News

New Community Benefit District created to keep downtown San Francisco clean and safe

The new Downtown Community Benefit District follows on the recent renewals of two existing Community Benefit and Business Improvement Districts to provide a range of services for residents and businesses.

Mayor London N. Breed, along with Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Vallie Brown, and Matt Haney, yesterday announced the expansion of San Francisco’s efforts to keep the City’s streets clean and safe. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a new Downtown Community Benefit District (CBD), which follows on recent votes to renew two existing districts: North of Market/Tenderloin CBD and the Union Square Business Improvement District (BID). In total, the three districts will raise nearly $12 million per year over the next ten to 15 years to address the cleanliness, safety, and promotion of their communities.

“Community Benefit Districts keep our communities, clean, safe, and vibrant, and I’m excited to expand these serves to Downtown San Francisco,” said Mayor London Breed. “The renewal of existing CBDs demonstrates that neighbors, merchants, property owners, and stakeholders continue to have confidence that these organizations create and implement effective, equity-based solutions and make it possible for everyone to benefit from cleaner and safer streets.”

Community Benefit Districts strive to improve the overall quality of life in targeted commercial districts and mixed-use neighborhoods through a partnership between the City and local communities. Once an area has voted to establish a CBD, local property owners are levied a special assessment to fund improvements to their neighborhood. The funds are administered by a non-profit organization established by the neighborhood.

The newly formed Downtown CBD and the renewal of the North of Market/Tenderloin CBD and Union Square BID will provide a range of services for residents and businesses, including:

  • Trash and graffiti removal, sidewalk sweeping, pressure washing, and installing new trash cans;
  • Organizing events and activations of public spaces and sidewalks;
  • Public and pedestrian safety programs centered around hospitality;
  • Public art programs and wayfinding signage;
  • Services to connect people with social services and provide information to visitors;
  • Marketing and promotion of neighborhoods as community, business, and regional destinations.

Downtown Community Benefit District

The Downtown CBD is now the newest and one of the largest CBDs in San Francisco. The formation of this district began in 2007 but was paused due to the economic downturn in 2008. However, proponents continued to work on the idea and brought it back to the community in 2017. The CBD will raise approximately $3.9 million per year in special assessments from properties within the district to carry out its management plan over the next 15 years. The boundaries of the district include approximately 669 parcels located on approximately 43 whole or partial blocks. The district is generally bounded by the Embarcadero, Spear, Battery and Sansome Streets on the east, Pacific Avenue, and Washington and Sacramento Streets on the north, Kearny and Montgomery Streets on the west, and Pacific, Howard Street and the south side of Market Street.

“As the sponsor of the original Community Benefit District enabling legislation and an original supporter of this CBD 12 years ago, I believe in the power of community stewardship,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who has long worked on the formation of the Downtown Community Benefit District (CBD). “The Financial District is the home of San Francisco’s workforce economy, and the Downtown CBD will help augment the City’s baseline services on everything from pressure washing to homeless outreach. Whether you’re a tourist visiting a downtown attraction or a worker clocking out of an office tower to enjoy a lunchtime event in a public plaza, the CBD will be a meaningful public benefit.”

The Board of Supervisors and property owners also approved the renewal and expansion of the North of Market/Tenderloin CBD and the Union Square BID. Additionally, property owners voted to renew the Civic Center CBD.

North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District

The North of Market/Tenderloin CBD was renewed by property owners in the area and the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the renewal and expansion in June. It will raise approximately $1.9 million per year in special assessments from properties to carry out its management plan over the next 15 years. The boundaries of the District include 800 parcels located on approximately 41 blocks bounded by Polk and Larkin Street on the west, O’Farrell Street on the north, Mason Street on the east, Market and McAllister Street on the south and Market Street on the southeast.

“The Tenderloin is one of the highest needs areas in San Francisco with the densest concentration of children in the city,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “The TLCBD has done a lot to help keep the streets of the Tenderloin safe, clean, and healthy for the neighborhood’s children, seniors, adults, and businesses. It has done this in a way that engages community participation, employs harm reduction strategies, and honors the human dignity of all of the TL’s residents both housed and unhoused. I strongly support the TLCBD’s renewal and look forward to continuing to work with them in my district.”

Union Square Business Improvement District

The Union Square BID, San Francisco’s oldest such district, was renewed for an additional ten years on July 9. It will raise approximately $6 million per year in special assessments to carry out its management plan, making it San Francisco’s largest district by assessment revenue.  The boundaries of the district include approximately 620 parcels located on 27 whole or partial blocks, bounded by Bush Street on the north, Kearney Street on the east, Market Street on the south, and Taylor and Mason Streets on the west.

New services include a 24/7 dispatch center for the public and stakeholders to alert the BID to areas that need attention, additional staff focused on cleaning and safety with a 20% wage increase, and safety and hospitality ambassadors who will assist those in need within the district during the day and overnight between 10pm and 6am.

Civic Center Community Benefit District

On Tuesday, July 16, Civic Center property owners voted to approve the renewal and expansion of the Civic Center CBD. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the renewal of the Civic Center CBD on Tuesday, July 23. If approved, the Civic Center CBD will raise approximately $3.2 million per year in special assessments from properties within the CBD to carry out its management plan. The boundaries of the district would include approximately 773 parcels on 43 whole or partial blocks, bounded by Golden Gate Avenue and Turk Street to the north, Market Street to the south, 7th Street to the east, and Gough Street to the west.

“Since 2011, the Civic Center Community Benefit District has helped support cleanliness and safety in Hayes Valley and the surrounding neighborhood,” said Supervisor Vallie Brown. “I look forward to working with neighbors and the CBD to serve the diverse needs of District 5 stakeholders—residential and commercial, housed and unhoused.”

More information on the Community Benefit District program can be found at:

https://oewd.org/community-benefit-districts.