Monday, August 31, 2009

California Cable Car Infrastructure Improvement Project


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) in conjunction with the Department of Public Works (DPW) has initiated the California Cable Car Infrastructure Improvement Project designed to replace aging underground components and repave the roadway along a 17-block area of California Street from Drumm Street west to Van Ness Avenue. Additional underground work, not requiring street repaving, will occur on Hyde Street between California Street & Pacific Avenue, and on Mason Street between California & Washington streets.

Please click here for a fact sheet on the project.

PROJECT LOCATIONS: California Street (Drumm Street to Van Ness
Avenue)
PROJECT DURATION: end of summer 2010 – summer 2011
PROJECT COST: Approximately $23 million

For more information or questions contact:

SFMTA, Mark De Anda (415) 701-5409 or mark.deanda@sfmta.com
DPW, Gloria Chan (415) 554-6926 or gloria.chan@sfdpw.org

Bay Bridge Closure on Labor Day Weekend - 8:00 p.m. on September 3rd until 5:00 p.m. on September 8th




The Bay Bridge will be closed this Labor Day weekend to replace a section of the bridge and connect reconnect it to a temporary detour. This work is part of the Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Projects.

Please click here for detailed information on the closure, including transit options, from TMASF Connects.

The News Links - August 31, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle: Commercial mortgage defaults in the Bay Area are rising.


Sacramento Bee: Money is no miracle in California politics.



Commercial Real Estate
  • Good news for the commercial real estate industry?
  • Commercial real estate worries grow.

San Francisco
Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo

California

The Economy
  • Fed makes $14bn profit on crisis loans.
  • National Association for Business Economics policy survey can be found here.
  • Industrial 'zombies' could threaten U.S. recovery.
  • Restaurant industry outlook improved somewhat in July.

Green Issues

General

Friday, August 28, 2009

The News Links - August 28, 2009


Politicker: Federal workers now have double -- DOUBLE! -- the average compensation of private sector workers. Graphs retrieved here.


Commercial Real Estate

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California

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General

Supervisor John Avalos Tours The Historic Russ Building at 235 Montgomery

From left to right: Stephen Austin with Boston Properties at Embarcadero Center, Annie Chang and Mike Cashion with Shorenstein Realty Servies, Supervisor John Avalos, and Marc Intermaggio, Executive Vice President for BOMA San Francisco. This picture was taken in the ClimateWorks Foundation tenant space in The Russ Building.


Chief Engineer Arthur Wolf with Shorenstein Reality Services explains the energy and environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems in the basement of The Russ Building.



BOMA San Francisco hosted a building tour of The Russ Building at 235 Montgomery for Supervisor John Avalos on Wednesday. Built in 1927, the 31-story building is a California State Historic Landmark and a great example of how a high-rise building is managed, and how an existing building can be retrofitted to address today's energy efficiency requirements and accommodate tenants in a modern office environment.

BOMA San Francisco would like to thank Supervisor Avalos for taking the time to tour The Russ Building. We appreciate our relationship with the Supervisor and look forward to working with him more on issues that affect both the commercial real estate industry and the City in the future.

We would also like to thank the Shorenstein property management team at The Russ Building for organizing the tour: Mike Cashion, Property Manager; Annie Chang, Assistant Property Manager; and, Arthur Wolf, Chief Engineer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Coalition of Business Groups Oppose California Energy Commission Revisions to Energy Benchmarking Law - AB 1103

In an unprecedented coalescence of the California Association of Realtors, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Building Industry Association, BOMA, NAIOP, IREM and others who are part of the California Business Properties Association (CBPA) , the business community made it clear that the California Energy Commission's (CEC) draft regulations implementing AB 1103 for non-residential buildings were too broadly stated and that the Commission was overstepping its authority if it mandated anything other than the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager program to assess a property's energy consumption profile.

Written by CBPA Vice President Matthew Hargrow, the response letter, which you can read here, pulls no punches calling out the CEC staff for overreaching their authority that was not authorized by the California Legislature.

Please click here to review the draft regulations, original legislation and the CEC legal opinion.

BOMA San Francisco PAC Supports Proposition A on the November Ballot

Image from the San Francisco Department of Elections website.


The BOMA San Francisco Political Action Committee (BOMA SF-PAC) supports Proposition A, which will be before the San Francisco electorate on November 3, 2009. Proposition A will help the San Francisco government better manage its finances by requiring the creation of a two-year budget, a five-year financial plan and the alignment of future City employee union contracts.

Proposition A is a good first step to reforming local government by mandating that prudent financial policies and practices are put into place that are more in-line with practices long ago adopted by the private sector.

