Follow This: Twitter Brings Investors & Developers to Mid-Market San Francisco

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.


 After decades of disinvestment and decline, Mid-Market Street in downtown San Francisco seems to be finally headed toward revitalization. Plywood has come off vacant storefronts, sidewalks are filled with pedestrians headed to work, and loud sounds of construction serve as an unfamiliar soundtrack for the historically troubled neighborhood.

How did this happen?

It’s fairly clear to most that social media giant Twitter and real estate firm Shorenstein Company, LLC have a lot to do with it:

  • In March 2011, Shorenstein purchased two historic buildings that span an entire block of Mid-Market Street between 9th and 10th Street;
  • In April 2011, San Francisco created a six-year payroll tax exemption zone on Mid-Market Street for hires businesses make after moving there;
  • In the same month, Twitter finalized a deal with Shorenstein to lease space in their newly renovated “Market Square”;
  • Since then, notable companies such as One King’s LaneZenDeskZoosk,Benchmark CapitalYammer, and Dolby Laboratories have moved to Mid-Market, and 1,500 housing units are either in the planning phase or already being built.
The Market Square Building, San Francisco

Market Square, San Francisco - Twitter's new home, and possibly the catalyst for Mid-Market Street revitalization.

10th and Market, Crescent Heights residential rental complex

10th and Market, Crescent Heights' residential rental complex planned for completion in 2014

Even with controversy brewing over the tax exemption (i.e., “Twitter taxbreak”), there’s no doubt that Market Square has begun to change Mid-Market Street. But complete revitalization is still far off, and economic upturn has raised more questions:

  • Will the upswing sparked by Twitter and Shorenstein bring sustainableeconomic development to the entire Mid-Market neighborhood?
  • Will advocacy, rent control, and new housing developments be enough to ensure that current residents can remain?
  • What will happen to the cluster of services in Mid-Market that exist to serve the poor and homeless population there?
  • And finally, what will Mid-Market Street look and feel like after these changes? Will it be the change San Franciscans want?

Are there any revitalization projects going on in your neighborhood?  What do you think about them?

To read the original post, written by Steven Chang, visit Global Site Plans.


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