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826 Valencia Tenderloin Center

San Francisco, California

Not-for-profit 826 Valencia’s latest venture is the retail component of this mixed-use learning space that supports the creative writing skills of under-resourced students. Located in a former liquor store in the city’s densely populated, low-income Tenderloin district, the quirky retail shop is designed to delight, inspire and encourage exploration. Christened “King Carl’s Emporium,” the space features a “fog bank,” a wall of eclectic doors and a secret passageway. Gensler’s and others’ services were provided pro-bono, a truly collaborative effort among design partners involving significant hands-on participation during build-out. The resulting space captures the hearts of children and adults alike.