BOMA SF-PAC supports Proposition A and urges all San Francisco voters to do so as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The News Links - August 25, 2009

Calculated Risk: Philly Fed State Coincident Indicators: Still a widespread recession in July. Graph from the article.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: Coincident Indexes for July 2009. Image retrieved here.



Commercial Real Estate
  • NAR August 2009 commercial real estate outlook.

San Francisco

Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo

California

The Economy

Green Issues

General

Monday, August 24, 2009

San Francisco Police Department Chief George Gascon is Formally Sworn In at City Hall

BOMA San Francisco's Executive Vice President, Marc Intermaggio meets Chief George Gascon.


San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon is formally sworn in at City Hall on Friday by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Image retrieved here.


Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team attended the public swearing in of the San Francisco Police Department's new Chief, George Gascon, at City Hall on Friday, August 21st. Those in attendance included: State Senator Mark Leno, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, and City Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and David Campos.

BOMA San Francisco congratulates Chief Gascon on his new position. We appreciate the close relationship BOMA has with the San Francisco Police Department via our Emergency Preparedness Committee and we look forward to working with the men and women of the Department to help protect the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

The News Links - August 24, 2009

There was a fire at Tadich Grill today. Image (with more after the jump) retrieved from Eater SF, here.


Calculated Risk: Chicago Fed - July National Activity Index. Graph from the article.



Commercial Real Estate

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The News Links - August 21, 2009

ABC 7: Calif. unemployment rate climbs to 11.9 pct. Image from the article.



Commercial Real Estate

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California

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The News Links - August 20, 2009

Calculated Risk: CRE - ABI and nonresidential structure investment. Graph from the article.


Sacbee's Capitol Alert: Schwarzenegger signs car visors to raise cash. Image from the article.



Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco
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California

The Economy

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The News Links - August 19, 2009

The Fix: 1,000 Words - The current and former President meet. Image retrieved here.



Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco
Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo

California

The Economy

General
  • Calbuzz: 3 ways Obama is blowing it on health care reform.
  • Americans see less teamwork in Washington.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Public Hearing on Newly Proposed Fire Department Administrative Bulletins - September 25

Image retrieved from the SFFD website.


The San Francisco Fire Department will conduct a hearing on two proposed Fire Department Administrative Bulletins on Friday, September 25, 2009, 10:00 a.m., in the Fire Commission Room, Fire Department Headquarters, 698 Second Street at Townsend in San Francisco.

The purpose of the hearing is for the Department to receive public comment on the following two newly proposed Administrative Bulletins:

1. 2.11 Submittal Guidelines for Emergency Evacuation Signs
2. 5.09 Lockbox Program- Guideline for New & Replacement Lockboxes

The Fire Marshal will call for public comment on each newly proposed Administrative Bulletin in the order listed. Members of the public may speak for up to 3 minutes on each Bulletin.

Members of the public may also submit written comment on any newly proposed Administrative Bulletin. The Department must receive any written comment by no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 25, 2009.

Written comments may be sent to the following:

San Francisco Fire Department
Office of the Fire Marshal
698 Second Street, Room 109
San Francisco, CA 94107

FireMarshal@sfgov.org

The Fire Department will present the final proposed Administrative Bulletins to the Fire Commission for approval. The Department anticipates presenting the final proposed Administrative Bulletins to the Fire Commission at its regular meeting on October 8, 2009 or October 22, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.

The News Links - August 18, 2009

SF Examiner: BART strike comes down to a vote. Image retrieved here.



Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco

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California
Green Issues

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The News Links - August 17, 2009

Calculated Risk: Fed -CRE Delinquency Rates Surged in Q2 2009. Graph from the article.



Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco

California

The Economy

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd Speaks at the Chamber of Commerce

Supervisor Sean Eslbernd



Supervisor Sean Elsbernd addressed the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently, and reviewed the City’s fiscal status and future financial challenges with San Francisco business leaders.

Elsbernd was pleased that the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors were able to reach a consensus for a balanced FY 2009-2010 City budget last week, even though the budget may have to be revised again (and, perhaps, again) warranting further cuts in every City department if a revision is needed. The Supervisor cited several reasons for future budget revisions including revenue cuts from the State, lower local sales and hotel tax collections, and the growing number of Proposition 8 appeals for reductions in local property tax assessments.

Of continuing concern to the Supervisor is the growing pension and healthcare liability costs for the City's employees, present and retired. The City’s contribution to the employee pension fund grew by $80 million in this year’s budget--although it had been zero for a number of years when the market was robust--as the City is obligated to make up any losses incurred to the fund. Elsbernd questioned the political will to make any substantive changes in the pension program and called it a ‘third rail’ of local politics.

