New Strategies for Economic Development in San Francisco

Sarah Dennis Phillips, the director of the San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development, is leading the charge to revitalize and attract businesses to the city. With a multi-faceted approach to economic development, Phillips aims to change the narrative surrounding San Francisco and position it as a competitive destination for both businesses and residents.

One of the major changes Phillips has observed is a shift from a buyers’ mentality to a sellers’ mentality. San Francisco must now actively sell itself as a desirable place to live and work, rather than relying on its reputation alone. The city recognizes the need to be competitive in its outreach and actively attract economic development.

During the pandemic, many people and businesses left San Francisco for the suburbs. To bring them back, Phillips highlights the importance of offering a desirable lifestyle and addressing the cost implications. While some outer neighborhoods have seen increased revenue due to local spending, San Francisco still needs to make housing more affordable to compete with neighboring suburbs.

On the property ownership side, Phillips notes the emergence of a new type of investor in San Francisco. These local investors with access to private capital are taking advantage of lower property prices and repositioning buildings for the future. The challenge now is to ensure that the city can attract and retain smaller and growing companies as these buildings undergo transformation.

Addressing the perception that San Francisco is difficult for businesses, Phillips acknowledges the need for tax reform. While smaller measures can be implemented through the legislative process, comprehensive tax reform requires voter approval. Phillips and her team are working towards simplifying and making the business tax system fairer to incentivize companies to stay in the city.

Overall, Phillips brings a unique perspective to her role, drawing on her experience in the private sector. She understands the importance of bridging the gap between private businesses and city regulators to facilitate economic growth and development in San Francisco.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the Office of Economic & Workforce Development responsible for?

    The Office of Economic & Workforce Development in San Francisco oversees various aspects of economic development, including business support, public-private development partnerships, workforce development, and film divisions.

  2. How is San Francisco addressing the challenges of attracting businesses and residents post-pandemic?

    San Francisco is focusing on making the city more competitive by promoting its lifestyle advantages and addressing the cost implications. Efforts are being made to ensure housing becomes more affordable and that the city remains attractive to all demographics.

  3. What is being done to make tax reforms in San Francisco?

    The Office of Economic & Workforce Development, along with other relevant offices, is working towards simplifying and making the business tax system fairer. Measures are being considered to remove penalties for having workers located in San Francisco and to provide tax incentives for new businesses.