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The transformation of San Francisco’s waterfront, and the many exciting opportunities and challenges it presents–was the focus of Leadership California’s July 20th afternoon program. As part of their yearlong California Issues & Trends Program (CIT), women leaders from across California gained insight from San Francisco women who are leading major development projects along the waterfront.

Rebecca Benassini from the Port of San Francisco started the presentation by providing an overview of the catalytic projects stretching from north to south along the City’s seven miles of waterfront. Nadia Sesay of the Office of Community Investment & Infrastructure (OCII) described the innovative public private partnership that OCII is undertaking with Five Point at Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point (The Shipyard). Ivy Greaner of Five Point described the key development components of both The Shipyard and Treasure Island that Five Point is currently implementing. Anne Taupier of the Office of Economic & Workforce Development described the key negotiating principles that have provided the framework for innovative public private partnerships at Mission Rock, Pier 70 and HPS/CP to enhance transit access, create housing affordable to a broad range of local residents and workers and provide new parks, artist studios, maker space for local artisans, and small business and employment programs for local residents along the southern waterfront. Libby Seifel, an alumna of the Leadership California program, moderated the panel and led an interactive discussion on lessons learned and best practices regarding on how to create successful public private partnerships that transform communities while addressing key community goals. OCII staff then led CIT women on a dynamic tour of the new neighborhood that is being created at The Shipyard.

Leadership California is a network of accomplished women who are dedicated to advancing the leadership role that women play in impacting business, social issues and public policy. The CIT Program brings together a diverse group of women from a broad range of sectors, ethnicities, regions and professional backgrounds.


ULI San Francisco’s Housing the Bay initiative features two San Francisco forums next week that explore housing affordability and public policy.

The Future is Now: Modular Construction in the Bay Area (Tuesday, July 18 at 5pm). Modular construction provides an opportunity for reduced hard costs during a time when it is getting increasingly difficult to make projects pencil. Join industry professionals Rick Holliday (Holliday Development), Fei Tsen (Windflower Properties), Larry Pace (Cannon Constructors) and Jay Bradshaw (NorCal Carpenters Regional Council) in a discussion on the evolving modular industry, the prospects that this construction methodology provides, and what the future of modular construction means for the Bay Area.

360 Look at a Win-Win Public Engagement: 1028 Market Street (Thursday, July 20 at 8am). A recently-entitled mixed-use residential and retail project located in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood, 1028 Market Street took a creative turn in its use of the vacant building during the entitlement process, as it transformed into “The Hall“, a valuable community hub. Moderated by Brooke Ray Rivera (Build Public) and including panelists Ilana Lipsett (Tidewater Capital), Randy Shaw (Tenderloin Housing Clinic) and Marlo Sandler (San Francisco Planning), the panel will provide a 360-degree perspective on this unique (and successful) approach to community engagement with representatives from the developer, the community, and the City.


Housing the Bay is a new initiative launched by ULI San Francisco in collaboration with SPUR and other local partners to address the underlying issues affecting housing cost and supply in the Bay Area. Through ongoing events, research and workshops (including the October 6 Housing the Bay Summit), this initiative is dedicated to delivering innovative housing solutions for the Bay Area in the realms of real estate financing, construction costs, policy and the public process.
 

“The Future is Now: Modular Construction in the Bay Area” takes place Tuesday, July 18 at 5pm. Click here for complete details and registration.
 

“360 Look at a Win-Win Public Engagement: 1028 Market Street” takes place Thursday, July 20 at 8am. Click here for complete details and registration.


(UPDATE!  “360 Look at a Win-Win Public Engagement: 1028 Market Street” is currently sold out!? See registration page for waitlist info!)

 

(Special thanks to DPR Construction for hosting the event at their space.)


"Housing the Bay” is a new initiative launched by ULI San Francisco in collaboration with SPUR and other local partners to address the underlying issues affecting housing cost and supply in the Bay Area. Through ongoing events, research and workshops (including the October 6 Housing the Bay Summit), this initiative is dedicated to finding lasting housing solutions for the Bay Area.

