Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Voluntary Soft Story Seismic Retrofit Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation on March 16, 2010 introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom to support property owners throughout San Francisco who act immediately to voluntarily retrofit and strengthen wood framed, soft story homes and multi-unit buildings to help protect them from collapse due to a major earthquake.  When the next earthquake occurs, San Francisco's overall economic resiliency will depend on structurally safe housing for people to live in.  BOMA San Francisco members understand that the small businesses in our commercial buildings can only operate when their employees have a seismicly safe place to live.

Click here to read the ordinance.

The new legislation, which takes effect on April 19, 2010:
  • Waives Building and Planning Department Plan Review fees – saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars per project.
  • Expedites the processing, review and approval of permits for voluntary seismic retrofit upgrades of soft-story, wood-frame buildings – buildings identified as likely to collapse during the next major earthquake in a January 2009 study by the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS); and
  • Enables those who retrofit voluntarily now, and who meet the building performance standard established by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) for these voluntary retrofits, to be exempt for 15 years from any requirements that may be adopted in the near future as mandatory retrofitting legislation is enacted.
When the next earthquake occurs, San Francisco's overall economic resiliency will depend on structurally safe housing for people to live in.  BOMA San Francisco members understand that the small businesses in our commercial buildings can only operate when their employees have a seismicly safe place to live.  Please click here to review our blog post on this issue and to read the CAPSS study, also available on the DBI's website. For more information, visit, click on 'Most Requested,' and click again on 'Earthquakes' for details about voluntary retrofits or call William Strawn: (415) 558-6250.

EPA: Lead Safety During Renovation for Contractors

At the BOMA San Francisco Codes & Regulations Committee meeting on March 24, 2010, the committee members discussed new rules for residential contractors to help prevent lead exposure.  The EPA may impose similar requirements on commercial contractors as well.  Click here to read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) brochure on this issue and review the information below:

New Rules for Contractors

Beginning April 2010 contractors performing work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must:
  • Be EPA certified, and
  • Follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. To learn more about how you can meet these requirements contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424LEAD (5323) or visit

Economic Recovery? The Outlook for 2010

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Click here to view the economic outlook for 2010 authored by Dr. Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist of the Real Estate Center for Texas A & M University.

Marc Intermaggio, BOMA San Francisco's Executive Vice President, has kindly summarized Dr. Dotzour's analysis.  Please find his abstract, below:

Dr. Dotzour’s perspective is bleak, but there is some good news.   While he doesn’t see an economic recovery until 2011 into 2012, he does observe that corporate profits are up, minimizing pressure to cut costs and jobs, personal savings levels have built back to the 4% level with consumers beginning to spend again, and private domestic investment is up. In terms of corporate hiring, sentiment has improved and some hiring should begin this year. The negative on net employment is the projected $180 billion in state deficits for the coming year with the potential for 900,000 layoffs – he believes the government will print more money to prevent this from happening.

In terms of bank lending, Dr. Dotzour does not believe the government is being honest.  They (Fed's Ben Bernanke, Treasury’s Timothy Geithner and FDIC’s Sheila Bair) know they do not have the money to cover $1 trillion in bad loans and have 'built a giant firewall around the banks' to prevent a massive reconciliation of balance sheets to allow deals to get going.  It will be a very slow process he believes, complicated by the federal government continuing to change bank rules and regulations.

He predicts recovery beginning in 2011.  Besides finance, his other big issue is the federal government’s continuing dishonesty about how it cannot come close to covering trillions of dollars of entitlement promises (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) and how at some point we are going to have to reconcile the gap with economic pain for all.

Grim, but a useful perspective I think.  BOMA San Francisco members want to be optimistic – but we must keep our hopes in check by looking at the data.

San Francisco Commercial Lighting Efficiency Ordinance

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team has been working with Supervisor Bevan Dufty and his staff on the Commercial Lighting Efficiency Ordinance that would  require commercial buildings to install or adopt more energy efficient lighting measures.  Please click here to read the ordinance.  Specifically, this measure would:
  • Require owners of non-residential commercial buildings to upgrade the lamp and ballast systems in existing inefficient fluorescent lighting fixtures to meet specified minimum illumination output standards unless the area lighted by the inefficient fluorescent fixture is controlled by sensors that automatically turn off lighting when the area is unoccupied;
  • Require owners of non-residential commercial buildings who replace 4-foot and 8-foot linear fluorescent 'bulbs' or 'tubes' to use only low mercury content replacement bulbs;
  • Require compliance by December 31, 2011.
The ordinance would also require the City to require its own facilities to meet the same lighting efficiency and low mercury content standards.

