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Kink.com's Acworth Wants HQ to Be Community Center

Kink.com's Acworth Wants HQ to Be Community Center
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Dec 17, 2010 9:00 AM PST    Text size: 
SAN FRANCISCO — Kink.com's Mission District armory headquarters could be a center for community events if CEO Peter Acworth gets his way.

Although the fetish porn company has been less than a welcomed neighbor in the area, Acworth wants to give back to the community by bringing farmers’ markets, youth sports and fairs to the 200,000-square-foot-14th-Street site that formerly housed a National Guard unit.

The new center would reportedly be equal to the Mission District’s Fort Mason Center in the Marina district, where the largest pavilion is 50,000 square feet and holds 5,000 people.

Kink’s site could work because it’s divided into two parts: an administrative building and a 38,000-square-foot "drill court" with a five-story-high roof that the military used for troop exercises. Acworth said the drill court is now "a large, unnecessary parking lot.”

Acworth said he wants local folks to enjoy themselves on the property’s old drill court. He told ABC News, "It is funny I guess to have them next to each other, but there's a big wall between the two buildings.”

"Sort of a Fort Mason-type place where one week there might be a farmers' market, you know, the next month there might be a flea market and in the interim it might get used for sports practice," he said.

Despite early concerns over having Kink as a neighbor (it was barred from joining the local merchant’s association) feeling it would attract a sleazy element, and hope that the armory would have provided new housing instead of a porn factory, locals appear to be warming up to a community-centric Kink.

"I am shocked because the first engagement that we had with him and that whole process was not nice," community activist Roberto Hernandez said.

Acworth noted that the local worry over Kink after it moved in four years ago never materialized. The company renovated and repaired the building and decorates it with holiday lights and flags.

And Acworth reportedly donated $5,000 to his non-profit next-door neighbor, Arriba Juntos.

"And believe me, I was like shocked to see how great of a person and timid he is," said Dalila Ahumada, the Arriba Juntos executive director.

Kink also raises money by conducting tours of its basement production facility. "People were so curious about what we do they bought tours and we raised $6,000 for charity through selling tours of the rest of the building," Acworth said.

"I love it. I think it's great to have a venue here in our community that could be good use to our community as well as San Francisco and the greater Bay Area," Hernandez said.

Although the community initially balked at the community-center idea, the mood is changing. "People literally wouldn't meet with me," said Caroline Werth, president of Turnaround Arts Management, who was hired to help line up support.

But she and Acworth persisted and stressed that the drill court and the main Armory building where Kink shoots its films would be separate and there would be no access from the drill court area.

"They showed me some plans that looked pretty good," said Larry Del Carlo, president of nonprofit housing group Mission Housing Development Corp., who initially objected to Kink moving in and is now pushing for a place where teens could play sports and do arts and crafts. "When you look at it from a community-need standpoint and what it offers, how could it be a bad thing?"

Acworth recently received permission from the city to upgrade the drill court's electrical systems and fire alarms at a cost estimated to be $200,000 to $300,000.

The CEO intends to have monthly events and then apply for a permanent use permit once he establishes a track record.

Kink could possibly have the drill court community center up and ready by April.

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