On Tuesday, June 27, Housing the Bay presents "Housing the Missing Middle: A New Financial Frontier”, a lively discussion to share ideas, strategies and market-driven solutions for increasing middle-income housing throughout the Bay Area. With approaches ranging from impact funds to non-traditional equity sources to new statewide programs intended to spur private-sector development, this forum will explore multiple tools to finance housing in the Bay Area. Moderated by Eric Tao (AGI Avant), the four dynamic panelists will present their innovative approaches to housing the missing middle: Nicholas Targ (Holland and Knight), Rebecca Foster (San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund), Kevin Zwick (Housing Trust Silicon Valley) and Anne McCulloch (Housing Partnership Equity Trust).

“Housing the Missing Middle” takes place Tuesday, June 27 at 5pm. For complete details and registration, visit https://sf.uli.org/event/new-financial-frontier-leveraging-market-forces-solve-missing-middle/

Special thanks to SmithGroupJJR for hosting the event at their offices at 301 Battery Street. 


The Bay Area housing shortage leads many residents and businesses to cite housing affordability as the top issue facing the region. SPUR’s Tuesday, June 27 lunchtime forum poses the questions: Just how much housing does the Bay Area need to build? How much of that housing should be subsidized and for whom? Where are the opportunity sites to build?

Co-presented by the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC), SPUR’s session “How Many Homes Should We Have?” brings together private and public sector perspectives on the Bay Area’s housing challenges: Ted Egan (San Francisco Office of the Controller), Pedro Galvao (NPH), James Pappas (San Francisco Planning Department) and Libby Seifel (Seifel Consulting, active SPUR/ULI/NPH member on housing issues).

Please join the discussion on Tuesday, June 27 at 12:30pm at SPUR’s Urban Center (654 Mission Street). Tickets are free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members, and no pre-registration required. For more details/registration, visit http://www.spur.org/events/2017-06-27/how-many-homes-should-we-have.

UPDATE (July 7, 2017)
Click here to view the entire presentation!


Housing costs have continued to rise since 2014, when The Urbanist featured "The Real Cost of Building Housing” in San Francisco. SPUR’s upcoming panel, "Why Housing Costs So Much” will feature industry insiders Mark Hogan (OpenScope Studio), Ann Silverberg (BRIDGE Housing), Taeko Takagi (Pankow) and Libby Seifel (Seifel Consulting). This lively group of panelists will dissect the complex cost factors in housing development, explore the reasons for why costs have continued to increase and suggest what could be done do to help curtail them. (Mark and Libby previously examined these very issues at a SPUR session in early 2014.)

Please join on May 30 for this panel. Admission is free for SPUR members/$10 for non-members. Check out SPUR for more information: http://www.spur.org/events/2017-05-30/why-does-housing-cost-so-much

  • SPUR Lunchtime Forum: “Why Does Housing Cost So Much?”
  • 12:30pm on Tuesday 5/30, SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

UPDATE (July 7, 2017)

 

 


Located adjacent to the intersection of Highway 101 and 85, Ameswell Mountain View is planned as a LEED Platinum office and hotel complex featuring more than 200,000 square feet of office space and 250 modern luxury hotel rooms located at the gateway to both North Bayshore and downtown Mountain View. The City of Mountain View and the developer—Broadreach Capital Partners—entered into a public private partnership for this development at 750 Moffett Boulevard in 2015. The Mountain View City Council adopted resolutions certifying the project's Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), making required CEQA findings and conditionally approving its permits in October 2016. The developer is currently working on construction drawings and the final design elements. (Click here to take a virtual tour of the project!)

Seifel provided real estate and property development advisory services to the City in support of the 7-acre, City-owned Moffett Gateway property (now Ameswell Mountain View). Collaborating with David Babcock and Associates (DBA) who provided urban design services, Seifel evaluated the financial feasibility of alternative development scenarios and recommended the consideration of office, hotel and retail uses at the site. Seifel subsequently advised the City on the developer solicitation process, helping to prepare the Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals, in collaboration with City staff, Maurice Robinson & Associates and Baker Street Associates. Seifel facilitated the developer evaluation process and advised the City on selection of the Broadreach development team and on the subsequent negotiation process for the area. (See here more on Seifel’s services to Mountain View for this and other projects.)

Check out the City of Mountain View’s webpage for more on the project.


The American Planning Association (APA) recently awarded Alameda County the Northern Section Award for Excellence in Economic Planning and Development for the Ashland and Cherryland Business District Specific Plan and Code (ACBDSP). Adopted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in December 2015 by a unanimous vote, ACBDSP builds on and empowers the original Specific Plan by encouraging sustainable economic growth while outlining priorities for implementation. 

