SFJAZZ Center approvals expected on Thursday 

A hulking 800-person jazz performance center that’s planned in the Hayes Valley neighborhood could have its construction plans approved on Thursday.

As first reported by the San Francisco Examiner, SFJAZZ, an Embarcadero-based nonprofit that organizes jazz concerts and festivals, plans to replace an auto body shop on Franklin Street with a three-story building for performances, classes and administration headquarters.

If approved by city leaders, the gray SFJAZZ Center could be built between Linden and Fell streets near a performing arts district that houses the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet.

Planning Department staff urged the Planning Commission to approve the construction project during a City Hall hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

“The auditorium will serve as an important cultural and entertainment venue, drawing patrons from throughout The City and the region,” planning staff wrote in a memo. “Beyond the performances, the project will also offer valuable music education opportunities that would serve students from the surrounding neighborhood and The City as a whole.”

The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association supports the project and it asked for a crosswalk to be reintroduced at the intersection of Fell and Franklin streets.

A neighbor wrote to the planning department expressing concerns over the bulk and size of the fortress-like building, department records show.

Construction work could begin next summer, with the facility planned to open in late 2012, according to SFJAZZ Executive Operating Director Felice Swapp.

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