The Commercial Lighting Efficiency Ordinance will be considered by the Land Use and Economic Development Committee on April 19, 2010 starting at 1:00 p.m.  BOMA San Francisco supports this legislation--please consider attending the Land Use Committee hearing to voice your support!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The News Links - March 29-30, 2010

The New York Times: Shake, Rattle, Seattle

Click here for Mayor Newsom's Latest YouTube Update

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
The Economy
Energy & Environment

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The News Links - March 24-25, 2010

Sacramento Bee: Field Poll: Californians more likely to back state budget cuts.

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
The Economy
Energy & Environment

LAST CALL! Turn Off Your Building's Lights on Saturday, March 27th from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m for Earth Hour 2010

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take a moment to review the information, below, kindly provided by Mr. Hal Brownstone with Jones Lang LaSalle.  Mr. Brownstone is a BOMA San Francisco Energy and Environment Committee member and BOMA San Francisco's official representative for Earth Hour 2010 and the San Francisco 24x7 Energy Challenge.


Earth Hour is an ongoing annual event that raises awareness of humankind’s continued and unintended negative impact on the environment.  Throughout the world, sustainability-focused operations and lifestyles are increasingly becoming standard procedure in both our personal and professional lives. Potential climate change and the reduction of natural resources continue to affect global Real Estate on a massive scale and are influencing our operational decisions on a daily basis. These decisions have both economic and life-style impacts.

BOMA San Francisco, for a third time, is participating in this year’s Earth Hour, scheduled for Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 8:30 pm until 9:30 pm, local daylight savings time.  During this hour, the goal is to turn off all non-essential interior and exterior lighting to demonstrate our continuing commitment to energy conservation and responsible resource management within the office building industry of San Francisco.

Participating in Earth Hour provides several unique benefits:

  • Cost savings: tied to Building and Tenant expense reduction, Net Operating Income, Building Value, and Ownership Satisfaction
  • Energy savings: tied to promoting sustainability of Earth’s natural resources, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental damage, and potential future generations
  • Professional  awareness: tied to responsible daily decision making to further reduce expenses through appropriate ongoing energy saving measures and reductions
  • Social awareness: tied to understanding the stewardship process of the environment through wildlife conservation and continued sustainable lifestyles  
  • Embarrassment: You don’t want to be the only one NOT doing it! You do want the GOOD recognition that will come with being involved and turning your building’s lights out!

Please note that the Earth Hour 2010 event is part of a larger effort, the San Francisco 24x7 Challenge, to make everyday changes that reduce energy consumption and combat global warming.  Mayor Gavin Newsom and partner organizations--including BOMA San Francisco--have renewed the challenge to save energy in commercial buildings. The San Francisco 24x7 Challenge will identify and celebrate leaders in energy efficiency in local offices, hotels, and retail stores. Participation simply consists of benchmarking your building with a free tool, tracking energy use for one year, and saving energy bit by bit throughout the year. The Mayor will congratulate the best performing and most improved buildings for leadership in energy management. Best of all, everyone wins by participating!

Click here to learn how you can help with this new San Francisco initiative.

The SF Department of Environment and local partners PG&E, BOMA and the EPA are available to help you compete and win in the 24x7 Energy Challenge. For specific questions on how to begin or any part of the process, call Gabriella Canez (415) 355-3784.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Controller's Office Monthly Economic Barometer - January 2010

Click image to enlarge

BOMA San Francisco Members:

This issue of the Monthly Economic Barometer introduces seasonally-adjusted recent change information, to better highlight trends in the data that can be obscured by seasonal factors. This seasonal adjustment is performed by the Office of Economic Analysis and is not related to official seasonal adjusted figures released by other government agencies, such as EDD or the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

San Francisco's January unemployment rate of 10.3% was the highest reported for the recession to date, but January is historically a weak employment month. On an adjusted basis, January's unemployment was actually somewhat stronger than the disappointingly weak December holiday season. Nevertheless, the city's job market remains in limbo, with few signs of a sustainable recovery in employment.