 

Seifel served on the multidisciplinary team (led by Lisa Wise Consulting) responsible for developing a community-driven vision and implementation plan for the Plan Area and updating the 1995 Specific Plan. The team's work emphasized economic revitalization through place-making, innovative implementation strategies, creative marketing, branding, public improvement programs, multimodal transportation plan, robust community outreach and form-based code.

 

The consultant team of experts also included Opticos Design, Fehr & Peers, Rincon Consultants, Local Government Commission, Seifel Consulting, MJB Consulting and JWC Urban Design.

 

A copy of the adopted plan and code document is available here.

 

And be sure to check out NorCal APA's awards page, here.


As part of a project funded by the California Endowment, the Local Government Commission (LGC) is holding a series of meetings throughout California to discuss innovative funding strategies and local community revitalization strategies.

With access to capital a frequent barrier to realizing a community’s vision, this Friday’s LGC session ”New Funding Strategies to Fuel Smart Growth Successes" will explore innovative strategies for getting projects going. This Friday morning's session features Darin Dinsmore (Founder and CEO at Crowdbrite), Jim Becker (CEO and President at Richmond Community Foundation), Joshua Genser (Board Chair at Richmond Community Foundation) and Libby Seifel

 

UPDATE! LGC’S guidebook “Smart-Growth Money: New Funding Strategies for Community Improvements” is available at this link.

 

“Smart-Growth Money: New Funding Strategies for Community Improvements” explores funding tools and strategies to help local leaders identify funding sources and manage limited dollars to achieve community goals. The report includes case studies featuring innovative ways to successfully navigate financial hurdles. For more information, visit http://www.lgc.org/new-funding-strategies-guidebook

 

LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities. More on LGC's is available here.


While macro demographic, economic and societal trends continue to improve the prospects for California cities, not all will benefit to the same degree. This Thursday’s "Urban Economic Revival in California" session, held at the California Society of Municipal Analysts (CSMA) conference in Napa, will explore the underlying conditions and local government and private sector actions associated with cities like San Diego and San Francisco, whose economic outlooks continue to improve. The session will posit and address questions such as “Given the dissolution of redevelopment, how do cities attract private investment and employers to help revitalize older cities?” “Would a continuing drought affect the mix of urban versus suburban/exurban development?”

Joining Libby on "Urban Economic Revival in California" are Karen Ribble (Fitch Ratings) and John Shirey (City of Sacramento). Established in 1986, the California Society of Municipal Analysts (CSMA) is a non-profit organization that fosters professional development through discussions, meetings and presentations of issues relevant to municipal credit analysis.

Click here for the final agenda for this Thursday, November 5 conference.


Formerly dominated by underutilized properties and an abandoned freeway, the Transit Center District is now the site of a comprehensive planning and redevelopment effort to create a dense, walkable employment center that will feature housing at all levels of affordability, active retail and abundant public open space. The substantial public infrastructure investment needed to undertake this project is funded through a complex and innovative mix of public and private funding sources. The major rezoning of properties throughout the district, along with its significant amenities, has created substantial value while generating enthusiastic response among the development community. 

 

A concurrent session at the recent ULI Fall Meeting, "Transbay Transit Center District: Transforming Downtown San Francisco through Innovative Public/Private Partnerships" examines the redevelopment challenges overcome during the project and strategies used to create this new “Grand Central of the West” and its adjacent neighborhood. 

 

Discussion leaders included Scott Boule of Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Tiffany Bohee of the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, John Eudy of Essex Property Trust, Mike Grisso of Kilroy Realty Corporation and John Rahaim of the City of San Francisco. Libby Seifel served as moderator of the panel, in addition to her duties as local program co-chair of the ULI Fall Meeting. 

 

A video of the session is available for viewing at ULI's webpage, here


Moderated by Linda Wheaton of California Department of Housing & Community Development and featuring Allison Albericci of Owings & Merrill, LLP, Eve Stewart of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates and Libby Seifel of Seifel Consulting, "Density and Development: Supporting Transit and Livable Communities" examines and illustrates how density and affordable/mixed use housing work together toward livable, transit-supportive and sustainable communities. Part of an educational forum coordinate by the California Department of Transportation (CDOT), the presentation describes the density thresholds and development characteristics necessary to support key amenities and frequent transit service, as well as the critical role affordable housing plays in supporting these objectives.

