Thursday, August 30, 2012

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Law

UPDATE - August 30, 2012

The Department of Environment has published  information regarding the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance online.  Click here to access the webpage.  Click here to access the Bicycle Access Plan form.

If you would like to file for a qualified exemption under the law, the DOE is still developing that form.  Feel free to contact the Department for questions regarding exemptions and the process to file for one until the online form is available.

Our Department of Environment partners can be reached at (415) 355-3727 or


UPDATE - June 7, 2012

Your BOMA Advocacy Team held a conference call with the staff of the San Francisco Department of Environment (DOE), the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Supervisor John Avalos' office this afternoon.  The purpose of the call was to discuss the development of the Bicycle Access Plan (BAP) as required by the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Law and clarifications to DOE guidelines.  BOMA thanks all of the stakeholders for their time today.

Once the BAP has been approved by the DOE, your BOMA Advocacy Team will publish it on the blog, the website and our social media channels for you to fill out and distribute to your tenants.   At that time, we will also include instructions  on notifying your tenants of this new law and the availability of the BAP.

Supervisor Avalos is planning to introduce follow-up legislation to amend language in the current law.  Specifically, references to planning code sections that will be updated by the Planning Department this year and to remove references to subtenants - all stakeholders have agreed that this legislation is intended for only commercial building tenants of record that request bicycle parking.

We published the 'next steps' for BOMA members, below, on the blog recently.  Please take a moment to re-review this information as some of it has been updated:

What are the next steps for BOMA San Francisco Members?

Please click here to access a FAQ sheet to review what this ordinance now requires of commercial building owners and managers.  BOMA members (and non-BOMA members) will, at a tenant’s request, now have to:
  • Allow bicycles to be brought into the tenant space/or into a bike room on site for tenant employees only.
    • A building owner and manager will have to allow bicycles in the building without restriction (e.g., no prescription on path of travel, elevator use), but if they choose to restrict full access in anyway, they must fill out a Bicycle Access Plan (BAP)  provided by San Francisco Department of Environment. The form does not have to be submitted to the City. NOTE: as previously mentioned, the San Francisco Department of Environment is currently developing the BAP. 
      • For example, if a building owner and manager chooses to restrict bicycle access to a secure bike room they must detail the location of the parking area and access to it in a BAP.
  • OR a building owner and manager can fully restrict bicycle access to the building based specific exceptions as detailed in the new law.  
    • If the building owner wants to file an exception to bicycle access to the building, there are two allowable exceptions in the law: 1) building elevators not available due to unique safety risks or 2) alternate no-cost secure parking is available within a prescribed distance.  More details in the ordinance. 
    • The Department of Environment will have to review and approve an exception application based on recommendation from - referencing the aforementioned exceptions - 1) The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) OR 2) the San Francisco Municipal Transpiration Agency. 
      • NOTE: There may be a fee for the SFDBI to conduct an inspection assessed the building owner or manager requesting the exemption.  
The new law does not require building owners to build a bike room or dedicate a specific space for bicycle parking. It allows the tenant’s employees to bring their bikes inside their rented space or provide an alternative.  If a building owner chooses to build a bike room, this legislation does not prohibit charging a reasonable fee for use.

If you have any questions please contact John Bozeman at or (415) 686-9652 x 116.  Our Department of Environment partners can be reached at (415) 355-3727 or

Friday, August 24, 2012

Environmental Protection Agency Update - Upgrade to Portfolio Manager and Energy Star Buildings Competition

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please note the following information provided to us by BOMA International.

EPA to Release Upgraded Portfolio Manager Tool

The EPA announced a new and improved Portfolio Manager tool will be released in June 2013, making it easier and more intuitive to use. The upgraded Portfolio Manager will feature enhanced functionality, greater sharing capabilities, and colorful and easy-to-generate reports. Additionally, the revised architecture and data processing capabilities will make the tool faster and will improve data exchange services. For the latest information about the upgrade, visit the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Upgrade webpage.

EPA’s 2012 ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings Competition Launched

In more EPA news, last month, the 2012 ENERGY STAR “National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings” began with more than 3,200 teams competing to be the biggest (energy) loser through energy and water use improvements. With competitors representing more than 30 different types of commercial properties—from office buildings to medical facilities to college dormitories—and hailing from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, the battle is bigger than ever this year. Find competing buildings near you and cheer them on by visiting the Battle of the Buildings webpage.