The hotel industry has also lost whatever momentum it had in the fall of 2009, with disappointing months in both November and December. While airport traffic continues to be healthy, particularly on the domestic side, the growth in ridership is not yet leading to any recovery in San Francisco hotels. The two most timely retail indicators, Union Square BART and parking data, continue to show declines as well, though the drops are much shallower than what we saw earlier in the recession.

Like the hotel industry, home sales prices have also shown renewed declines since October, reversing several months of slight increases dating back to last spring. Median sales prices as low as January's have not been seen since last April. Asking rents for one-bedrooms on Craigslist reached their lowest point of the recession in January, although the steepest monthly drops appear to be behind us. All in all, San Francisco's economy appears to be at a trough, with few indicators getting seriously worse, but little sign of imminent recovery.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The News Links - March 22-23, 2010

Mayor Newsom's YouTube Update: March 20, 2010

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
The Economy
Energy & Environment

Monday, March 22, 2010

Controller's Economic Impact Report: Transfer Fee and Fee Deferral Options for Developers

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Two pieces of legislation have been proposed that are intended to stimulate the local economy by encouraging private construction in San Francisco. Both pieces of legislation offer developers new options for how and when they pay fees to the city. Changes in the way fees are paid can lower the cost of development, accelerating the financial feasibility and construction of new projects that are currently not moving forward because of the depressed state of the residential and commercial real estate markets.

The San Francisco Controller's Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) projects that, if developers elected to use these options, the combined effect of the two pieces of legislation could stimulate the construction of as many as 75-80 housing units per year, over the next twenty years. This development will expand the San Francisco's economy by an average of $250 million per year, and create an average of 330 jobs, across all industries.

Both pieces of legislation intend to reduce development cost by deferring when fee payments are due. San Francisco requires developers to pay a fee for affordable housing, or build affordable housing, in proportion to the size of their project. One proposed ordinance gives developers the option to reduce their affordable housing requirement by 33%, in exchange for accepting a transfer fee on their property. The transfer fee would require all future sellers of the property to pay an additional 1% of the sales value to fund the city's affordable housing efforts. In effect, the transfer free option attempts to stimulate development by reducing the upfront cost of funding affordable housing, and pushing this cost on to future occupants. If property buyers accept this fee, the transfer fee option stimulates development. The OEA projects that, in time, the city will generate more affordable housing funding under the transfer fee option that it would under the current system, although funding will decline in the short term.

San Francisco also requires other fee payments, which fund the new infrastructure needed to serve new development. The second proposed ordinance allows developers to defer these payments until just before the new buildings are occupied. This will reduce developers' financing costs during the development process. The amount developers are required to pay will not change, and the city will not lose any fee revenue with this option. It will create a short-term reduction in fee revenue for the city, for approximately two years, before the deferred fees on the first affected projects are paid. However, the city has sufficient cash balances in its neighborhood infrastructure funds to continue two years of work at an average rate of expenditure.

The full report may be downloaded here.

BOMA San Francisco supports these measures and urges the Board of Supervisors to pass them without delay.

Out-Of-State Property Owners Tax Being Enforced

BOMA San Francisco Members:

If you manage property on behalf of out of state property owners, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) wants to make you aware that, unless certain exceptions apply, you are withholding and sending to the FTB seven percent of all payments that exceed $1,500 in a calendar year. (California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 18662). Although this requirement has been on the books for many years, the FTB has recently announced it will begin tighter enforcement. Although you are highly encouraged to consult your accountant, here is some information from the FTB on Withholding and California Source Income. Click here for a story from the San Diego U-T on this issue.

Thank you to BOMA California for forwarding this information.

California Assemblymember Fiona Ma Appointed Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly

On March 18, 2010, California Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) was appointed by Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez to be Speaker pro Tempore of the California Assembly. Ms. Ma is the first Asian-American woman to hold this position.

In her new role as presiding officer, she will be responsible for managing the daily business of the Assembly. As the San Francisco Chronicle recently stated, "Ma's new title means the former SF supervisor will preside over most floor sessions, essentially serving as the face of the lower house during policy deliberations." Indeed, she will guide members through daily business, respond to parliamentary inquiries, and rule on points of order.