Planning Horizons is an educational forum coordinated by the CDOT Workforce Development Branch, with speakers selected from both within Caltrans and the greater planning community. More information is on the program is available here


San Francisco: one of the hottest housing markets in the nation, where housing demand has surged along with job growth (about 30,000 new jobs since 2012), largely fueled by the rapid rise in “knowledge sharing” companies, like Salesforce, Twitter, AirBnB and LinkedIn. While 2014 was a banner year for housing construction in San Francisco (2,500+ housing units underway), the dramatic decline in construction during the recession means housing supply has not kept pace with demand.

There are only 2.1 months of remaining inventory for condominiums—one of the lowest inventory levels since 2008, says Chris Foley of Polaris. Chris presented an overview of the San Francisco housing market at the recent SPUR panel, “Housing Forecast: 2015” presented in conjunction with the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SF HAC) and the San Francisco AIA. Chris estimates that San Francisco currently has a shortfall in housing supply of 15,175 housing units.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD’s) Sarah Dennis-Phillips presented that San Francisco’s population is projected to grow by about 250,000 people over the next 25 years. To help meet future housing demand, the Mayor of San Francisco has established a goal to produce 30,000 units by 2020, of which 30% would be permanently affordable and 50% would be within the financial reach of working, middle income families. The City has established a housing meter that counts housing projects as they are completed, helping San Francisco to track its progress.

Libby Seifel presented an overview of Seifel’s recent work for the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) to evaluate the “State of the Housing Market” in San Francisco. Seifel recently updated its 2012 Briefing Book, which profiles the City’s demographic and housing market trends, with a special focus on evaluating how recent changes in the housing market affect underserved low, moderate and middle income households. In addition, Libby described Seifel’s recent work with David Baker Architects to evaluate how density bonuses might be used

Tim Colen of SF HAC served as panel moderator, and Meg Spriggs of Shorenstein provided insights about how developers are viewing today’s and tomorrow’s San Francisco housing market. As presented in the panel, many local developers are now looking at development opportunities in Oakland and Emeryville, where a recent surge in home prices and rents has enhanced the financial feasibility of new development.

The discussion ended with the conclusion that San Francisco needs to pursue a broad variety of strategies to increase the pace of development, as well as pursue new funding sources to help assure that the majority of new housing is affordable to the City’s diverse population.

Top image courtesy of Flickr user Jeremy Brooks


The MIT Center for Real Estate (MITCRE) hosted its Alumni West Coast Back-to-School day in January 2015. Held at the Pier 1 headquarters of Prologis (in their graciously-donated meeting space), the event gave attendees the opportunity to hear from current MIT faculty on latest research and to hear from alumni and industry leaders on the important work they are stewarding. Patrick Kennedy ’85 of Panoramic Interests and Professor Albert Saiz, Director at MITCRE, opened the event. 

Sessions panelists included alumni and industry leaders, who spoke to the complexities of large real estate ventures and on current real estate market innovations.  

The panel “Ballot Box Entitlements” (moderated by Ted Horton ’87) explored the role that the voter plays in helping bring large-scale real estate projects online. The session featured Mary Murphy of Gibson Dunn, Alexa Arena of Forest City Enterprises and Diane Oshima of the Port of San Francisco, as well as MIT alum Libby Seifel.

In her presentation “IT Infrastructure & Asset Value Premia”, Dr. Andrea Chegut, Research Associate at MITCRE, explored the developing role of IT infrastructure in commercial development and how developers are rethinking the technology footprint of their projects.

The session “JV Profit Splits Fairness Framework”, presented by MITCRE faculty Tod McGrath and David Geltner, examined the fairness of joint-venture relationships between institutional money partners and managing partners in real estate development. 

Industry veterans (from both sides of real estate deals) discussed the usefulness and application of Professor Geltner’s research on a broad variety of recent real estate deals. 

“Crowdfunding for Real Estate Equity”, whose panelists included Bonnie Burgett of Sourced Capital, Adam Hooper of Real Crowd, Rodrigo Nino of Prodigy Network and Tom Lockhard of Fundrise looked at the emergence of crowdfunding as a powerful tool in the promotion and financing of healthy development. 

Full event agenda is available here.

Founded in 1983 by an MIT alum Charles “Hank” Spaulding (CE ’51), MITCRE provides tomorrow’s real estate practitioners with a foundation to help traverse and transform a complex and global real estate market. More about the program can be found here.