UPDATE - Join the BOMA SF-PAC for a Reception Honoring Endorsed Candidate for California Assembly - Michael Breyer

Michael Breyer and BOMA SF-PAC Chair Jim Christian

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - August 24, 2012

The BOMA San Francisco Political Action Committee (BOMA SF-PAC) held a reception for BOMA's endorsed candidate for California State Assembly District 19, Mr. Michael Breyer recently. It was a well attended event.  We thank all the BOMA members who attended and contributed to Mr. Breyer's campaign.  If you could not attend the event and would like to contribute to Mr. Breyer's campaign, please click here.

You can view pictures from the reception by clicking here.

Original Post - July 18, 2012

Please consider joining the BOMA San Francisco Political Action Committee (BOMA SF-PAC) for a reception to honor Michael Breyer on August 23rd.  Mr. Breyer has been endorsed by the BOMA SF-PAC for the 19th District of the California Assembly.  Be sure to follow Mr. Breyer on Twitter and 'Like' him on Facebook!

Elect Michael Breyer 2012

Please join The Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco for a reception in support of

Michael Breyer 
Candidate for California State Assembly, District 19
Thursday, August 23, 2012
5:00PM – 7:00PM

The Executive Offices of Seligman Western
Transamerica Pyramid
600 Montgomery Street, 40th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Contribution Levels: Sponsor: $1,000 Co-Host: $500 Guest: $100
Please RSVP to Thielson Da Silva at (415) 692-3556 or email

Click here to access the remit form and additional information.

About Michael Breyer

Mr. Breyer is a San Francisco Library Commissioner, the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and is a Stanford University graduate.  He is a firm believer in the spirit of entrepreneurship as he is the co-founder of Courtroom Connect.  Mr. Breyer is also the founder of the Draft Ed Lee campaign.  

In the Assembly seat Mr. Breyer will focus on:
  • Stimulating economic growth in the great State of California;
  • Bringing innovation in the school system;
  • Statewide pension reform;
  • And, much more!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BOMA San Francisco and Plan C San Francisco Cordially Invite You to a Reception for Mike Garcia - Candidate for San Francisco District 7 Supervisor

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The BOMA SF-PAC and Plan C San Francisco cordially invite you to a reception for Mike Garcia, candidate for District 7 Supervisor.

Please join us Thursday, September 13, from 5:30-7:30PM at
600 Montgomery St., 40th Floor-Transamerica Building, San Francisco 

Please RSVP via email to
or via phone to Jess Montejano at 415-592-4441

Suggested Minimum Donation: $100
Light refreshments will be provided

You're Invited to a Meet & Greet Fundraiser for David Lee - Candidate for San Francisco District 1 Supervisor

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Tom Hart, Jim Reuben, and the BOMA SF-PAC cordially invite you to a Meet & Greet Fundraiser for David Lee.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5: 30pm-7:00 pm 

Shorenstein Company Executive Offices
235 Montgomery Street, 16th Floor 
To RSVP, please contact Thomas Li at (415)928-9588 or e-mail at

Light refreshments will be provided

Join Senator Dianne Feinstein for a Reception: NO on F - Save Hetch Hetchy

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please consider attending this event being hosted by our senior U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, to support the No on Proposition F - Save Hetch Hetchy - campaign. This measure would authorize a costly $8 million study of San Francisco’s recycling water systems and would study the feasibility of demolishing the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley.  Click here to read the Senator's letter regarding her position.

BOMA San Francisco's Political Action Committee (BOMA SF-PAC) is opposed to Proposition F.   Our current water system is the best in the world, and we ask that you stand with the Senator by attending this event and making a contribution.  Thank you.

Mayor Lee & Public Utilities Commission Announce Appointment of Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. as General Manager

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced the appointment of Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. as the new General Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to replace retiring General Manager and former City Controller Ed Harrington.

Kelly’s civil engineering career spans nearly three decades beginning as a Student Trainee and including his tenure as San Francisco’s City Engineer. At the San Francisco Department of Public Works, he also held project management positions, including Acting Director and Deputy Director of Engineering, when he directed complex capital improvement programs that included the rebuild and seismic retrofit of City Hall, Kezar Stadium, and expansions of convention, hospital, county jail, and public arts facilities. For the upgrade of the Hetch Hetchy water system, he implemented a cloud-based system to streamline and coordinate projects and enhance financial transparency and accountability, saving the City time and money.

