What’s going on:
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin are hoping to transform San Francisco’s offices into homes, with newly implemented legislation that streamlines the process.
Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin joined forces to tackle the pressing issue of sky-high rental prices in the city; although prices have seen a slight decline, it still remains one of the most costly cities to live in the nation. With many citizens unable to afford the high costs of rent, local businesses were suffering.
To combat the rising costs, they proposed a new ordinance that would make it easier to convert office buildings into housing units, in a move that would hopefully make living in the city more accessible.
Why it matters:
In the 2010s, San Francisco had a nearly a 100% office occupation rate, which was largely attributed to the ongoing technology explosion in the city. But the pandemic, combined with the switch of many firms to a work-from-home model, heightened crime rates in the city, and significant tech layoffs throughout the region resulted in an emptying of commercial office buildings in the city.
The city is in need of more affordable housing, and empty office spaces might be a perfect solution.
How it’ll impact the future:
Under the ordinance, the city’s Planning Code will grant more leeway in terms of workspace usage, and office-to-housing conversions will be exempted from requiring a Planning Commission hearing.
A city commissioned study found that 12 buildings in the city could bring as many as 2,700 new rental units.