Etsy, the online global marketplace for artists, artisans and collectors, is transforming how people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Etsy currently boasts over 40 million members and is active in 200 countries with annual transactions.

Etsy’s mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. Etsy practices its mission in all it does and in its work environment. Etsy is headquartered in Brooklyn, in the affectionately-named neighborhood of “DUMBO” (short for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass”). The company lives its mission, as ULI members saw firsthand during a recent tour of Etsy headquarters at the finish of the ULI Fall Meeting & Urban Land Expo (held this year in New York City).

Coordinated by Janet Protas and Libby, the private tour offered ULI women the opportunity to see the daily workings of the online commerce company that boasted over $1 billion total merchandise sales in 2013. ULI members also got a chance to meet Etsy’s public policy group to learn about Etsy’s mission to help disadvantaged crafters become successful Etsy sellers.

Etsy is increasingly promoting and training local manufacturers and artisans across the country to sell their goods on line. SFMade, one of Etsy’s key local partners, boasts a similar mission in building and supporting a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco. Former Seifel staff member, Abbie Wertheim, is working with Etsy to coordinate national efforts to support manufacturing with the Urban Manufacturing Alliance.

Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. - Etsy


This year’s annual conference of California’s Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California) brought together members of the planning community to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects that are changing the landscape of California’s communities.

With the recent loss of redevelopment in California, local communities must plan for the reuse of public properties without having access to many tools that were formerly available to facilitate development. In addition, members of the planning community find themselves having to assume economic development responsibilities that were previously assigned to their redevelopment agencies. The session "Brave New World: Developing Public Property Without Redevelopment” explored strategies being used by California communities to successfully develop public properties in a manner consistent with local planning goals. Session panelists Barbara Kautz and Rafael Yaquian (Goldfarb & Lipman), Kevin Keller (City of Los Angeles) and Libby Seifel presented proven techniques that local agencies can use to maximize their ability to redevelop these properties while examining the legal constraints on their use. (Click here for full presentation, including the handout "Top Ten Best Practice Tips for Development Deals".)

California communities are also approaching development and neighborhood revitalization in ways that can enhance local cultural heritage. The session "When Property Values Attack: A Planning Tool for Combating the Loss of Intangible Heritage" showcased the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (known as JCHESS, full report available here), which came out of a collaborative effort among San Francisco’s Japantown community, the City of San Francisco and local non-profits. JCHESS outlines strategies for preserving and enhancing Japantown’s cultural heritage and all that makes Japantown unique. The session featured Ruth Todd and Christina Dikas (Page & Turnbull), Shelley Caltagirone (San Francisco Planning Department), Desiree Smith (of San Francisco Heritage), and Libby Seifel, all of whom contributed to JCHESS. The session examined how the elements of Japantown’s heritage were documented (through the development of a Social Heritage Inventory Form) and contributed to the development of an economic incentives toolkit to help identify, prioritize, and incentivize the preservation of cultural and social heritage. (Click here for full presentation.)


Cities across the globe need to develop stronger, more adaptive environments to meet the challenges of an increasingly volatile climate that threatens intensified storm seasons and rising sea levels. To encourage resilience efforts worldwide, the Urban Land Institute will hold “Building the Resilient City” this September in San Francisco. The conference will bring together real estate professionals and thought leaders on climate change to share best practices on how cities and new development can become more resilient in ways that improve public spaces, add value, and minimize risk.

ULI’s chairman, Lynn Thurber, of LaSalle Investment Management, and ULI San Francisco District Chair, Jeff Smith, of Sack Properties, will open the conference and provide their perspectives on building resilient cities. Harriet Tregoning, new director of the HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, will discuss the role of the federal government in creating resilient cities, and Henk Ovink will present best practices learned from Rebuild by Design, an initiative of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD that is spurring development and policy innovations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Margaret Davidson, who leads NOAA’s coastal inundation and resilience efforts, will present latest insights into climate change's impact and the importance of linking data, technology and sustainable coastal development practices.

On Friday morning of the conference, we will explore how world cities are leveraging natural ecosystems to create multifunctional, protective open spaces that also help catalyze new private development and economic growth. Sarah Slaughter, Executive Director of the Built Environment Coalition, will moderating the session Getting More Bang for the Buck: Leveraging Green Infrastructure to Create Value and Reduce Risk" and will be joined by distinguished panelists Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz, Karen Kubick of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and Bry Sarte of Sherwood Design Engineers.

