Porn king won't join Mission association now 

Seemingly in a quandary due to a delayed membership application into a neighborhood association, Peter Acworth, founder of Kink.com — which will producefetishistic films at the former State Armory in the Mission — is now bound by his own request to postpone the application for a year and a promise that "his presence in the neighborhood will be a positive one."

In a letter presented at Tuesday’s Mission Merchants Association meeting, Acworth explained, "I understand there has been some debate over whether to accept my application for membership to the Mission Merchants Association. … Nothing would sadden me more."

Acworth’s vow is the latest in the controversy surrounding his $14.5 million private purchase of the armory. The 190,000-square-foot building at Mission and 14th has sat empty since 1975, when the California National Guard abandoned it. In 1986, a private developer bought the building with the intent of turning the space into housing, but the plans never came to fruition because of community opposition. The armory has been used primarily as a target for vandals since then.

Despite the fact that Acworth bought the building privately, he has sought to reach out to the community. He said that he plans to add lighting and trees to the armory’s exterior and that the only sign he expects to put up will read "The Armory."

In the association’s last meeting on Jan. 16, Acworth wrote a $100 membership check to join the association shortly after the meeting.

Jean Feilmoser, president of the Mission Merchants Association, said Treasurer Chris Collins held on to the check but never cashed it. Collins is out of the country and was not available for comment.

"Cashing that check would have meant Kink.com was a member," Feilmoser said.

Although the association officially welcomed him into the neighborhood at the end of the January meeting, Feilmoser said she was inundated with more than 50 e-mail complaints after the meeting.

"There were threats [from members] saying they didn’t want to be in an organization that supports what Kink.com stands for," Feilmoser said.

At the association’s January meeting, Acworth was met with concerns and complaints from board members and local business owners who were upset that they were not notified about the "porn palace." Those familiar with the building’s history were also baffled at how the process was quickly completed within two months.

Roberto Hernandez, who serves as vice president of special events for the association, says his stance on Kink.com’s presence in the neighborhood hasn’t changed much.

"I just don’t want [Kink.com] in front of homes," Hernandez said

Michael Gardner, an association member, still doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

"People are letting their emotions get the best of them," Gardner said.

"eeconomides@examiner.com

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