Empress/West Cork Hotel

In 1981, the Empress Hotel was shut down, taking 88 units of low-income housing off the market. Almost 20 years later in the middle of a critical shortage of affordable housing, the new owners tried to illegally reopen the hotel for tourist use under the name West Cork Hotel. Despite the owners’ high-paid lawyers and $100,000 budget and a city board reluctant to hear community concerns, the Tenderloin neighborhood and the Central City SR.O. Collaborative won. The San Francisco Board of Permit Appeals finally bowed to community pressure and ordered the Empress to remain wholly residential.

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