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Mayor Lee Celebrates Positive Impact of Community Benefit Districts
New Economic Analysis Shows Positive Impact of Community Benefit Districts on Improving Neighborhoods, Program to Expand to Three New Neighborhoods
Posted Date: 2/11/2013
Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the results of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD) Impact Analysis of San Francisco’s Community Benefit Districts (CBDs). The evaluation was conducted to measure the success of existing districts in meeting strategic goals set forth for the CBD program including the improvement of the public realm, cleanliness and public safety and the creation of economically viable neighborhood business districts.

“Community Benefit Districts are a prime example of successful public-private partnerships,” said Mayor Lee. “This new OEWD Impact Analysis demonstrates the positive and measurable impacts that CBD service and investment have on our City’s commercial neighborhood corridors. More importantly, as each neighborhood takes an economic step forward, so does our City.”

“CBDs are key partners in our efforts to keep our neighborhoods safe, clean, and vibrant,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener. “They perform critical work in the neighborhoods and are effective eyes and ears, since their staff is physically present every day. CBDs can quickly alert city agencies of issues that need to be addressed. I work closely with the CBDs in my district to ensure good management of our neighborhood public spaces. I’m grateful for their work.”

Due to the successes seen in existing areas, several new CBDs are in the planning and formation process. The Broadway, Embarcadero, and Rincon Hill commercial districts are all in the formation process. Several other commercial districts are starting to form steering committees to jumpstart the formation process.

The new Impact Analysis focused on 11 locally managed property and business improvement districts that are based on specific geographic areas within San Francisco in operation as of 2012. These 11 CBDs/BIDs cover nearly 3 percent of San Francisco by land area, sustain more than 60 full-time jobs and invested $9.9 million investment in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to improve their mixed use neighborhood commercial areas.

The Impact Analysis demonstrated that on average, CBD-maintained streets were found to be cleaner than similar commercial streets located in the same Supervisorial district, suggesting that supplementary CBD street cleaning services have a measurable impact on public realm cleanliness. Additionally, the Impact Analysis shows that CBDs were insulated from the effect of the 2007-2009 economic recession. Specifically, CBDs retained more value in their properties, experienced less significant reduction in sales tax revenues, and maintained lower commercial vacancy rates than what was experienced across the City.

The Impact Analysis also highlights physical environment investments yielded since 1999, some of which include 36 unique public art installations, creation and or improvement of 25 public open spaces and 337 new street trees planted.

“The data analyzed in the CBD/BID impact report verifies the positive results we have seen in Noe Valley; our property owners, merchants and neighborhood residents have benefitted greatly from the presence of our Community Benefit District and its’ partnership with the City,” said Noe Valley Association CBD Executive Director Debra Niemann.

Community Benefit Districts are public-private partnerships in which property and/or business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development, and promotion of their mixed use neighborhood though a special assessment to the property or business.

Community Benefit Districts emerged San Francisco in 1999 with the founding of the original Union Square Business Improvement Districts (BID). The program has grown rapidly following the creation of OEWD’s technical assistance program, which is designed to incubate this innovative economic development strategy in 2004. Today there are 13 San Francisco-based CBD/BID districts that represent the diversity of the City’s vibrant neighborhood commercial corridors, including Greater Union Square, North Market/Tenderloin, Fisherman’s Wharf Landside & Portside CBDs, Noe Valley, Castro/Upper Market, 2500 Block Mission, Central Market, Yerba Buena, Ocean Avenue, Civic Center, Moscone Expansion District and Tourism Improvement District, a Citywide CBD.

For more information on Community Benefit Districts, go to: http://www.oewd.org/Neighborhood-Revitalization-Community-Benefit-Districts.aspx