New ULI SF & SPUR Report on Office-to-Residential Conversions
This report provides insights into the feasibility of office-to-residential conversions in downtown San Francisco.
In May 2023, Urban Land Institute (ULI)’s Advisory Services program – composed of renowned urban planning and real estate experts, convened for a multi-day program to provide recommendations for revitalizing downtown San Francisco, which, like downtowns everywhere, was severely disrupted by COVID-19. This followed the release of Mayor London Breed’s Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future and tasked ULI to find actionable solutions and policy changes that will create a sustainable, vibrant downtown neighborhood.
In partnership with ULI San Francisco, the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, and the ULI Foundation, the group of real estate experts provided short- and long-term strategic recommendations for leveraging the city’s existing physical assets, identifying opportunities for financial incentives, and implementing public policy reforms that promote the economic and social health of Downtown, with many of the recommendations aligning with key elements of the Mayor’s Roadmap.
A detailed report outlining the findings may be found here. You can also view a recording of the panelists presenting their findings alongside the City in a public webinar presented on October 18, 2023.
“Thanks to the collaborative partnership between the Urban Land Institute’s Advisory Service program, the Terwilliger Center, and the City and County of San Francisco, the downtown district now has a comprehensive toolkit to create a stronger, more vibrant and inclusive community,” said Natalie Sandoval, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute San Francisco. “I am glad that steps to reimagine our city are continuously being put into action. This report would not have been possible without the dedicated panelists, city leaders, and stakeholders who have been fundamental to ASP’s success – both locally and nationwide.”
“As the City of San Francisco continues to work to rebuild its urban core, we’ve identified new opportunities to guide and produce meaningful transformation across industries in the broader downtown area,” said Kate Collignon, Partner, HR&A Advisors. “Thoughtful, community-focused revitalization efforts will drive economic development and help San Francisco build a more resilient, inclusive future for all residents.”
“San Francisco has a track record of responding to challenges by collaborating across sectors and thinking outside the box. Now is the time to embrace these challenges and build a downtown that moves away from being a one dimensional business district and instead promotes work, live, and play,” said Eric Tao, Managing Partner, L37 Development in San Francisco, CA and recent past chair of ULI San Francisco. “With a spotlight on how San Francisco plans to chart its recovery, the collaboration between panelists — city government, community groups, commercial owners, and institutions such as ULI — can provide recommendations useful for other cities to revitalize their downtowns. We are grateful to see this public private partnership tackle issues, that impact the future of our cities.”
Geeti Silwal, Panelist, Principal and Western Region Urban Design Leader at Perkins&Will’s San Francisco Office, says, “With the goal of reimagining downtown as a place that embodies purpose and inclusivity for people of all ages, income levels, identities, and cultures, the ULI Advisory Services Panel leveraged the collective experience and successes of each accomplished panelist to emphasize the deliberate pursuit of this objective.”
“ULI’s ideas for Downtown San Francisco have been an incredible addition to the City’s revitalization efforts. The Advisory Services Panel included contributions from national urban planning experts, providing a broader perspective that has emboldened our work,” said Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “We are actively pursuing initiatives that align with many of the panel’s recommendations, and you can see the results in ground floor and public space activations like our recently launched Vacant to Vibrant program and the new open space destination at Landing at Leidesdorff. We look forward to continuing this work with ULI and other community partners in the coming months.”