For the past nine years, Kelly has served as the SFPUC Assistant General Manager for Infrastructure and has overseen the historic $4.6 billion voter-approved seismic upgrade of the Hetch Hetchy Water System and is currently leading the development of the upcoming multi-billion Sewer System Improvement Program. Kelly helped deliver the recently opened $191 million SFPUC 525 Golden Gate Avenue Headquarters, one of the few municipal buildings in the world built to LEED Platinum standards and one of the greenest buildings in North America. The building is projected to save ratepayers $3.7 billion over the building’s lifespan thanks to a combination of rental efficiencies, asset ownership, and environmentally sustainable building design.

Kelly has also shown a strong commitment to empowering San Francisco communities. In 1995, he started Project Pull, a summer internship program that places diverse students from throughout San Francisco with an interest in engineering, architecture, sciences, business and law into City departments for a summer. After 17 years, Project Pull is now the longest-running youth program of its kind in San Francisco. In 2012, he was honored for this work and received the Local Hero Award for Community Service from KQED and Heroes and Hearts Award from the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.

Kelly is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and a licensed professional engineer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Register TODAY - BOMA San Francisco's Annual Emergency Preparedness Seminar - September 19th

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Register today for the 2012 BOMA San Francisco Annual Emergency Preparedness Seminar on September 19, 2012 as seating is limited!  The BOMA San Francisco Emergency Preparedness Committee members are putting the final touches on the seminar program details now - you will not want to miss this event.

NOTE: You can also register in-person on the day of the event!

275 Battery Street

This information-packed emergency preparedness seminar is produced for property and facilities managers, tenants, building security staff, and public sector emergency responders.

Attendees will:
  • Learn lessons from BOMA San Francisco’s August 2012 Fire Drills at 275 Battery Street including: 1) incident management and 2) communication with relevant stakeholders, i.e., the 275 Battery Property Management Team, security team members, engineering staff, and the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD);
  • Learn strategies for working with emergency responders;
  • Gain resources to help YOU be better educated and prepared for such emergencies.

BOMA San Francisco Emergency Preparedness Committee Member Volunteers
The program is presented as part of BOMA’s Emergency Preparedness Committee’s commitment to educate members on the best emergency preparedness strategies and will show how simulated emergencies can strengthen your entire building teams’ response to a critical incident.


Misa Gidding-Chatfield, Property Coordinator, PM Realty Group & BOMA SF Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair
Liz Henderson, Property Manager, CAC Real Estate Management at 275 Battery Street
Rod Collings, General Manager, CAC Real Estate Management at 275 Battery Street
San Francisco Fire Department Representative, TBA

More speakers to be announced soon!

Location: The Ferry Building, Port Commission Hearing Room, Second Floor 

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 

Members: $85.00, Non-members: $105.00

The BOMA San Francisco Emergency Preparedness Committee's 2012 Annual Emergency Preparedness Seminar is generously sponsored by (in alphabetical order):

For more information on sponsorship, please contact John Bozeman.

Monday, August 20, 2012

BOMA California Legislative Update - ADA Reform, Loan Program for Energy Efficiency, Zero Net Energy

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take a moment to review the following update from our advocates at BOMA California.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Reform Effort – SB 1186 

This year’s ADA reform effort – SB 1186 continues to move forward.  The bill passed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week with a unanimous vote. On behalf of the commercial real estate industry, the California Business Properties Association (BOMA California's parent organization) has been deeply involved with this effort and has helped bring about a consensus measure to end demand letters and find a way around technical issues versus accessibility issues. This bill provides the best chance we have had in years to reduce the number of frivolous 'drive-by' ADA lawsuits.

Loan Program for Energy Efficiency – SB 1130 

Unfortunately, a bill BOMA California was very supportive of,  SB 1130, which would have provided low cost loans for energy efficiency loans, was held in Senate Appropriations. BOMA has been working with the administration, treasurer, and/or controller over the past three years to design a program that uses the bonding ability of the state to provide an option for property owners to tap into low cost loans for energy efficiency. This year, unfortunately, the required funds needed to seed the program are not available from the state. BOMA California's advocates will assess the bill’s likelihood for passage through the next legislative session.

California Energy Commission Withdraws Zero Net Energy Proposal 

Due to ongoing concerns expressed by a number of groups, the California Energy Commission has again withdrawn a recent proposal to adopt Zero Net Energy by way of a third tier to the state’s California Green Building Standards (CalGreen).

