Big Changes in Jackson Square


If you stroll through Jackson Square these days, you’ll notice a whole new crop of businesses. Many of the longtime art and antique shops have moved out due to rent increases, and a slew of upscale retailers have moved in over the past year or so.

Isabel Marant led the pack, followed by Shinola (lifestyle items), JAKE (apparel), A.P.C. Denim, Guideboat (casual wear and lifestyle items), Aesop (healthy and beauty), an urban-focused version of The North Face, and Pia (designer wear in the former La Boutique space; read more here). There’s more to come, including The Rug Company in the Genoa Building (728 Montgomery St.) and a new wine bar by the Quince/Cotogna folks in the former Barrique (461 Pacific Ave.).

Also, high-end Danish furniture retailer Republic of Fritz Hansen is moving into 440 Jackson, the former longtime home of John Velasquez Salon. Read more about that here. For those of you who miss John, he temporarily moved to V Salon Studios on Montgomery Street, but we’re pleased to announce he’ll reopen a new salon at 437 Pacific Ave. starting Nov. 1.

So why all the movement? Many of the city’s commercial districts have limits on “formula retail,” a/k/a chain stores, but that’s not true of Jackson Square. Formula retail rules say that if a company has 11 or more locations worldwide, they’re not allowed in certain districts in order to “maintain neighborhood individuality,” according to information on the SF Planning Department website.

Because there’s no such restrictions in Jackson Square, it’s possible for major brands to move in. And they can afford to pay the skyrocketing rents, unlike many smaller local merchants. What do you think? Is Jackson Square better or worse off with this new mix? Have you shopped at any of the new boutiques? Noticed more foot traffic and activity? Join us at the November social to discuss!