San Francisco Officials Planning To Exit Downtown Offices: REPORT

(Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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San Francisco city officials plan to pull its offices from a downtown building near City Hall due to high rent and a bad real estate market, The San Francisco Standard reported Friday.

The 11-story building in downtown San Francisco was initially leased to city and county officials back in 1999 and has over the years served as office space for many municipal departments like the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, the Mayor’s Office of Disability and the Department of the Environment, the outlet reported. (San Francisco Somehow Finds A Way To Make Catching Criminals Even Harder)

The San Franciscan Board of Supervisors rejected an opportunity to renew a lease agreement with the owner of the building, the nonprofit LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in 2023, The Standard reported. This act has placed the building into special servicing to determine whether the owner can pay off its debts amounting to a $48 million mortgage due in Jan. 2025, according to Trepp, a real estate data company.

“Losing the City as a tenant would create a great financial hardship for the Lighthouse for the Blind,” LightHouse CEO Sharon Giovinazzo told The San Francisco Standard in an email.

Giovinazzo also told the outlet that the city has not yet responded to a request from LightHouse. The request asks to provide additional discounts on the rental costs that includes a two year period of free rent. Giovinazzo said that she remained pessimistic and that the city is likely to “abandon the building that literally sits in the shadows of City Hall.”

“We are being responsible with tax payer funds and looking for the best opportunities to continue to have a strong presence [in] our Downtown and Market Street area,” said Jeff Cretan, a spokesman for the mayor, according to the Standard. “The isn’t about quitting downtown — it’s about finding a new building.”

The city is not the only tenant that has soured on downtown San Francisco.

Retail and corporate businesses have fled the city and the state of California altogether due to concerns over the “safety of their employees” and bad “local business conditions” in the past few years alone.

“It just [isn’t] the same city it used to be. In the 80s and 90s, there was still something to it. People were proud of the city, and while there was crime and everything, it wasn’t that big of a worry. You could also walk down the sidewalks, as no tents were there,” Frank Russo, a business owner, told the California Globe. Nordstrom, an iconic clothing store, closed its San Francisco branch’s doors permanently back in Aug. 2023 after 35 years of business due to the crime wave in the city. In some areas of the city, crime has increased 240% in the span of one year alone.