Please join us on this interactive panel as we discuss ground-breaking projects that create value, mitigate risk, and elevate green design to the next level.

Building the Resilient City” will take place Thursday and Friday, September 4 and 5, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Registration information is available here

Libby Seifel is serving on the ULI conference planning committee and is coordinating the session “Getting More Bang for the Buck” in collaboration with John McIlwain of ULI and Claire Bonham-Carter of AECOM.

"There is no finish line. Resilience is an ongoing process."
-Yukimoto Ito, vice mayor of Sendai, speaking after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

 


The “sharing economy,” also known as the collaborative economy or peer economy, has grown from informal connections between people who share what they already have—cars, homes, tools, skills–to an emerging, multi-billion dollar business sector that is facilitating millions of “collaborative consumption” transactions across the globe each day. Utilizing technology and social media to connect suppliers and consumers, companies such as Airbnb, City CarShare, Lyft, RelayRides, Shareable, Taskrabbit, Vayable, ZipCar— many of whom are headquartered in San Francisco—are also creating an increasing number of jobs and economic benefits to the local economy.

San Francisco recently announced the nation’s first-ever policy group aimed at evaluating the economic benefits, key players, and emerging policy issues surrounding the growing “sharing economy”. Headed by Mayor Ed Lee and comprised of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener the group will consider the implications of the sharing economy on San Francisco. “The Sharing Economy is promoting sustainability and creating new economic opportunities for San Franciscans across the socio-economic spectrum,” says Chiu. “It’s time for San Francisco to take a comprehensive look at our existing laws and regulations to consider this innovative new economy’s benefits while addressing real community impacts and concerns.”

On Tuesday, June 10, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR) and Airbnb presented an evening discussion “Empowering the Local Economy”, hosted by Airbnb and sponsored by the Koret Foundation. This sold-out event featured five panelists—including Seifel President Libby Seifel—who explored how policymakers and citizens alike are taking part in this new manifestation of local economic activation. Panelists included:

  • Event moderator Diana Lind serves as Executive Director & Editor in Chief of Next City, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to inspiring social, economic and environmental change in cities through daily online content, a weekly series of investigative articles (Forefront), and various outreach initiatives.
  • Janet Lees, Senior Director at SFMade, a San Francisco-based non-profit focused on building San Francisco’s economic base through development of the local manufacturing sector, engaging with entrepreneurs and growing small companies while offering technical assistance and connecting companies to powerful local resources.
  • Anita Roth, Head of Policy Research at Airbnb, the San Francisco-based community marketplace for accommodations worldwide, connecting travelers in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
  • Milicent Johnson, Director of Partnerships and Community Building at Peers, a member-driven organization that supports the sharing economy movement.

Libby Seifel spoke to the implications and opportunities that the sharing economy has for San Francisco, how this new economic activity makes use of “surplus capacity", and ways in which San Francisco can respond to the changing nature of the local economy. Libby also pointed to SPUR's The Urban Future of Work for its exploration of strategies for expanding San Francisco's economy while focusing on sustainability.

More on this SPUR event is available here.

Collaborative consumption is reinventing the way we live–and San Francisco is at the epicenter of the movement. This has the potential to be a source of great economic strength, as we translate our urban efficiency and creativity into new tools that the rest of the country can benefit from.
-Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR


The May 9 Legislative Policy Breakfast, hosted by Housing Leadership Council (HLC) brought together advocates and experts alike to share best practice tips and advocacy ideas for affordable housing in San Mateo County. Since 2001, HLC has supported the creation and preservation of well designed, sensibly located housing for a range of income levels through collaboration with a range of San Mateo County partners (local governments, non-profit organizations and businesses).
State Senator Jerry Hill (California Senate, 13th District) and Marina Wiant (of California Housing Consortium) shared insights into State and National legislation that could provide funding for affordable housing and enhance housing production, leading discussion on why some legislation would likely become law while others might not. Senator Hill and Ms. Wiant emphasized the need for continued, coordinated advocacy (by groups like HLC) to make the case for why a diverse spectrum of housing is critical to future success of California.
Phillip Kilbridge (CEO at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco) presented a lively overview of the trials and tribulations of local developers who have had to go “Light & Fit”, learning how to develop in the face of declining revenues. Libby Seifel provided a fast paced overview of current housing financing tools available to communities (in post-Redevelopment California) with particular focus on the challenges and opportunities of using Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) to help fund development. Libby asked audience members to review recommendations from her recent volunteer effort with ULI to promote new funding tools and strategies for infill development and affordable housing in California. ULI recently described affordable housing as one of the central elements to building healthy places in its Ten Principles of Building Healthy Places, and Libby offered ideas about how to promote this concept more broadly throughout San Mateo County.