City workers that are currently employed receive 2% of their salary for every year of service up to 30 years, while police receive 3% of their salary per year up to 30 years. Elsbernd wasn’t sure what percentage of the entire City budget ($6.5 billion) went to pay for active and retired employees’ pensions and healthcare costs. He did cite the passage of Proposition B last year as the first step in reigning in the costs of healthcare coverage for City employees (Prop. B lengthened the amount of time employees have to work to gain 100% medical coverage for life upon retirement). The Supervisor suggested the business community, if it wanted to make changes in the City’s pension program, would need to collect the necessary amount of signatures and take a reform measure to the ballot.

Jim Lazarus with the Chamber mentioned the damaging story about overtime costs and paid comp time, which is something that he thought had to be changed in future city labor contract negotiations. Lazarus also lamented that every opportunity the City has to contract out its services, the Board of Supervisors (at the request of employee unions) denies the requests. As such, the City will pay $30 million more for security and other services in FY 2009-2010 due to the Board of Supervisors’ refusal to contract out to the private sector.

Supervisor Elsbernd stated his support for the Mid-Market ARTS ordinance, and the measure to allow for Candlestick Park to sell its naming rights, both of which will appear on the November ballot. He is opposing the other three measures on the ballot: a charter amendment to create a 2 year budget and a 5 year financial plan; a charter amendment to remove the cap on the number of aides a Supervisor can have on staff (currently they are limited to 2); and, an ordinance that prohibits advertising on most City property .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Impressive Gathering of Leaders Cite Bay Area as Innovation Leader at SF Business Times Summit

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi - image retrieved here.


Mayor Gavin Newsom - image retrieved here.



Gathering at the UCSF’s newest campus at Mission Bay, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sean Randolph, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, Dale Bonner, California’s Secretary for Business, Transportation and Housing, John Kao, author of ‘Innovation Nation’ and ‘Jamming – The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity’ and a host of others discussed why the Bay Area was a leader in the world of innovation and would continue to be so in green tech, biotech, digitech, environmental stewardship, and high tech creativity.


Tom Stiers, of Farollon Partners gave opening remarks and cited the Bay Area’s willingness to embrace change as a significant contributor to our being innovation leaders.


Speaker Pelosi praised San Francisco’s leadership in providing universal healthcare, passing green building laws, and embracing diversity. She called the City a model for the rest of the country, and gave Mayor Newsom credit for making these things happen, calling him a ‘global leader on climate and energy matters’. Pelosi said she was happy to see science take its rightful place as one of the most important areas for the Federal Government to focus its resources. She also recounted the billions of dollars that the Stimulus Recovery Act will provide, much of it going to scientific endeavors. She also expects the Recovery Act funds will help ‘unleash the private sector to innovate in clean energy technologies’. Pelosi finished her remarks by citing the current healthcare debate and calling for innovative thinking as Congress and the President try to bring expanded healthcare access to all Americans while preserving everyone’s right to choose their healthcare providers. She said the “insurance companies must be taken out of the driver’s seat in this healthcare debate, and that insurance coverage should go with the individual, not with the job. She called for a cap on costs but no cap on benefits. Pelosi said she is looking to the biotech and other high-tech companies of the Bay Area to come up with the innovations and processes to reduce medical costs, and improve Americans’ overall health. She cited the recent improvements in genome mapping as a terrific example of doing both.


Mayor Newsom talked about the effort his predecessor (Mayor Willie Brown) and he went through to turn Mission Bay into the high-tech center that it is today, beginning with getting UCSF to open an extension there, and then to win the right to locate the state’s Stem Cell Research Center there. There were the ‘four Ps’ that made Mission Bay a success: changing the perception, creating adequate parking, expediting the permit process, and creating a graduated payroll tax exemption for bio-tech firms. Newsom praised Rep. Pelosi was helping to bring much-needed Federal funding to the City and the Bay Area to help clean up land for redevelopment.


Author John Kao said the country needs a ‘national innovation agenda’ and suggested it should be modeled after what the country did in the late 1950’s when the Soviet Union launched sputnik thus galvanizing the U.S. into beefing up its space and science education programs. He said it would need to be based on three things: realizing we are in a global competitive environment, sharpening our creativity to focus on new ideas with a desired outcome in mind (‘user-centered design format’), rather than basic research, and, thirdly, to create ‘innovation clusters’ such as was employed in the Manhattan Project or the Apollo project to create an environment that is self-enriching. He cautioned that all countries, not just a few, can win in the ‘innovation race’.


Dale Bonner, Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing for the State of California, stated that his $20 billion agency was really focused on ‘quality of life’ issues in the state. He said the state is leveraging its resources as much as possible to get infrastructure projects kick-started and to portray the state in a positive light abroad. He said the state is moving forward to create certified ‘innovation zones’ for companies which will offer high impact/low cost solutions to help grow companies and their # of employees. He said his challenge is getting the general public to understand and support the need to invest tax monies into scientific innovation, especially when there are so many other immediate social welfare needs in the state.