While voluntary at the state level, the CalGreen tiers are routinely adopted as mandatory by local cities and counties. A zero net energy building is one which produces its entire annual energy needs from on-site sources (e.g., solar photovoltaic). A recent study sponsored by industry showed that many commercial buildings – even the most energy efficient – simply do not have enough roof space to sustain the amount of PV that would be needed to meet this requirement.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Innovations - Tenant Water Filter Program at 100 Pine

By BOMA Energy & Environment Committee Members Zachary Brown (CBRE) and Jessica Robinson (Zipcar)

It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and this month’s featured EARTH Awards winner demonstrates that inspiration can come from unexpected events.

Alan Trinh, Assistant Real Estate Manager and Ernie Horciza, Chief Engineer for CBRE recently shared the history behind the building they manage and the impact that something obscure – a 24” under-counter water filter cartridge – can have.

Constructed in 1972, 100 Pine Street ranks among the oldest skyscrapers in San Francisco, and at 476 feet, it is also one of the tallest. Designed before contemporary high rise plumbing technologies were available, the building utilizes a gravity feed system which pumps and stores water in large holding tanks on the roof. This liquid weight creates adequate water pressure throughout the building but also puts tremendous strain on the in-suite filtration systems that have been added over the years.

According to Margot Crosman, the former property manager for 100 Pine Street, her inspiration to offer water filtration systems to tenants - in exchange for zero use of plastic bottles -  was due to former California State Senator (now Congresswoman) Jackie Speier’s remarks at a BOMA San Francisco monthly luncheon on the topic.

Also, when an off-the-shelf, low-grade plastic filter installed by a tenant failed and left significant water damage, managers at 100 Pine knew they had to respond by installing more robust, metal-encased commercial-grade filters.

Lastly, the timing turned out to be fortuitous because there was another water-themed innovation occurring across town at City Hall. Then Mayor Gavin Newsom had just banned all city buildings and departments from purchasing bottled water, saving a projected $500,000 per year.
For 100 Pine, it was an “Ah hah!” moment. If it could be done at City Hall, it could be done at their building, too.

The new water filter program at 100 Pine Street rolled out with 10 volunteer tenants who agreed to stop buying bottled water in exchange for installation and free, lifetime cartridge replacements. Through the offer, management gained willing participants for the retrofit. Today, the program goes beyond those early adopters and represents real budget savings and carbon footprint reduction for tenants. Some opt for enhanced systems that include small coolers or heating units that deliver hot water for soup or dish washing. And while there are no “water bottle police” to enforce compliance, tenants enthusiastically join the effort.

As the first California building to receive LEED EBOM certification (LEED EB 2.0), 100 Pine continues to lead by example. In June, CBRE completed the installation of a new living wall, which they believe is the first exterior installation of its kind in San Francisco.

By the Numbers: Bottled Water Alternatives at 100 Pine Street

$700: Cost of installation of new filtration system at one sink.
$60: Replacement cartridge which yields 3,000 gallons per filter.
3,000 gallons: 48,000 cups of coffee.
$6,600: Approximate retail price of the equivalent number of 16.9oz single serve bottles.

Want to stay up to date on the latest in energy conservation, commercial recycling, and other sustainability initiatives? The BOMA SF Energy and Environment Committee meets the first Tuesday of each month and is currently soliciting members to participate on this year’s EARTH Awards subcommittees. If you are interested in helping to shape this year’s program, contact Committee Chair Zachary Brown at for more information.

Sub-Sidewalk Basement Information - Encroachment Permit and Fee Schedule

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take note of this important information if you have a building with a sub-sidewalk basement.  The San Francisco Building Code defines a sub-sidewalk basement as part of the underground building structure which extends into the Public Right of Way (e.g., a sidewalk).

Both the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) and the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW) are responsible for different parts of the sub-sidewalk basement process:
  • SFDBI is responsible for the design review, permitting and construction inspection of the sub-sidewalk basement structure.
  • SFDPW is responsible for issuing a subsidewalk basement Encroachment Permit (DPW Code Section 723.2) and applying an assessment fee based on legislation enacted in 2005 by the Board of Supervisors. The assessment fee is applicable for all permitted and un-permitted sub-sidewalk basements. The purpose of the Encroachment permit is to identify the sub-sidewalk basement and record it on the property so that the property owner and successors of interest can be annually assessed.

Annual assessment fees are calculated as follows:
  • Minor Sidewalk Encroachment fee: 
    • The fee is $3.41/Square Foot per year minus the square footage for any applicable transformer vault.
  • Vault Transformer Encroachment fee:  
    • The fee is $14.02/square foot per year.
Note:  The fees are CPI adjusted on an annual basis and are subject to change.

