Supporting Downtown’s Recovery
My fellow San Franciscans,
A healthy and thriving Downtown is the heart of our economy and funds all the critical neighborhood services our residents expect and deserve. Revitalizing Downtown is at the center of what we have to focus on to keep San Francisco moving in the right direction. To that end, we are making significant progress implementing our Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future. In only six months, we have:
Passed tax incentives to recruit new office businesses?
Changed laws to make it easier to convert and fill empty space?
Extended small business support to fill vacant storefronts?
Launched activations to bring more people downtown during the week and on weekends?
Extended key transit connections to Downtown, and secured state funding to keep our transit agencies running?
Funded key public safety measures in our budget – including hiring 220 new officers to help address police staffing?
While this work around Downtown will take time, we are seeing improvements.??
A recent study of 11 cities?revealed that San Francisco had the largest year over year increase in office foot traffic, increasing by 38% between July 2023 and the previous year. ?
Office demand in San Francisco increased by 10%, driven largely by AI companies.?
Downtown is seeing a “bar boom.”
This fall, San Francisco will be hosting the largest AI conference in the world, when we welcome Dreamforce. We’ve got Fleet Week returning. And in November, APEC is coming, which is a gathering of heads of state and business leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region, including the President of the United States. All eyes will be on San Francisco, and we are excited to welcome the world to our City.
Celebrating Ikea Opening???
This week also brought great news to Market Street with the opening of the new Ikea. The space Ikea took over had been empty long before the pandemic, and we began talking to Ikea leadership about possibly filling this space in 2018. I’m proud to see the space now filled, and there is more to come as they are also bringing a co-working space and more to the other floors.??
The IKEA will bring jobs, activity, and excitement to our Market Street and Union Square area. And they aren’t alone. A new restaurant opening in Union Square that may be the largest in our City. This is the kind of investment we are excited to see and we will keep doing our part to make sure there are ambassadors to make people feel welcome and police officers to address issues in the area.??
Filling Empty Storefronts: Vacant to Vibrant?
Last week, I announced the 17 awardees who make up the first cohort of San Francisco’s?Vacant to Vibrant?program. This innovative concept to fill empty storefronts with pop-up activations will begin to operate in nine Downtown properties next month, supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as activating our streets.?
I will continue to invest in initiatives that support the small business sector, a vital contributor to the City’s economy and vibrancy. I want to thank the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for all their work in partnership with SF New Deal to make this program a reality as envisioned in my Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future plan. Together, we are sending a message to the world that San Francisco is open for business!?
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London N. Breed