In addition to her new role as Speaker pro Tempore, she was also assigned to several important committees: the Committee on Agriculture; Committee on Business and Professions; Committee on Governmental Organizations; Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security; and the Committee on Utilities and Commerce.

BOMA San Francisco applauds Assemblymemeber Fiona Ma on her achievement and looks forward to working in the near future on issues related to the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

San Francisco Stormwater Management Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

We kindly request your feedback on the San Francisco Stormwater Management Ordinance that would amend the San Francisco Public Works Code to require the development and maintenance of stormwater management controls for specified activities that disturb 5,000 square fee or more of the ground surface including, but not limited to, the construction, modification, conversion, or alteration of any building or structure and associated grading, filling, excavation, change in the existing topography, and the addition or replacement of impervious surface.  The measure will also create a Stormwater Management Plan to verify that no additional run-off will be created by a new development/project, and that any such new run-off is being properly treated or mitigated in an approved fashion.

You can download the ordinance, here. Please pay attention to page 3, Section 147.1 (c) and page 5, Section 147.2.  The measure is scheduled to be considered at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 30th; email Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs at with any comments you may have.

What are Stormwater Design Guidelines?

The Port of San Francisco (Port) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are developing the San Francisco Stormwater Design Guidelines (“Design Guidelines”).  The Design Guidelines will improve San Francisco’s environment by reducing pollution in stormwater runoff in areas of new development and redevelopment. The Design Guidelines will be applied in areas of San Francisco served by separate storm sewers that discharge directly to local lakes or San Francisco Bay.  Given current trends in development, at this time mostly Bay waterfront parcels will be affected.

Please click here to review the Stormwater Design Guidelines.

What is stormwater runoff and why is it a concern?

Stormwater runoff is rainwater that flows over the land surface and through collection pipes.  In vegetated areas such as forests, fields and wetlands, rainwater seeps slowly into the ground, limiting runoff.  However, when rain falls on paved concrete and other hard (impervious) surfaces such as those found in most of San Francisco, it runs off quickly and is conveyed by pipes and other drainage features.  Though starting as relatively pure rainwater, stormwater runoff collects pollutants as it flows over impervious surfaces.  For example, runoff from parking lots picks up oil and grease from leaking engines, copper from worn brake linings, and zinc from tires. Although most runoff in San Francisco flows into the combined sewer system and receives treatment at the city’s two sewage treatment plants, there are a few areas in the city that discharge directly into  San Francisco Bay or other surface water such as Lake Merced without receiving any treatment.  These polluted stormwater flows can be detrimental to aquatic and other life.  The Design Guidelines will help improve San Francisco’s environment by reducing pollution in water that runs to the bay or other waters from newly constructed facilities.

How can San Francisco help reduce the detrimental impacts of stormwater runoff? 

One way to help reduce the detrimental impacts of stormwater runoff is by changing the way we approach new construction.  New development and redevelopment projects can be designed to minimize pollutant exposure within the project area.  Through careful pre-construction planning and designing, new development and redevelopment projects can be built to:

  • Minimize impervious surfaces, which would allow more rainfall to soak into the ground
  • Reduce the volume and intensity of storm water runoff, which would reduce flows that end up in the receiving waters 
  • Convey and treat storm water runoff using landscape features and other “green” systems  to provide treatment to the pollutants in the runoff

Studies performed around the world show that proactive site planning and design is the most cost-effective approach for reducing stormwater pollution.

What is San Francisco doing to address stormwater impacts associated with new development and redevelopment projects?

As the owners and operators of San Francisco’s storm drain systems, the Port and the SFPUC have teamed to develop the San Francisco Stormwater Design Guidelines.  The  Design Guidelines will apply to new development and redevelopment in areas of San Francisco served by separate storm sewers (e.g., storm sewers that discharge directly to receiving waters).   The Port and the SFPUC invite you to participate in the development of the Design Guidelines.

Is San Francisco required to develop Stormwater Design Guidelines?

Yes - a Clean Water Act discharge permit administered by the State Water Resources Control Board requires local agencies to develop programs for the control of stormwater runoff for the life of a project (“post-construction control” of stormwater).  The Design Guidelines will comply with the mandate of this permit, while at the same time providing a vehicle through which planners, designers, engineers and developers can work together toward a more sustainable city.