  • For detailed information about this process, please click here
  • For a 2012 fee schedule for items that pertain to sub-sidewalk basements, click here.
  • For information on the process to abandon an existing sub-sidewalk basement, click here.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team at and  Thank you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

UPDATE - What is an ASHRAE Audit? How to Comply with the Existing Commercial Building Energy Performance Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - August 13, 2012

Jessica Handy and Christopher Cayten with Code Green;  Zach Brown Chair of  the BOMA San Francisco Energy and Environment Committee

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - August 13, 2012

Thank you to the BOMA San Francisco members who attended today's workshop.  A special thank you to PG&E, the San Francisco Department of Environment and BOMA members Code Green Solutions - Jessica Handy a and Christopher Cayten for helping to organize and present at this event.

Original Post - July 26, 2012

BOMA San Francisco is hosting this new seminar on Monday August 13th at the Pacific Energy Center with PG&E as the sponsor.  Click here to register!

The San Francisco Existing Commercial Building Ordinance sets energy efficiency goals for commercial buildings; sets reporting standards and methods for commercial properties, and defines deadlines for meeting goals and reporting a building's energy performance. Stage 1 involves the requirement for commercial buildings to be energy benchmarked using the EPA's Portfolio Manager site, Stage 2 involves the additional requirement for commercial buildings to get ASHRAE audits, and for the reporting of those audits results.

This seminar will provide commercial building owners, managers and operational staff an understanding of the ASHRAE Level Energy Efficiency audit requirement under the San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance. ASHRAE audits are detailed surveys of a building's energy costs and efficiency. The audit identifies energy savings and provides a cost benefit analysis of recommended energy conservation measures. The ordinance requires owners of commercial buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. to perform ASHRAE energy audits every five years and the first of the assigned deadlines is quickly approaching.

At the completion of the seminar, participants will have the knowledge they need to confidently decide what level of ASHRAE audit to conduct, who should perform the ASHRAE audit, what resources will need to be dedicated and what steps to take after an ASHRAE audit report is completed. An overview of a retro-commissioning study, which can be submitted for compliance in lieu of an ASHRAE audit, will also be provided.

  • 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. : What is required by the San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance
  • 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.: Description of the levels of ASHRAE audits and how to get the most out of the audit
  • 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.: Description of retro-commissioning as an alternative to an ASHRAE audit
  • 10:45 a.m. - 11 a.m.: Q and A and wrap-up discussion

Friday, August 10, 2012

BOMA San Francisco Members Tour the New SFPUC Headquarters

BOMA San Francisco members had the unique opportunity to tour the new headquarter building of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) recently. Please watch the video above for more information about this new treasure and click here for pictures of the tour.

BOMA Members get the full tour of the building - starting with the exterior!
About the SFPUC

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is a department of the City and County of San Francisco that provides retail drinking water and wastewater services to San Francisco, wholesale water to three Bay Area counties, and green hydroelectric and solar power to San Francisco's municipal departments.

We are comprised of three essential 24/7 service utilities: Water, Wastewater and Power. These functions are supported by the Business Services, Infrastructure and External Affairs bureaus.

525 Golden Gate Project Facts
  • 13-story Class A office building
  • 277,500 square feet
  • Houses over 900 employees
  • Approximately 40% of project construction work performed by San Francisco residents
  • Construction costs: $146.5 million
  • Total project costs (includes moving, design, permitting, etc.): $201.6 million
  • $3.7 billion in ratepayer savings ($500M in 2011 dollars) over the 100-year building lifespan
Green Building Features
  • 525 Golden Gate consumes 32% less energy than similarly-sized office buildings.
  • An integrated, hybrid solar array and wind turbine installation can generate up to 227,000 kWh/year or 7% of the building’s energy needs
  • A state-of-the-art raised flooring system incorporates the building’s data and ventilation infrastructure and reduces heating, cooling and ventilation energy costs by 51%
  • Maximizing daylight harvesting saves electricity and minimizes artificial lighting
  • Lighting and work station equipment shutoff automatically after-hours
525 Golden Gate consumes 60% less water than similarly sized buildings.
  • One of the first buildings in the nation with onsite treatment of gray and black water
  • An onsite “Living Machine” reclaims and treats all of the building’s wastewater to satisfy 100% of the water demand for the building’s low-flow toilets and urinals
  • The “Living Machine” system treats 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day and reduces per person water consumption from 12 gallons (normal office building) to 5 gallons
  • The building’s rainwater harvesting system can store up to 250,000 gallons of water per year for use by the exterior irrigations systems
525 Golden Gate’s carbon footprint is 50% less than similarly-sized office buildings.
  • Green concrete mixture using environmentally friendly materials
  • Parking is limited to four spaces to promote alternative transportation and lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of SF’s Transit First policy
  • Extensive use of recycled materials throughout the building
Commonsense Ratepayer Savings

