San Francisco changing laws to fill vacant space, reform taxes, clean up streets

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California Construction News staff writer

After six months of work, Mayor London Breed updated San Francisco’s plan to transform downtown.

The Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future has five key priorities:

  • An economically diverse and resilient job engine
  • A welcoming clean and safe environment
  • A dynamic destination active at all hours, every day
  • A world class transportation experience
  • An equitable economy that supports full participation by all

Highlights include:

In August 2023, some key 6-month milestones for the Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future include:

Secured funding to ensure a total increase of over 15,000 housing slots and nearly 4,000 shelters beds since 2018.

  • Amended City codes to ensure flexible zoning to accommodate the widest possible range of activities and uses.
  • Initiated plans to bring more public employees Downtown, by working with the City Administrator, the School District, and City College to identify opportunities in underutilized buildings.
  • Received submittals of interest for five potential downtown residential conversions, in response to recent Request for Information (RFI).
  • Matched aspiring entrepreneurs and artists with vacant ground floor space Downtown through the Vacant to Vibrant program, with activators opening in September.
  • Extended the First Year Free program to eliminate City permit costs for new business ventures.
  • Facilitated over 100 changes to the Planning Code to ease permitting of ground floor commercial spaces, via pending legislation.

As part of the Housing for All Plan, there will be sweeping changes to make housing construction financially feasible, and continued efforts to reform administrative City approval and permitting process.

So far, 2,630 San Francisco job seekers have been registered in workforce services in the first six months of 2023, with over 1,954 candidates referred through Neighborhood Job Centers.

Transportation projects are also a priority and the mayor says the following accomplishments were completed in the first six months of 2023:

  • Secured one-time state funding for public transportation to prevent SFMTA, BART, and other public transit agencies from having to cut service as long-term funding is stabilized.
  • Launched programs to increase downtown accessibility, including a pilot program for express service on Muni’s 1 California line during the morning and evening rush hours and a partnership with Golden Gate Transit to add more capacity for downtown bound trips from the Marina and Cow Hollow.
  • Saw Muni’s daily weekday boarding increase by approximately 33,000 from the start of 2023, and BART weekday ridership by approximately 25,000 daily riders.

“We’re incredibly optimistic about the future of Downtown San Francisco. Through our acquisition of 60 Spear and support of grassroots efforts like the ‘WeLoveSF’ campaign, we’re committed to revitalizing this global innovation hub,” said Cyrus Sanandaji, Founder and Managing Partner, Presidio Bay Ventures. “While we recognize there’s a lot of work ahead, we believe the city is on the right path.

“Presidio Bay firmly believes that a politics of moderation and common-sense solutions, such as those proposed in the ‘Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future,’ will guide our collective progress toward a brighter future.”

Learn more about the Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future on this website.

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