SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For a century and a half, San Francisco’s Chinatown, the nation’s oldest, has sheltered waves of immigrants seeking a new life.

It’s the birthplace of Chinese America, and to some extent, the broader Asian America that descended from immigration over the Pacific Ocean throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Now, Chinatown faces powerful economic and demographic challenges that could upend its identity as the city undergoes an unprecedented growth in tech jobs.

Likewise, Chinatown real estate broker Pius Lee has championed restaurateur George Chen, who is opening a food hall and high-end restaurant in a multistory building where the popular dim sum palace Gold Mountain once stood. It will be called China Live.

Chen, who noted the coming subway factored into his decision, said he is all too aware that he’s dealing with space sacred to old-timers.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh my God. You just took over Gold Mountain. What’re you going to do? It’s not going to be a giant Starbucks, is it?’ ” Chen said. “All we’re doing is adding a little more of a modern flavor.”

Diners new to Chinatown will walk with the immigrants who still come across the Pacific. – San Francisco Chronicle (07.25.15)