Over the 100-year lifespan of the building, 525 Golden Gate will save ratepayers money.
In total, asset/building ownership will realize future ratepayers approximately $3.7 billion in savings over the expected useful life of the building; that’s $500 million in 2011 dollars
In 26 years, owning 525 Golden Gate will become cheaper than renting
Building ownership insulates ratepayers from the expensive, and often, unpredictable San Francisco office-space rental market

Unique Seismic Safety Features

525 Golden Gate is one of the safest buildings in San Francisco.
  • The building’s core contains innovative post tension systems that allow the entire structure to move and absorb energy during a seismic event, much like a suspension bridge
  • Not only is 525 Golden Gate immediately available for occupancy after an earthquake, but because of the unique concrete shear walls running vertically through the building, any damage should be negligible

Commercial Buildings Boost Economy

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please take a moment to read the op-ed article, Commercial buildings boost economy, by Marc Intermaggio, BOMA San Francisco's Executive Vice President, published in the San Francisco Examiner on August 9, 2012.


By: Marc Intermaggio | 08/09/12 8:46 PM
Special To The S.F. Examiner

It’s high time to correct some of the myths that are perpetrated about commercial real estate, myths that can cause bad public policy.

Myth: Commercial buildings are owned by old fat cats who limo around town stuffing their pin-striped silk suits with gobs of rent money.

Reality: We the people actually own most of the skyscrapers: the millions of us who have an interest in pension funds and other financial instruments that invest in real estate investment trusts and various types of partnerships. Your retired mother, or your kid’s schoolteacher, or the worker who is repairing your cable TV or collecting your trash own commercial real estate. Actions that damage the financial interests of building owners directly affect such people.

Myth: Big buildings are full of nothing but large corporations that can afford to pay plenty of taxes.

Reality: The 187 million square feet of office space in the four counties represented by BOMA San Francisco contain tens of thousands of small companies, branch offices, numerous sole proprietors, nonprofits, medical offices, educational institutions and government agencies.

There aren’t that many large corporations that occupy entire commercial buildings or even multiple floors. When legislators think of tall buildings as cash boxes, they should know that when they impose any additional property taxes or other costly regulatory burdens on commercial building owners, those increased operating costs will largely fall on their tenants, mostly small businesses. Public officials should also realize that these small firms — which are, incidentally, the largest driver of employment growth — are agile enough to escape the harm of overburdensome costs by moving across the county line ... or over the Bay or Golden Gate bridges ... and even into neighboring states, taking their tax revenues and their jobs with them to more business-friendly areas.

Myth: Buildings irresponsibly consume vast quantities of energy.

Reality: Buildings, per se, consume almost no energy while standing empty. It’s the occupant firms that consume the energy. Property operators and their staffs foster many programs that help tenants use energy wisely and efficiently. One example is BOMA San Francisco’s popular EARTH Awards program, which encourages buildings to compete to attain higher levels of energy efficiency and overall sustainability. But ultimately, it is the tenants who must agree to practice sustainability.

Myth: Big cities are nothing but inefficient energy hogs that cause pollution.

Reality: Wrong again. Cities are actually much more energy-efficient than suburbs. New York City, for example, requires fewer resources per person to operate than any other city in America. Why? Because big cities aggregate and share resources. And they are vertical, so they maximize the benefits of smaller real estate footprints. This is particularly true of cities where people can walk to work or ride mass transit or bikes, as opposed to the suburbs, where most workers need to commute by car.

Tall buildings symbolize different things to different people. But they are not merely monolithic, self-serving structures — either in terms of ownership, operation or occupancy.

Our buildings house many small businesses banding together under the same roof to produce goods and services, provide jobs for our local citizenry and support the communities in which our properties are located. In San Francisco alone, our industry supports nearly 15,000 jobs and contributes more than $2.5 billion to the local economy.

