San Francisco landlords: Take my space, please!
City paying landlords, pop-up owners to revitalize moribund downtown
San Francisco is tackling its downtown vacancy problem, in part, through monetary incentives for landlords and pop-up shops.
The “Vacant to Vibrant” program that started last week gives pop-up owners three months’ free rent and grants of up to $8,000, the San Francisco Standard reported.
Qualifying for the program requires more than just taking a pop-up tenant’s word for it, however.
The outlet reported pop-up owners must submit an application that includes their ideas as well as whether they have experience. A committee will evaluate the applications and pass the highest-scoring ones along to participating property owners, who must also apply to be a part of the program.
Properties under 5,000 square feet are receiving the highest priority, the outlet reported. The properties must also be street-level, with Wi-Fi and have at least one restroom and basic utilities hooked up.
The pop-up owners will get three months of free rent and grants of up to $8,000 for operating expenses, while landlords will receive a $5,000 grant from the city, according to the outlet.
The grants are part of a $710,000 fund from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and are part of the mayor’s effort to inject life into downtown.
San Francisco’s struggling commercial real estate market has been well documented.
Earlier this month, it was reported that office vacancy in San Francisco shot up to nearly 33 percent, a record, with the rate of empty offices in Silicon Valley 9 points behind.
The proportion of empty offices in San Francisco hit a “new all-time high” of 32.7 percent in the first quarter, up from 32.1 percent from late last year, the San Jose Mercury News reported, citing a report from Savills.
Silicon Valley’s office vacancy rate jumped to a “new historical high” of 23.1 percent during the same period, up from 22.7 percent.
The increased office vacancy rates in San Francisco and the South Bay follow an era of remote work and come amid a wobbly economy jolted by job cuts in the tech and biotech sectors.
— Ted Glanzer