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Evaluating the 2011 'Twitter Tax Break' Along San Francisco's Troubled Market Street

The 2011 "Twitter tax break" was controversial at the time, and remains so to this day. New offices and employees have filled the corridor of Market Street where the tax break is in effect, but massive challenges persist.
June 2, 2019, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Anthony Quintano

J.K. Dineen surveys Market Street in San Francisco to evaluate the results of the 2011 "Twitter tax break."

The 1.5% percent payroll tax was championed by the late Mayor Ed lee and approved by the San Francisco Board of San Francisco with the reasoning that the tax break for companies that moved into certain Mid-Market buildings, "would keep tech jobs in the city and help revive seedy Central Market Street."

"At the time, half the area’s offices and 30% of the retail shops were empty, according to city data," according to Dineen. There area has changed, and there are lots of people now working in formerly empty buildings.


These days it would be a stretch to call Central Market Street a “grand boulevard.” Even after billions of dollars of investment has filled vacant office buildings with 10,000 new jobs, revived historic structures and generated 4,000 new housing units, Mid-Market business owners say the street is more problematic than ever and remains marred by crime, drugs, garbage, vacant storefronts and stalled development projects.

The feature-length article includes an infographic that details the new buildings and renovations that have transformed the streetscape of Market Street as it passes through the Mid-market neighborhood—24 projects are on the map. Despite the new office buildings, "retail vacancies plague the street," and beyond the buildings, drug use, homelessness, and mental illness are on display every day.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in San Francisco Chronicle
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