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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


For over 100 years, the Japantown neighborhood has been the cultural heart for the Japanese community of San Francisco and the Bay Area region.  At the same time, Japantown has endured numerous challenges to its physical and economic environment. Over the last four years through San Francisco’s Better Neighborhoods planning process, community stakeholders have articulated their vision for Japantown’s future and recommended cultural and economic strategies to achieve this vision. The Japantown Cultural Resources and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) is the result of this process to articulate community concerns, identify cultural resources in the area, and deploy public policies and funding tools to preserve and enhance cultural assets.

 

The upcoming 1/28/14 SPUR forum will present JCHESS, the first of its kind in the nation. Hear important lessons for other communities within San Francisco and beyond.

 

Seifel Consulting served as economic consultants assisting the City in creating a compendium of economic and other tools to help support the preservation and enhancement of cultural resources.

 

Details on the SPUR session located here.


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).


In 2013, the Bay Area’s nine counties completed a regional plan called Plan Bay Area that aligns with California’s 2008 state land use and climate change laws (SB  375). SPUR has long advocated for a regional plan and provided key input throughout the Plan Bay Area adoption process, conducting related analyses on how to promote better regional planning and build a stronger Bay Area economy. Highlights of SPUR’s contributions include:

The economic challenges to building a strong regional economy is compounded by the reality that middle-income jobs in the Bay Area are becoming scarcer as more and more job growth takes place at the high and low ends of the wage spectrum. SPUR is collaborating with a group of partners to help expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents through its work on the Economic Prosperity Strategy, a key initiative of One Bay Area.

For the 2013 Index of Silicon Valley, SPUR wrote a special analysis on the economic benefits of governing the Bay Area as if it were a single economic region. The analysis focused on issues are difficult to address at the local level (limited housing production, fragmented transit delivery systems, job sprawl, fiscal inequities and climate change) and recommended potential strategies to address them.

As the Bay Area economy began to improve, SPUR reported in its publication The Urban Future of Work that knowledge sector firms are embracing the benefits of urbanism and relocating to San Francisco and other transit accessible Bay Area cities because these companies recognize the locational advantages of being close to suppliers, collaborators, and urban amenities desired by their employees.

SPUR’s Regional Policy Board advises on SPUR’s regional planning endeavors and Libby Seifel chairs this Board for SPUR.


Libby Seifel will be leading a panel discussion on Key Principles for Successful PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) at the 2011 Housing California Conference in Sacramento on April 28. Libby will be joined by a panel including Polly Marshall of Goldfarb & Lipman, Lisa Bates of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and Kim McKay of BRIDGE Housing. 

Public-private partnerships (PPP) provide a unique way for developers, government, and the community to work together to create innovative and sustainable urban infill developments. This interactive session will feature a lively discussion about how to structure innovative public-private partnerships that achieve “triple bottom line” results: Meet community goals, reduce our environmental footprint, and achieve financial returns. Attendees will learn how PPPs have been used to accomplish a broad range of projects, for the creation of affordable homes, mixed-use, and transit-oriented developments that incorporate green design to the redevelopment of surplus public properties and brownfield sites. 

Link to conference: http://www.housingca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_annualconference