Saturday, November 28, 2020
Uncategorized The other Twitter tax break -- and how it...

The other Twitter tax break — and how it cost the city $25 million

-

By Tim Redmond

Way back in 1969, when Sue Hestor was a young activist organizing a peace march, she asked the sympathetic owner of the Furniture Mart building on Market Street if he would let her group use a corner of his shop for office space. “He said he was sorry, but no,” Hestor, now a veteran land-use lawyer, recalled recently. “He said the legal use of the building was very clear: Just showroom space, no offices.”

That’s the position the city took in 2002, when the owners wanted to rent out the 1.2 million-square-foot space, which was used as a home furnishings showroom, as offices. The zoning administration, Larry Badiner, said that would require a change of use: Under city law, the property was never used for offices, and if the owners wanted to fill it with cublicles, they needed to apply under the city’s annual limit on new office space – and pay the fees that any other office developer would pay.

Now, of course, the building is home to Twitter, and has been renovated entirely for traditional office use. And there’s been considerable discussion around the payroll-tax break that Mayor Ed Lee used to entice the microblogging company to set up its headquarters, with several thousand employees, in the 1937-vintage mid-Market building.

But there’s been almost no discussion of the fact that the building owners never paid the $25 million in city fees for housing, Muni, and childcare that should have been required when the showroom became office space.(more after the jump)

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Tim — You might also note that Larry Badiner took the fall for the porn-on-office-computers brouhaha (while his boss was out of town). A miniscandal to eliminate an honest public official?

More by this author

PHOTOS: For Transgender Day of Remembrance, lighting candles and honoring those lost

Dozens gathered outside City Hall to mourn the loss of trans lives to violence—and continue the fight for equality.

Best of the Bay 2020 Readers’ Stories of Resilience and Inspiration

We asked our readers for stories of Bay Area strength and celebration—your responses gave us hope for the new year.

PHOTOS: Castro erupts in patriotic fervor as Biden named winner

On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, SF's traditional party neighborhood was full of rainbow flags and champagne

Bay Area celebrates Biden win with claps, clangs, and honks

Street parties nationwide and in the castro... and chants of 'Oakland in the White House'

A very haunted Arts Forecast: Halloween undead!

Howl through your mask at this year's stream 'n (socially distant) scream spooktaculars

Most read

‘Throwing us out like garbage’

SIP hotel residents say the city's not living up to its promises -- and contracts.

Why did so many people vote for Trump?

Radical economic inequality causes social breakdown. We're seeing it right now.

If SF bans smoking weed in your apartment, where could you get high?

Bill would criminalize pot smoking for a large part of the city's population.

Stop the ban on smoking weed!

Doesn't City Hall have better things to do then send law enforcement after people who light up in their own homes?

You might also likeRELATED