"The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and...give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity."
- Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities


The new tools of economic development and creation of sustainable and healthy communities in post-Redevelopment California took center stage at the Cal-ALHFA’s recent conference "Reinvention: 2014". Taking guidance from ULI’s December 2013 report After Redevelopment, New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities, Libby Seifel joined fellow report contributors to present on innovative techniques being used locally, regionally, and at the state level to stimulate housing and mixed use development. Through focused presentations and lively round table discussion, their session “Reinventing Redevelopment: New Tools for Housing and Sustainable Communities” explored recommendations and strategies posited in the ULI report.


On April 8, Libby spoke to members of Victoria, British Columbia’s chapter of the Urban Development Institute (UDI)on what creates value in real estate. Her presentation, “Leveraging Value to Create Great Places”, explored real-world examples of development happening in our very own city: the Transbay Transit Center District and Mission Bay. Looking at the value premiums created by transit, open space, and other neighborhood amenities, Libby shared with UDI members insight into the costs of development and the value creation of these and similar transit-focused and sustainable communities. 

In spring of last year, UDI members paid a visit to San Francisco to observe some of the exciting projects currently underway in our City. With Seifel staff as their guide, UDI members were able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Transbay project before heading out to a tour of Mission Bay

UDI is a non-profit association of the development industry in British Columbia, whose members include individuals and organizations involved in all facets of development and land-use planning. UDI is actively involved in government relations, professional development and education, and research. Committed to working with communities and governments to create and achieve balanced, well-planned, and sustainable communities, UDI works to promote efficient urban growth, good planning and good development practices, affordable housing, and high quality commercial and industrial developments. More information on UDI is available here.


To remain globally competitive, cities around the world are expanding their transit networks and encouraging the development of dense urban neighborhoods. The Bay Area is one of the world’s most robust economies and San Francisco is emerging as a major hub for many rapidly expanding technology and knowledge service companies. In the recent publication Transbay Transit Center: Key Investment in San Francisco’s Future as a World Class City, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority hails the Transbay Transit Center, considered the “Grand Central of the West,” as one of San Francisco’s most important investments to assure long term success in an increasingly global economy. (A copy of Transbay Transit Center is available here.)

A public private partnership, the Transbay project, is transforming downtown San Francisco by creating a landmark multi-modal transit hub and a vibrant, walkable, transit-oriented development neighborhood featuring more than 11 acres of parks, public plazas, retail, and tree-lined streets. The improved transit access, public spaces, and neighborhood amenities provided by the project are projected to add $3.9 billion to the value of private property located within ¾ mile of the Transit Center. Additionally, redevelopment of public properties once occupied by the former Transbay Transit Terminal and abandoned freeway ramps is projected to stimulate over $4 billion in new development, much of which is already underway, including the 1.3 million square foot Transbay Transit Tower and more than 1,200 mixed-income residential units.

Research demonstrates that knowledge-service businesses thrive best in a compact, transit-rich environment. Better transit connectivity will help expand the regional labor market and make it easier for workers to reach jobs. Moreover, the use of transit instead of cars will foster increased physical activity, promote healthier living, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by removing thousands of vehicles from our streets and highways. Regionally, the Bay Area will benefit from the creation of approximately 8,300 construction job years, 27,000 permanent jobs, and up to $87 billion in gross regional product through 2030.

For more on the Transbay Transit Center and its development, click here.

Seifel prepared Transbay Transit Center on behalf of the TJPA to highlight the numerous economic benefits that the Transbay Project will bring to San Francisco and the Bay Area region. In collaboration with The Concord Group, Seifel prepared the economic analysis of value premiums from transit, open space, and neighborhood amenities from the Transbay project.

Above construction photo credit: Patricia Chang


The San Francisco District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), in conjunction with the four other ULI California district councils, recently issued a report recommending a comprehensive set of tools to promote economic development and build sustainable and healthy communities. “In light of the demise of redevelopment in California in 2012, we need leadership at all levels of government to put in place a more flexible set of tools, without creating a financial burden on the state or other taxing agencies” said Elliot Stein, executive director of the ULI San Francisco District Council.

