Do you have any information regarding the "International Hotel" in San Francisco and its closing? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I was told in History today that there was once a Manila town in San Francisco. At the heart of this "town" was the International Hotel, otherwise known as the "I" Hotel, where many retired Filipino men lived at the time. I was wondering if anyone had any information regarding its closure and/or why it was torn down. Any information would be helpful in easing a curious mind. Thank you

-- Rosalyn Valera (, March 14, 2001


Rosalyn...the I hotel was owned by the four seasons corporation ( i think that is their name ) and it being very valuable real estate they dicided to tear it down. all the tenants were evicted but many choose to stay there and resist. the remaining tenants formed a group and filed lawsuits and gt a stay order on the demolition. a police officer was photographed standing off a bull dozer at gunpoint. the four seasons was trying to ignore the judges order. eventully, the courts ruled against the tenants and they were evicted by the sheriffs department. and for years after the I was torn down it sat vacant. not sure what is there now

-- mike (, March 16, 2001.

The International Hotel actually had a lively history. At one time, it housed the famous "Hungry I", where many a performing artist got their start--like Bill Cosby.

In the later 1960s and early 1970s, there was tremendous redevelopement occuring on the Embarcadero, the Finanancial District, and the urban removal of the International Settlement along Kearny Street.

Walter Shorenstein, the real estate magnate and Democratic Party fundraiser, owned the I-Hotel. He was going to evict all the tenant and tear down to the property to build an office building. But his plans got askwed, radical students filtered back to the community and offered a hand to the tenants to fight eviction.

The commercial tenants vacated the premises. The storefronts were then rented to community organizations. There were several, independent, organizations in the various storefronts.

Walter Shorenstein got beat down. He sold the property to the Four Seasons Corportation, a combination of a Thai and Chinatown frontman. There was rumour that the Thai connection was involved in some sort of illicit money.

The issue of the I-Hotel became a real hot political potato. The Sheriff of the Country, Richard Hongisto, orginally spent a couple of days in jail rather than evict the tennants. But eventually, he carried out his sworn duty.

On the night of eviction, which was about 2 AM, about 2000 people came out to stop the eviction. They formed a ring around the Hotel about four or five deep. People were shoulder to shoulder. They held up against three horse charges before the tenants asked they disperse and not take any more harm.

A great many of the tenants later relocated to the St. Paul Hotel on Kearny at Bush. The building was torn down so people couldn't move back in. The bricks were sold to a developer who used them in townhouses in Hayward.

But the development never happend. The lot is still vacant. It is slated to be low cost housing...and probably some other things. It probably saved Chinatown and North Beach from a similar fate. The high rises stopped at the Holiday Inn!

-- ziggy (, March 26, 2001.

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