UPDATE: San Francisco Ordinance Prohibiting Smoking in Enclosed Areas and Certain Unenclosed Areas

BOMA San Francisco Members:

We recently posted information on the blog in regard to a measure recently introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar that would, according to the legislative digest, amend the San Francisco Health Code to prohibit smoking in certain enclosed areas, certain unenclosed areas and sports stadiums.  The ordinance will have an impact on all commercial buildings in San Francisco.

The prohibited areas include:
  • Business establishments and bars regardless of whether owner-operated;
  • Unenclosed dining areas of restaurants;
  • Service waiting areas;
  • Areas outside entrances, exits and operable windows and vents of all buildings except at the curb of the nearest street, sidewalk or alley.
UPDATE! - As of January 22, 2010

Supervisor Mar has agreed to amend the measure, which you can read here, to address the signage requirements on pages 14-15 of the ordinance to now reflect these changes:
  • The sign will read: 'Smoking only at curb or at least 15 ft. from entrances, exits, operable windows.'
    • Letters will be 1/2" as opposed to 1".
  • No Smoking Symbol included
    • 3" in diameter as opposed to 6"
  • The sign will also include 'SF Health Code 19F.'
    • Letters 1/8"
  • The sign size will now be to 4" by 9"
UPDATE! - As of February 18, 2010

We recently invited Lin-Shao Chin, Legislative Aide to Supervisor Mar and representatives from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to talk with BOMA San Francisco's Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) and Political Action Committee (BOMA SF-PAC) members on February 12, 2010 about the ordinance's requirements--as they are currently written--and the impact they will have on BOMA San Francisco members.  

After a healthy discussion, GAPAC members suggested that the committee submit amendments to the ordinance to better reflect their concerns, and allow for reasonable compliance by the aggregate BOMA San Francisco membership.  A knowledgeable attorney member of the GAPAC, Horace Green of Green & Humbert, kindly drafted the suggested amendments for Supervisor Mar's review.  

The GAPAC and PAC members' immediate concern with the ordinance is the potential liability and fines building managers and commercial property owners might face if they do not personally interact with smokers outside of their properties and verbally tell them to cease and desist.  This scenario does not sit well for BOMA San Francisco members, due to the unpredictable behavior of strangers today--especially if you tell someone to stop smoking.  The committee members believe that posting a sign (as indicated in the last update on January 22, 2010, above) 15 ft. from entrances, exits and operable windows (or 25 ft. to earn a point towards LEED certification), is sufficient to cover BOMA members' responsibilities to help diminish the effects of second-hand smoke.

UPDATE! - As of February 22, 2010

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team attended the San Francisco Land Use and Economic Development Committee hearing on Monday, February 2010 where Supervisor Mar's measure was under consideration.  We were successful in submitting Mr. Green's amendments to the committee and spoke in support of striking the language that would require our members to become, in essence, smoking police (see our last update, above).  The committee was considering no less than 24 amendments to the ordinance at the committee meeting--most of which were focusing on language that did not directly affect the BOMA San Francisco membership.

The ordinance is currently being revised to reflect the amendments passed in the Land Use and Economic Committee meeting and the measure will, most likely, be voted on by the Board of Supervisors at their March 9, 2010 meeting.  In the meantime, we will continue to request that the members of the Board of Supervisors take our suggested amendments--the net effect of these changes is to require building owners and operators to give notice to tenants of the ordinance, but does not make them liable for failing to physically prevent people from smoking--and we'll  post the most recent version of the ordinance here once we receive it from Supervisor Mar's office for your input.

UPDATE! - As of March 22, 2010

At their regular meeting on March 16, 2010, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the final version of Supervisor Mar's ordinance that expands on San Francisco's smoking ban that was passed in 1994.  Although this measure did not contain all of the amendments requested by BOMA San Francisco members, we appreciated the opportunity to work with Supervisor Eric Mar's office, as well as his staff's willingness to speak to BOMA's GAPAC and PAC members about their salient concerns on this measure.

Assuming the Mayor signs this ordinance, the effective date is 30 days after it was passed by the Board on March 16th.