Legislators and regulators would do well to remember the human faces and jobs behind the brick and mortar, steel and glass. Human beings — and their need for safe, clean, secure, well-maintained workspaces in which to create and produce goods and services — are why our buildings are here in the first place.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BOMA International Advocacy Update - Tax Reform, Tax Extenders and International Code Council Voting System

House Passes Framework for Tax Reform

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6169, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012, aimed at providing a clear process for tax reform in 2013, by a vote of 232-189. It requires a reform bill be introduced by April 30, 2013 that consolidates the current six income tax brackets to two brackets (of 10 percent and not more than 25 percent), reduces the corporate tax rate to not greater than 25 percent, repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, broadens the tax base to maintain revenue at between 18 and 19 percent of the economy and changes the structure to a territorial system. In such a system, companies would not pay taxes on profits earned overseas.

Senate Committee Approves Tax Extenders Bill

Last Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee passed tax extenders legislation by a vote of 19–5. The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012 would reinstate many tax provisions that expired at the end of 2011 and other provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2012.  Included in the bill was a two–year extension of the 15–year depreciation of leasehold improvements for 2012 and 2013. In an effort to reduce the number of provisions perceived to be unnecessary, the Finance Committee eliminated 25 percent of the measures under consideration. Action by the full Senate could come in September, while the House most likely will not address similar legislation until after the election.

House and Senate Pass Competing Tax Legislation

Prior to adjourning for the August recess, the House and Senate passed politically-charged tax legislation that will be used as a rhetorical dividing line between Republicans and Democrats during the remainder of the campaign season. The legislation in each chamber focused primarily on the expiring tax provisions known colloquially as “the Bush tax cuts.” The Senate’s legislation would provide a one–year extension of those provisions for single filers making less than $200,000 and joint filers making less than $250,000. The Democratic majority passed the bill 51–48. Meanwhile, the Republican plan, which would extend these rates for everyone, was defeated 45–54. In the House, Republicans passed a bill similar to the Senate Republican substitute by a vote of 256–171. Both bills included a one-year extension of the 15-percent tax rate on capital gains; however, the Republican proposals apply the rate to all regardless of income. Congress is not expected to reconcile their differences on these or any other tax issues until after the November elections.

New Voting System Implemented at ICC Hearings

The International Code Council (ICC) instituted a new electronic voting designation system to be used at the final code hearings during the upcoming annual ICC meeting in October. The new system allows voting members to watch the hearings on the Internet and vote electronically from a remote location. This system will increase the number of votes for each of the code change proposals and will insure more activity at the hearings regardless of where they are being held. These changes will require BOMA to become even more active in the various regions to assist in gathering support from the voting members for those proposals that could benefit our industry.

California ISO Declares Flex-Alert Statewide - August 10-12

BOMA San Francisco Members:

With a major heat wave bearing down on California, the ISO is declaring a Flex Alert tomorrow through August 12.  Consumers are urged to reduce their energy use during the afternoon when air conditioners drive consumption. Find Flex Alert tips at

Outlook for Friday, Aug 10: Flex Alert 

High temperatures are forecast statewide. Energy demand is expected to be high and consumers are urged to reduce energy usage between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Forecast peak demand: 46,800 megawatts

Outlook for Saturday, Aug 11: Flex Alert

The heat wave continues through the weekend. The California ISO is urging reduced energy usage between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Forecast peak demand: 43,000 megawatt

Outlook for Sunday, Aug 12: Flex Alert

Temperatures will continue to be hot. Conservation is helpful between noon – 6 p.m.

Forecast peak demand: 43,000 megawatt

Go to and click “Notify me” to sign up for Flex Alerts and other updates. Follow real time grid conditions at

Funded by the investor-owned utilities and authorized by the CA Public Utilities Commission, Flex Alerts are part of an educational and emergency alert program that informs consumers about how and when to conserve electricity.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

San Francisco Economic Strategy Update: Phase I Findings

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The BOMA San Francisco Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) recently welcomed Ted Egan, Ph.D., Chief Economist for San Francisco and Todd Rufo, Deputy Director for Mayor Ed Lee's Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  They presented on San Francisco's first ever Economic Strategy.


Created by voter-backed Proposition I in 2004, the Economic Strategy takes a holistic look at San Francisco's economy and critically evaluates how the City's policies and programs can do more to support local businesses. The Economic Strategy is currently being updated in a collaboration between the City's Office of Economic Analysis and Office of Economic & Workforce Development.

Business Barriers Survey

Key to informing the strategy is feedback from business owners. The City has created the Business Barriers survey to gain feedback from a diverse range of San Francisco businesses. The Business Barriers Survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Your opinions and experiences as a San Francisco business owner are incredibly important to informing how the City can support local businesses. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at:

Your feedback is essential to ensuring that the City is responsive to the needs of San Francisco businesses. Thank you for your time and responses. 