Regis Kelly, the head of QB3, a consortium of three universities that connects the private sector to life science studies at UCB, UC Santa Cruz, and UCSF, said Mission Bay has succeeded because it identified its competitive advantages, had strong political support, and created the necessary public/private consortia to get things done. QB3 has kick-started 10 companies and is looking to establish an Innovation Zone Investment Fund in the near future to provide stable longer-term funding for biotech startups. He predicted the ‘hot’ areas of future biotech research: deep DNA sequencing, biofuels/biomaterials, and early disease diagnosis/detection techniques.


Michael Cohen, the Mayor’s Director for Economic and Workforce Development, stated that ‘Burning Man’ may have saved San Francisco’s economy because our current biotech industry grew out of a ‘yeasty environment’ which was the result of San Francisco’s having a rich diversity, a history of having fun (‘Summer of Love’), and being an interesting, and edgy place to be. Cohen also announced that the city would be establishing a United Nations Global Compact Center at the Hunter’s Point shipyard Parcel C as part of a planned 2.5 million sq. ft green technology campus.

The News Links - August 13, 2009





Reuters Blogs: [Not so] fun commercial real estate figures and charts. Graphs retrieved from the article.


Commercial Real Estate

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Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo

California

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield's Budget Update

San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield. Image retrieved here.



Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team attended a presentation by San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield today for an update on the City's local economy and FY 2009-2010 budget. The following are the highlights:


Local Economy
  • The commercial real estate (CRE) market needs to recover quickly as San Francisco receives 1/3rd of its property tax revenue from the industry.
  • Job losses in San Francisco are less extreme than the early 2000's dot.com downturn.
  • The unemployment rate in the San Francisco is trending upward, although our rate is better than peer cities in the rest of California.
  • Per capita income in the City is projected to increase over the next three years.
  • Current median home sale prices may reflect the bottom of the residential market, but it will be years before the market reflects the home prices of just two or three years ago.

San Francisco's Budget
  • There have been local revenue losses: sales and hotel taxes are trending downward; property taxes are holding steady for now.
  • It is estimated that city employee wages and pension costs will increase this fiscal year by $160 million.
  • State and Federal revenues account for over 20% of the City's general revenues.
  • The end result for the City and County of San Francisco: there is a projected $440 million shortfall for FY 2009-2010 with the expectation of a slow recovery and deficits recurring in future years.
  • Mr. Rosenfield said it was gratifying to see the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors work together so closely this year on creating the City's budget.

One Major Consistency: The Impact of the State Budget (Now and in the Future)
  • California's budget deficit's have impacted San Francisco's budget projections, and will continue to impact the City's ability to balance its budget. Rosenfield predicted that state lawmakers will be back in Sacramento re-adjusting the State budget this fall, and that will have consequences for San Francisco.
  • The State balanced its budget in part by 'borrowing' future local property taxes from its 58 counties. This will mean a hit of over $120 million in local property tax revenues to San Francisco. For more details on how the State is balancing its budget by taking funds from local governments, click here to view Mr. Rosenfield's letter to Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on the subject as it impacts San Francisco.

Planning for Future Budgets
  • Preparing future budgets may be easier if the San Francisco electorate approves a Charter Amendment on the November 2009 ballot which will allow for a 2-year budget cycle, require the adoption of a 5-year financial plan, provide for the adoption of binding financial policies, and require that all city union negotiations be completed before budgets are finalized.
  • The Controller said that both Mayor Newsom and Supervisor David Chiu were interested in eliminating the City's payroll tax as it is an impediment to job growth. He said they are looking at substituting it with some other type of revenue such as gross receipts tax, etc.
  • Future budget planning will also need to take into consideration the City's growing pension and benefit liability costs for its employees and retirees.

Other Issues
  • Currently, the City's pension fund is well funded and has a lower employer contribution rate compared to peer cities. The growth rate of the employer contribution, however, will have to be addressed in the near-term as it may be unsustainable, and is already much more generous when compared to the private sector.
  • In response to a question about a possible future budget set aside for the City's road repair and maintenance work, Rosenfield said budget set-asides are bad financial planning. In fact, he mentioned that voter-approved set-asides have increased from $350 million 10 years ago, to $1 billion (of a $6.5 billion budget) today.
To review the PowerPoint presentation by the Controller in more detail, click here.

The News Links - August 12, 2009

OC Register: San Francisco Mayor Newsom backs big reforms to fix state. Image retrieved from the article.



CBRE: retail cap rates increase sharply in Q2



Commercial Real Estate

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Apture