Please take a moment to review the ordinance and email Ken Cleaveland, Director of Government and Public Relations for BOMA San Francisco at with your comments.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

HireSF - New Online Employment Resource for San Francisco Businesses

BOMA San Francisco Members: is a new initiative of the Workforce Development Division of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), to help San Francisco businesses find the most qualified local job seekers to fill their open positions. The site has been designed as a virtual one stop job matching system, so that employers can easily recruit from among the 46,900 San Francisco residents who are looking for work. directly connects employers to JOBS NOW! SF-certified candidates, as well as to job seekers graduating from the City’s many job training programs. All San Francisco residents can register and create resumes searchable by employers by going to By using, employers who agree to offer on the job training (OJT) to eligible job seekers hired through the One-Stop Career Center system can also access up to $3,000 in salary reimbursement. These OJT hires will qualify a business located in San Francisco’s Enterprise Zone for more than $37,000 in tax credits over 5 years.

Employers who want to access job candidates and both the JOBS NOW! SF and OJT stimulus programs should register at They will be contacted directly by a Business Services Representative who can answer all their questions.

The JOBS NOW! SF program is set to expire on September 30 of this year. However, President Obama is supporting an extension of the program for one year, to September 30, 2011 as part of his proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Next week, the House of Representatives will take up a bill that could include an extension for one year of the funds used for JOBS NOW! SF.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UPDATE: Destination-Based Elevator Control System Requirements - Final Draft Approved by Building Inspection Commission

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please find the final draft of the destination-based elevator controls administrative bulletin (AB-090) from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection that will govern future installation of such elevators controls in San Francisco, insuring they are completely accessible to the disabled, here.

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team is pleased to announce that the final draft (#10) of this bulletin--a product of more than two years of consideration by the many affected parties--was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Building Inspection Commission (BIC) on March 17, 2010.  BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee Chair, Skip Soskin (Huntsman Architectural Group), spoke on behalf of the association at the BIC meeting and kindly conveyed BOMA's support for the bulletin.

Please click here to read BOMA San Francisco's support letter for AB-090.  The bulletin now goes to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Support for the adoption of the bulletin has been widespread and includes BOMA San Francisco, the disability community, various elevator industry groups, and manufactures and installers, among others.  

If you have any questions about the final draft of the bulletin, please contact Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Union Square Business Improvement District Management Plan

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Union Square Business Improvement District (BID) has recently announced that they have received the necessary funding to implement the Greater Union Square BID Management Plan.  The renewal and expansion of the Greater Union Square BID from 10 city blocks to approximately 27 was approved by a vote of the property owners and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on July 28, 2009.

Please click here to review the implementation progress report, updated contact information and much more!

San Francisco's 'Sit/Lie' Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take a moment to review the recently introduced 'sit/lie' ordinance, here, that would amend the San Francisco Police Code to prohibit sitting or lying on a public sidewalk during specified hours.  Specifically, this version of the ordinance:

  • Prohibits sitting or lying upon a public sidewalk, or upon a blanket, chair, stool, or any other object placed upon a public sidewalk during the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
    • Exceptions
      • A medical emergency;
      • Use of a wheelchair, walker, or similar devise as the result of a disability;
      • Commercial establishment on a public sidewalk with applicable permit;
      • Participating/attending a parade, festival, performance, rally, demonstration, meeting or similar event conducted on the sidewalk with applicable permit;
      • Sitting on a fixed chair or bench located on the public sidewalk supplied by a public agency or by the abutting private property owner;
      • Sitting in line for goods or services unless the person or person's possession impede the ability of pedestrians to travel along the length of the sidewalk or enter a doorway or other entrance alongside the sidewalk;
      • A child seated in a stroller.

Please email Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, at with your feedback.

The News Links - March 13-16, 2010

Mayor Newsom's YouTube Update: March 13, 2010

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
  • Incumbents, challengers file to run for June election.
The Economy
Energy and Environment

525 Market Street Awarded USGBC LEED Gold Certification

Cushman & Wakefield's property management team at 525 Market Street (from left to right): Candy Chu, Don Bell, Helen Wong, Chris Fisher, Aline Singman, Mike Walter and Linda Jeong.

Click image to enlarge.