At the top of the list of recommended tools in the report “After Redevelopment: New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities” are the ability to assemble sites and negotiate sales, use tax increment financing on a voluntary basis by affected taxing agencies, and deploy these tools with local control, flexibility, and accountability. “One critical ‘fix’ needed is for housing,” said report co-author Joseph E. Coomes of Best & Krieger, Sacramento. “California's population is growing faster than the supply of housing. In particular, the amount of multifamily housing, which is more affordable to the state’s workforce and growing senior population, is not keeping pace. Access to affordable housing, job opportunities and quality education are critical components of any economic development strategy.” The report provides a series of targeted recommendations and calls for future discussion with State officials and key stakeholders on how to best deploy new tools in 2014.

Libby Seifel volunteered on ULI’s working group and served as the lead editor on the report (available here).


The issuance and disclosure of tax allocation bond (TAB) debt since the dissolution of redevelopment has brought challenges to communities throughout California, ranging from difficulty obtaining accurate project area information to lack of guidance regarding important issues like tax increment limitations. To aid city and county staff who are at the front lines of bond issues, the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) presented training workshops in Southern and Northern California, led by leading experts and practitioners, to provide an in-depth look at TAB bond administration, refunding and continuing disclosure issues.

David McEwen, partner at Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, led the first panel: “Existing Bonds: Fitting the Square Peg into a Round Hole,” featuring presentations by Barbara Boswell, Finance Director for the City of Lancaster, and Seifel Consulting President Libby Seifel. Their session presented recommended best practices regarding how to assure sufficient revenues are available to meet bond obligations through the ROPS process, legal requirements for the use of existing bond proceeds, and what to do when the IRS comes knocking.

Other issues covered during the workshop included:

  • How State legislation has impacted tax allocation bonds and how these new legal requirements apply at the local level
  • What it takes to market tax allocation bonds in this changing environment
  • How the State Department of Finance and County Auditor Controllers evaluate bond obligations
  • How to prepare necessary technical reports including fiscal consultant and disclosure reports
  • What are the current bond disclosure policies and consequences of reporting failure, particularly given recent SEC scrutiny
  • What are the pros and cons of bond refunding

Workshop luncheon speaker Brent Hawkins, Partner at Best Best & Krieger LLP provided an update on the latest developments on State legislation and pending legal cases related to redevelopment. Joseph (Joe) Coomes and Libby Seifel also presented the findings from ULI’s upcoming publication on new tools and strategies to promote economic development and build sustainable communities.


The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recognized its San Francisco District Council for providing six successful training sessions that taught the basics of real estate finance and development, how to structure successful public-private partnerships and strategies to accomplish new projects in a post redevelopment world to a broad range of San Francisco staff. As Jon Lau, Project Manager for SF OEWD, summarized of the impact of ULI’s training,

“The sessions were packed with critical information. As participants, we are developing a better understanding of the building blocks necessary to evaluate project feasibility and gaining exposure to criteria relied upon for marketplace decision making, and it is valuable to gain insight on the thought process directly from developers.”

The sessions achieved the two key purposes of the ULI Innovation Grant that helped fund the training:
1) provide tools to public agency staff to elicit the best quality from the private sector and 2) help strengthen relationships and collaboration across City departments. 

Libby Seifel in collaboration with Landon Browning of Lennar Corporation developed the training materials and taught the first three sessions on the basics of real estate finance and development.


Now more than ever, California communities must creatively leverage and build upon their core strengths to catalyze great places. Research demonstrates that property values are higher in well-planned communities that are near parks and open space and where residents and workers have convenient access to high quality public transit.

Each year, the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (Cal APA) organizes a statewide conference to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects. This October, Bill Anderson, APA President and AECOM Principal, Richard Bruckner, LA County’s Director of Regional Planning, and Kearstin Dischinger, Senior Community Development Specialist at San Francisco Planning Department, participated in a Cal APA panel moderated by Libby Seifel to discuss how Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego and San Francisco have capitalized on these key property value drivers to capture and then reinvest revenues back in to their downtowns and neighborhoods through property tax increment and development impact fees. Their presentation, “Leveraging Value: Planning and Funding Strategies to Catalyze Great Places” discusses how “parking diets” and “street diets” improve the overall health of residents while fostering healthier project economics, which in turn lead to better development.

For more information, visit Cal APA here.