Barker Block Lofts, 510 Hewitt, is a 297 unit live-work condo loft project which includes Urth Café. Barker Block was an overnight success, years in the making. Located in the Arts District, Barker Block was a collection of empty factory warehouses ripe for loft conversion. Getting there was another matter. As a partner with The Kor Group, then the largest Arts District developer, Kate Bartolo was intimately involved in the acquisition, pre-development and entitlement effort. A pioneering array of land use approvals were requested for Phase 1 and 2. Creative interpretation of key portions of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance was necessary to make the project pencil. Recognizing the importance of retail for neighborhood building, Ms. Bartolo was instrumental in acquiring the Egg Factory site and then persuading Urth Café to locate its commissary and restaurant there. The project ultimately gained the creative interpretation needed to re-characterize basements as loft work spaces and memorialized them in the CC&R’s. The project then faced a major unexpected challenge from the then CRA Board. Mobilizing what was tantamount to a political campaign, Barker Block overcame months of threatened delays and garnered final entitlement approvals. With the Director of Marketing reporting to Ms. Bartolo, she devised a ‘First Time Homebuyer” program to encourage renters to buy Barker Block condos. Today, the project is considered one of the Arts District’s most valuable residential assets.