struggles in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.
He condemned local leaders for failing to keep the city clean as he faces “financial ruin because he’s been unable to refinance a $2.5 million mortgage due in February.”
Sackett said he has lost out on nearly $250,000 in 2023 due to cancellations and a decrease in venue bookings, recalling how potential clients have declined to book events because they suspect the neighborhood is too dangerous.
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He recalled how six of the 30 different lenders who declined to help him refinance explicitly stated that they “are not making commercial real estate loans in San Francisco due to the state of the city.”
The business owner blames “widespread drug use, violence and filthy streets in the neighborhood for his inability to address his loan,” the Chronicle reported.
“Since the pandemic, the area has fallen to the worst condition Sackett has ever experienced.”
Next door to his building is a brand new drug sobering center, with Sackett reporting that people are now smoking fentanyl at his business’s loading dock.
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@RawRicci415 / Twitter
“He said his staff used pepper spray on four people trying to break in, and last year, someone attacked him with a knife. A window is currently broken, and he will have to pay around $4,000 to replace it,” the local outlet reported.
As a result, his building is now scheduled to be auctioned “at a massive loss” in January. He is expecting his other businesses to be forced to close as well.
Sackett has tried to beautify the neighborhood by commissioning a mural and adding planters, but the area is still littered with needles and human feces.
“All so sad for me,” he wrote on X.
All so sad for me https://t.co/ooGjX53as9
— Mark E. Sackett (@MarkESackett) November 22, 2023
He blames city leadership.
“They don’t even return my calls,” Sackett said. “They care about bike lanes, nonprofits, safe injection sites…They have just ignored small business.”
Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Matt Dorsey, who represents the district where Sackett’s building is located, said his city’s problems have worsened since the coronavirus pandemic.
“…[E]specially in terms of the number of shelter-in-place hotels here, and the myriad public safety challenges attributable to open-air drug markets and public drug use,” he told the Chronicle.
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San Francisco Police Department
He added that while he is “optimistic” about seeing the area get better, “for too many businesses like Mark’s, we’re just not recovering fast enough.”
Sackett pointed out the irony that city officials seem to restrict business owners more than homeless individuals on the street.
“I can put a tent in front of someone’s front door and sleep…but the city comes after me for ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance,” he said.