525 Market Street has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The distinction marks the largest-ever Gold level certification for an existing high-rise office building on the U.S. West Coast, at gross square footage of 1,161,736. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Under the direction of the ownership and utilizing Cushman & Wakefield's sustainability practices, the building recently embarked on the LEED certification process to further reduce its carbon footprint. The property underwent major lighting retrofits of lamps and ballasts throughout tenant occupied spaces and common areas as well as mechanical and garage areas. In addition, substantial investments were made in high efficiency upgrades and/or replacements of the building's operating systems, including chillers, boilers and water heaters.

Additional sustainable highlights of 525 Market Streets LEED certification include:
  • Retrofits of indoor water fixtures and fittings resulted in 20% reduction of water usage.
  • 525 Market Street purchased certified offsite renewable energy equivalent to 50% of its annual energy use.
  • The Building and its tenants reuse, recycle and compost more than 70% of the ongoing consumable waste stream. In addition, more than 70% of the waste was diverted from construction from landfill and incineration disposal.
  • Outdoor air ventilation rates to all occupied spaces are at least 30% above the minimum rates required, substantially improving indoor air quality for the occupants.
  • An effective custodial program was given the highest rating in its category with green cleaning practices incorporating usage of HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners and microfiber dust cloths. 90% of the cleaning products purchased contain high recycled content or meet rigorous EPA and Green Seal standards for sustainability.
  • Over 87% of occupants use public transportation and alternative methods of transportation to commute to work.
  • The ownership, property management and leasing team have made extensive efforts to educate building occupants about sustainability through an Earth Day Green Fair and educational newsletters promoting LEED practices.
BOMA San Francisco congratulates Cushman & Wakefield's property management team at 525 Market Street for their tenacity and fortitude to acheive LEED Gold certification.  Indeed, while it is relatively easier to design and build a new building to LEED standards, it can be a challenge to take an existing property, such as 525 Market Street, to that level. It is certainly doable, but it requires a committed owner/investor, some capital expenditure, effective implementation by the property management team, supportive vendors, and tenants who are willing to change some of their behaviors to help sustain the environment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BOMA San Francisco Endorses Proposition 16

BOMA San Francisco is supporting Proposition 16 because it is in our best interests as commercial property owners to have reliability and predictability of electric power service for our buildings, our tenants, and their customers and clients. Nothing is more important than reliable power. Changing the source of that power is something that should not be done without overwhelming support of all customers. That is why BOMA San Francisco is supporting Proposition 16 as it would create a higher threshold of public support for any deviation away from the current Investor Owned Utility service to one owned and managed by a local government. It will not affect the current operations of existing public power entities.

On a more local basis, BOMA San Francisco members are not impressed with the way our local city government runs most of its services. Consequently, we are not inclined to give the responsibility to the City to purchase power for our buildings. BOMA San Francisco has long recognized PG&E as a very socially-responsible good corporate citizen of San Francisco. PG&E has been a long-time member of our organization as a principal building member. PG&E has been a big supporter of our training and education programs geared toward benchmarking, energy efficiency, and sustainability, and has been (and continues to be) an integral partner on all things related to energy, energy conservation, and demand reduction programs for commercial real estate. Several years ago BOMA San Francisco and PG & E worked together to create the first commercial office sub-metering agreement, which has since been copied by both SCE and SDG&E in their rate proceedings at the CPUC. PG&E also supports our position that the rates for electricity should reflect the cost of service as closely as possible.

BOMA San Francisco has a long and trusted relationship with PG & E. To ensure that fundamentally-important electric power services are not politicized and thrown into uncertainty through the actions of a few extremists intent on disrupting the status quo, we say a higher level of public support should be required.

Therefore, BOMA San Francisco supports Proposition 16 and urges its members to vote YES on Prop 16 in the June 8, 2010 election.

Draft Regulations Implementing AB 1103 - Benchmarking Requirements

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Regulations for AB 1103, California’s historic building benchmarking law, are in the final process of being prepared by the California Energy Commission staff for the formal adoption process. We are seeking input from our BOMA San Francisco members to make sure the implementation of this historic law is a success. Click here to read the draft regulations. Please send feedback, suggestions, and questions, to BOMA California representative Matthew Hargrove at and Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs at

AB 1103 was originally passed in 2007 and requires non-residential building owners to disclose their Energy Star rating to a buyer, lessee, or lender. This regulation was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010; however, due to legal concerns regarding disclosing utility data, and how to deal with certain building types (such as triple net lease situations), the measure has been delayed to allow the California Energy Commission and its Benchmark Workgroup to write implementation regulations. BOMA California serves on the workgroup that is helping regulators craft policy, and expect final adoption sometime in Summer 2010, taking effect for buildings larger than 50,000 s.f. no earlier than January 1, 2011.