San Francisco Economic Strategy Update: Phase I Findings

Please click here to review the San Francisco Economic Strategy Update: Phase I Findings.  The report is divided into five sections:

  • San Francisco's Economy in Context
    • San Francisco's Employment Has Lagged the Bay Area Rate for Forty Years
    • San Francisco Has a Declining Share of Bay Area Jobs in Every Sector of the Economy
  • Structure of San Francisco's Economy
    • Structure of the Private Sector
      • Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
      • Manufacturing
      • Retail Trade
      • Services
    • The Export-Based Sectors Have Driven San Francisco's Overall Employment Through Business Cycles
    • Performance of the Four Sectors, 2004-2010
  • Workplace Implications
    • Employment by Hourly Wage and Educational Level
      • Creative Industries
      • Experience Industries
      • Financial & Professional Services
      • Local-Serving Industries
    • Industry Trends and Workforce Implications: Conclusions
  • Demographic Implications 
    • Demographic Trends, 1990-2010
    • Population by Household Income Trends
    • Significant Demographic Trends
  • Barriers to Growth
    • Labor Costs: San Francisco's Average Wages are Higher than Much of the Bay Area
    • One Reason Wages are Higher in San Francisco is that Housing is More Expensive Here
    • After the Crash, Housing has become more affordable in other parts of the Bay Area
    • Commercial Rent Differences
    • Business Taxes: San Francisco's Business Tax Burden is the Highest in the Region and State
    • Combined Business Costs: Small Hardware Store
    • Combined Business Costs: Large Law Firm
    • Barriers to Growth: Conclusions

How was the 2012 Every Building Conference & Expo?

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Many of you attended the 2012 Every Building Conference & Expo this past June in Seattle, WA. BOMA International staff members are continually working to improve the conference and need your feedback to ensure that they are producing the highest quality event for the commercial real estate industry.

Out of respect for your time, we’ve kept the survey brief. Please answer these 18 questions by Friday, August 17. Your responses will provide us with invaluable insight as we plan for the 2013 show,
June 23 - 25 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA.

Plus, you can be entered into a drawing to win a $100 AMEX gift card, simply by providing your contact information at the end of your completed survey.

Take the survey now.

Thanks for your feedback!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Transbay Transit Center Notice: 24-Hour Work & Street Closure - Labor Day Weekend

BOMA San Francisco Members:

A full street closure of Fremont Street between Mission and Howard Streets will take place on Labor Day weekend and will require 24-hour work to install the second of the three traffic bridges in the project area. During this 24-hour work, the TJPA has been granted a noise variance from the City of San Francisco allowing demolition of the existing roadway as well as the installation of the steel traffic bridge. This work must occur on a 24-hour basis due to the disruption of the entire street and the City’s restrictions regarding full closures of Fremont Street.

Beginning Friday, August 31 at 10:00 a.m., Fremont Street will be closed for the duration of Labor Day weekend and will reopen at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 4. 

During this time work is permitted 24-hours a day. The work taking place will include the demolition of the existing road and concrete base, the installation of the traffic bridge using two cranes, and paving of the traffic bridge. All significant equipment is provided with proper mufflers and acoustical shrouds. Backup alarms on all construction equipment owned or rented by the contractors on the site to be equipped with broadband backup alarms, which are less intrusive than standard backup alarms. For equipment owned or rented by contractors on the site, standard backup alarms are only allowed on cranes, where they are necessary due to safety considerations. Cranes will be equipped with ambient sensitive alarms in order to minimize the amount of noise they generate.

Work will commence on Friday prior to noon when contractors will begin to demolish the street using an excavator and breaker, which will be the loudest portion of the installation. During the day on Saturday, and into the evening, contractors will work to set the six different bridge sections. During the late night hours into the early morning on Sunday, contractors will be bolting and welding the bridges sections together. Once the bridge is connected, the crew will begin paving the bridge in anticipation of its re-opening early Tuesday morning.

While the TJPA will make every effort to minimize impact to neighbors around the project, the bridge installation will be a significant noise producing operation, in particular the demolition of the existing road and underground structures, and assembling and setting the bridge. In order to complete this activity under the tight time restrictions, the contractor will have to work around the clock. This will include some noise-generating activities during the evening hours as well.

For general questions regarding the Transbay Project please contact Stephanie Reichin or Adam Alberti at (415) 227-9700. For site specific questions please call the TJPA hotline at (415) 409-TJPA.