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SF Mayor Breed Advocates for San Francisco at CA State Capitol 

SF Mayor Breed Advocates for San Francisco at CA State Capitol 

Mayor Breed to join other California Mayors to speak on current and future initiatives at legislative hearing in the State Capitol, including Mayor Breed’s support for three key state bills authored by the San Francisco legislative delegation 

8 April 2024, San Francisco, CA: Today, Mayor London N. Breed traveled to Sacramento to advocate for the City’s Downtown recovery efforts by leveraging support for key state bills, and testified at the Capitol about the City’s ongoing work and what more is needed to support San Francisco’s Downtown. 

Mayor Breed spoke alongside Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, and Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, at the first hearing of Assemblymember Matt Haney’s Select Committee on Downtown Recovery. The Committee’s goal is to bring together experts from across the state to further explore the barriers to revitalization that downtowns are facing due to the impacts of the pandemic and solutions to help them recover.  

Garnering continued support for San Francisco’s downtown recovery includes advancing state legislation that would encourage renewed investment in downtown San Francisco that is needed to support economic recovery. Mayor Breed is advocating for three pieces of state legislation, authored by San Francisco’s delegation: 

  • SB 1227 (Wiener) would create a Downtown Revitalization Zone in San Francisco for a period of 10 years, streamlining approvals for academic campuses, student housing, sports and entertainment venues, lab and life science space, and other mixed-use and commercial renovations and developments; and create a new financing tool to spur workforce housing in the heart of the City’s jobs center. Mayor Breed is a sponsor of this bill.
  • AB 3068 (Haney) would give cities like San Francisco the ability to create an adaptive reuse incentive program that would help finance office to housing projects. The program would support these projects by giving the City the ability to direct local property tax revenues generated by the projects to offset renovation costs for 15 years. 
  • AB 2488 (Ting) would allow cities to use Enhanced Infrastructure Finance Districts (EIFDs) in downtown areas to help finance office-to-housing conversions by directing tax increment revenue generated in downtown areas to conversion projects and other downtown recovery infrastructure investments over a 30-year period. 

These three pieces of legislation would provide San Francisco with a number of additional tools to revitalize downtown and are a set of creative solutions the City needs to build on local efforts to revitalize the area.  

The Mayor also will testify about commitments she is making to continue to revitalize the area. These include 30 by 30, her proposal to add 30,000 more residents and students to downtown by 2030 through a combination of converting vacant office space to housing, building new housing, and bringing students, faculty, and staff downtown by attracting universities and colleges to the area. 

“San Francisco’s Downtown is changing, and we must be creative and aggressive in our work to transform our City’s core from an outdated 9 to 5 office environment to a bustling 24/7 neighborhood,” said Mayor Breed. “That means adding more housing, students, arts and culture venues to our worldwide reputation as a center of innovation and excellence. We are doing the work locally and will continue to build on our momentum, but there are tools that only the state can provide to help us do even more to revitalize our Downtown.” 

Mayor Breed has launched several key initiatives as part of her larger Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future strategy, including: 

  • Office to Housing: Passed legislation to streamline the conversion process, lower housing fees, and authored a successful ballot measure to waive the transfer tax for conversions. 
  • Tax Reform: Paused scheduled tax increases for retail, restaurants, entertainment, hospitality and other businesses, created a Downtown office tax credit and initiated business tax reform to encourage in-person work and make our tax base more resilient. 
  • Public Safety: Expanded both law enforcement and community ambassador presence in and around Downtown, which has contributed to crime dropping to ten-year lows. 
  • Fill Empty Storefronts: Established the Vacant to Vibrant program that matches pop-up businesses and artists with downtown landlords to activate ground-floor spaces, extended the First Year Free program that has waives City fees for businesses in their first year, and awarded over $20 million in grants to small businesses. 
  • Vibrant Public Spaces: Implemented improvements in public spaces Downtown and Mid-Market such as the Landing at Leidesdorff, Mechanics Monument Plaza, Union Square, Hallidie Plaza, Powell Street, and a new skate park at UN Plaza.

Due to these continued investments and initiatives, San Francisco is beginning to see some initial positive results: 

  • Both international and domestic travel has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Hotel occupancy reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023
  • In 2023, conventions brought in 400,000 visitors, generating $725 million in economic impact.
  • San Francisco is the largest venture capital (VC) market in the world, attracting more than $34 billion in VC deals in 2023.
  • Tenant demand for office space reached 6 million square feet in in the first quarter of 2024, a significant increase from the 4.2 million square feet of demand at the end of last year.