UPDATE: SFFD Emergency Evacuation Sign Revision - We Need Your Feedback!

BOMA San Francisco Members:

We posted information on the blog previously regarding the San Francisco Fire Department's (SFFD) guidelines for new emergency evacuation signs.  Via BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee, members had expressed concern about the increased cost and size of the sign (below).  Indeed, the font size of 5/8" that was required by SFFD Administrative Bulletin 2.11 in 2009 made the sign larger than expected and impractical to post for BOMA San Francisco members.  The size of 5/8" was requested by the Mayor's Office on Disability, although it is not required by Title 19.  As such, the SFFD has kindly worked closely with BOMA San Francisco members and your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team to craft a revised version of the evacuation sign.  Please see the current and revised signs below:

Current Evacuation Sign Example

Revised Sign Example

There is a public hearing on Administrative Bulletin 2.11 to revise the emergency evacuation sign (above).  Click here for more information.  The hearing will be on April 19, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Fire Commission Room, SFFD Headquarters, 698 Second Street @ Townsend in San Francisco.  Please consider attending this meeting to detail BOMA San Francisco's case for the necessary changes to the sign requirements, or send your feedback to BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, Ken Cleaveland at

Monday, March 8, 2010

The News Links - March 4-8, 2010

SF Weekly: Muni union's crazy math

Sacramento Bee: Asm. Speaker Perez to seek putting majority budget vote measure on ballot.

Mayor Newsom's YouTube Update: March 6, 2010

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
The Economy
Energy & Environment
  • Taxes increase; businesses leave: An LA case study.
  • TMASF has updated the look and content of their website; click here to check it out!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

UPDATE: Pension and Muni Reform Efforts from Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take a moment to review Supervisor Sean Elsbernd's report on his efforts to reform the pension rules for employees of the City and County of San Francisco as well as Muni drivers' salaries, below:

Pension Reform Proposal Submitted to Voters for June 8 Ballot

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors submitted to the voters an amended version of my Charter proposal on pension reform. Instead of calculating final retirement compensation based on average salary for the final 36 months of service, the amended version instead calculates compensation based on the final 24 months. This change will reduce on the cost-savings generated by the proposal, lowering the total amount that the City will save by one third - or $250 million over the next 25 years.

While I would have preferred the version that generated additional cost-savings for the City, I recognize the importance of progress on the pension issue, no matter how incremental, and will support the amended version. The amended proposal will still generate some cost-savings for the City by the increasing pension contributions from new safety workers from 7.5 percent to 9 percent and increasing the months of service on which final retirement compensation is based.

Pension reform is too important an issue to ignore, and I hope you will join me in supporting this ballot measure on June 8. Please be assured that this is only the first step on the road to meaningful pension reform and that I will continue looking for other ways to address the significant challenge that increasing pension costs pose to the City.

With Your Support SF Voters Will Have Say on Muni Salaries

In the coming weeks I will begin collecting signatures for a voter initiative that will change the City charter to allow the MTA to negotiate Muni driver salaries. The measure is designed to save the City money by allowing the MTA to freeze salaries during difficult economic times and to eliminate work rules that lead to system-wide inefficiencies. The initiative will provide MTA management greater flexibility in making difficult budget choices by allowing the transit agency to prioritize services for riders and not salaries for drivers.

Currently, the MTA is facing a deficit of $16.9 million and a projected deficit of $60 million for next year. Unfortunately, the MTA has no ability to negotiate Muni operator wages because the Muni operators’ salaries are set in the City’s charter. As a result, Muni drivers will receive an $8 million raise while the MTA management is forced to balance the budget on the backs of Muni riders and car owners.

I am asking the people of San Francisco to support my voter initiative. In the coming weeks voters will have the opportunity to stand up and tell drivers that enough is enough and that there should be no raises when there are service reductions.

If you are interested in signing the petition or learning more about my Muni reform proposal please contact me at For all other questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or by phone at (415) 554-6516.