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Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2014

Tenderloin—which intended to draw companies into areas of the city that had been left behind. The tax break came in response to threats that San Francisco–based Twitter was considering relocating out of the city. Lured by the exemption, Twitter moved its 1,000 employees into a new headquarters in the renovated Furniture Mart building at 10th and Market streets, leased from the Shorenstein Company, under the leadership of Douglas Shorenstein ’79. More than a dozen other tech and social media companies followed, including Zendesk, Yammer, Zoosk, Spotify, and Square, where Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu recently spoke to its in-house counsel. Incubators for startups have also settled in, such as Runway, located in the Twitter building. “These companies are bringing young professionals who want to live and work in a dynamic urban core,” Seward says. “They bring a new energy to the neighborhood. Restaurants and coffee shops are opening, and the arts and entertainment are regaining their prominence in a part of the city that was historically an entertainment district. These activities all support small businesses and enhance the urban experience. Many of these small businesses are owned and operated by first- and second-generation immigrants seeking their version of the American Dream.” The tech companies are working with local residents and nonprofits to improve conditions in the area. 70 SPRING 2014 Left: The Heart of the City Farmers Market is held three times a week in the Civic Center. Right: Machine Coffee is one of many new cafes in the area. Left: Mid-Market is being revived as an artistic hub. To take advantage of the tax break, firms are required to develop community benefit agreements detailing how they’ll invest some of their savings in the neighborhood. Employees of social networking company Yammer take part in anti-litter sweeps. Zendesk invests at least a third of its annual payroll tax savings in the community, according to Tiffany Apczynski, the firm’s community relations manager. In 2013, she says, Zendesk gave $80,000 in cash grants and sponsorships to local theaters, arts organizations, and community gardens. “We’re located on the most notorious corner in San Francisco,” she says. “But the good is slowly pushing out the bad.” Zendesk has renewed its lease and plans to expand its footprint by leasing an adjoining building. These corporate tenants, combined with the foot traffic from local theaters, are turning Market Street into the grand walkable boulevard it was intended to be. Meeting New Challenges According to Hatty Lee, community organizing manager for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), the influx of businesses is helping improve conditions—but perhaps at the expense of the people living in the neighborhood. They still need affordable housing, jobs, and social services, she says. “For decades, there has been almost no city or public investment in this area, while the community


Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2014
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