Forced out of Waller skate park, Off the Grid applies to activate Upper Haight McDonald's site

Photo: Off The Grid/Facebook

After nine years of hosting regular food truck markets at Waller and Stanyan streets, Off the Grid is winding down operations in the Upper Haight.

Following this Thursday's market, Off the Grid's customary spot in the Waller Street skate park will be sacrificed to storage for construction crews working on the two-year Upper Haight infrastructure improvement project, which is slated for completion in late 2020.

But the local food-truck curator isn't ready to quit the neighborhood. Spokesperson Dana Smith said the group is applying to temporarily take over 3,500 square feet of prime real estate at 730 Stanyan St., currently the site of a shuttered McDonald's restaurant that's awaiting demolition for a forthcoming affordable housing project.

Proposed as an interim solution to activate the space in the years it will take the city to plan and build housing there, Off the Grid says its temporary market, food-truck park and community space will offer "a safe, beautiful and inviting civic space and cultural asset."

"Having put down pretty deep roots" in the neighborhood, "Off the Grid is committed to continuing to build community and opportunity in the Haight," Smith said.
McDonald's closure temporarily frees up roughly 3,500 square feet of prime real estate. | Photo via Google

In addition to providing space for a rotating roster of the more than 250 food trucks that work with Off the Grid, Smith said that the market would incorporate elements like a covered courtyard, a beer garden (executed in collaboration with Magnolia founder Dave McLean), and entertainment like "movies, musical performances, farmer's markets, and children's activities."

The site would also aim to serve the community via senior and youth services, pop-up businesses, a flower nursery and micro-business/food incubator opportunities.

In order to garner community feedback on the project, Smith said, Off the Grid will hold a public meeting sponsored by three neighborhood groups as soon as the request for proposal is released by the city.

But for now, Off the Grid is saying farewell to the Upper Haight with its final food-truck gathering at the Waller Street skate park, to be held tomorrow (Thursday, September 27) from 5-9 p.m.

We'll keep you posted when the first community meeting for a market at 730 Stanyan is scheduled.
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