San Francisco Wants To Sell the Air Rights Above City Hall for $45 Million. Why Not Give Them Away for Free?
San Francisco is considering a sale of the tradable air rights above City Hall, a move that would bring money into the public coffers without hitting up already overburdened taxpayers, and also opens up development opportunities downtown.
It’s a seemingly unobjectionable trade that’s only made possible by the city’s insane restrictions on new development.
This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was set to vote on a resolution authorizing the city’s Director of Property to sell up to 1.2 million square feet of unused space above city hall for an estimated $45 million. The sold-off space could then be used by the owners of other parcels in the city’s downtown area to enlarge their own projects beyond what would otherwise be allowed by the zoning code.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that there is $46.5 million worth of projects at the City Hall building that are currently unfunded, including “roof and dome leak repairs, dome revitalization, exterior stone refurbishments and interior preservation.”
Whether the sale actually will actually bring in enough money to fund those projects is an open question. The Chronicle notes that there’s a limited number of parcels that could actually make use of the additional development rights and that demand for new downtown development is still suffering from the depressing effects o
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