Monday, August 25, 2008

Jobs? Who Needs Jobs?

A sobering article from the San Francisco Examiner.

San Francisco, say “So long” to industry and “Hello” to condos.

The City is expected to lose approximately 9,470 jobs throughout the next 16 years by converting nearly 5 million square feet of industrial space into housing units in four neighborhoods on the eastern side of San Francisco.

Under a rezoning proposal recently approved by the Planning Commission, the plan would grant housing developers access to huge swaths of industrial land that was previously available to them only with special permits. The zoning would allow housing development opportunities in east SoMa, the Mission district, Potrero Hill and the central waterfront, four areas with a rich industrial history that also make up about 7 percent of San Francisco’s 47 square miles of land.

Officials with the Planning Department told The Examiner recently that they expect so-called light industrial businesses — mostly auto-repair, printing, storage, furniture manufacturing, food production, catering businesses and some retail stores — to be pushed out because housing and office space generate far higher rents than industrial rent.

In case you haven't been paying attention, our communities are giving up a lot in terms of land and jobs in order to have space for another desperately needed commodity: affordable housing. The joke, of course, is that the City is offering precious little affordable housing in it's plan. So, what are we getting back? Not much, unless the plan is amended to incorporate both more affordable housing as well requiring new "innovative" industries to hire from within our traditional light industrial workforce. Next Monday we will lay out some specific proposals to make the City's plan better.

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