February 26, 2007 Volume 13, Number 1
This Issue of the BOMA-San Francisco Advocate Is Brought To You By
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
BOMA Advocacy at CPUC Results in Electricity Rate Reduction for Office Buildings
BOMA California has been active in monitoring the rate cases coming before the California Public Utilities Commission, and has lobbied for years that commercial rates were over-subsidizing residential rates to the detriment of business in the state. Recently, an agreement was reached with PG & E on a new rate structure which, if finally approved by the Commission, will result in a decrease in small commercial electricity rates by 5%, and medium/large office buildings by 9%. Residential rates will increase by 2.8%. Utility costs are passed on to tenants, so decreases in electricity rates will help business tenants throughout PG & E's service territory. For more information, click here.
PG & E Announces New Service for Commercial Property Owners and Managers
Effective this past January 22, 2007, commercial property managers/owners now have access to the same toll-free telephone number as other business customers to conduct their business (800-468-4743). Additionally, www.pge.com has been enhanced to include a Property Managers/Owners link, which will enable them to access all related property manager information on one page. This is the first of many Property Manager/Owner enhancements. The new property managers/owners Web site can be found at Property Managers/Owners; or by accessing www.pge.com, clicking Customer Services and selecting Property Manager/Owners. The new Web site consolidates all existing information onto one page and displays the following information in three useful sections: multiple service requests, rebate and energy efficiency related information, and online tools. Check it out!
San Francisco's Sick Leave In Effect February 5th - Supervisors Delay Full Implementation for 120 Days
The city's voter-approved mandate to provide paid sick leave to all employees, full time, part-time, and temporary, went into effect February 5, 2007, but will not be fully implemented (meaning useable) until the city's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) issues its final decisions on many situations not defined in the initiative. The Board of Supervisors delayed implementation until June 4th. However, employers must accrue sick leave now on the basis of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees of firms with less than 10 persons will be able to accrue a maximum of 40 paid hours while employees of firms with 10 or more persons will be able to accrue a maximum of 72 hours of paid sick leave. Sick leave is also transferable to others by the employee. Employers must post signage regarding this law. For a copy of the ordinance, click here. For a copy of the signage required, click here. For a copy of the Fact Sheet, click here. For more information, email your questions to PSL@sfgov.org or call 415-554-6271. Donna Levitt is the Manager of the OLSE.
San Francisco's Graffiti Advisory Board Reorganized: New Seats Available!
Want to help fight graffiti in San Francisco? Apply for a seat on the city's Graffiti Advisory Board. Recently reorganized to allow for each Supervisor to appoint one representative with two additional seats allotted to the business community (one must be a property owner in the city), the GAB meets monthly to discuss and recommend policies that will help abate graffiti, educate the public about graffiti vandalism, and promote more vigorous enforcement of laws against graffiti. The GAB will also be considering a future "blight" ordinance, vacant lot ordinance, and maintenance standards for business awnings. To apply for an appointment, check out the city's website at www.sfgov.org.
SF Billboard Re-location Legislation Unfair to Building/Business/Property Owners
Last year San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed legislation designed to implement Prop G, which banned any new billboard signs in the city after March 5, 2002. The legislation passed dealt with re-location of existing signs, and gave the rights to the locations to the permit holders, usually the sign companies. Property owner groups (including BOMA) were not a party to this legislation, sponsored by Board President Aaron Peskin. Efforts to amend this ordinance to allow owners of sign locations to put sites out for competitive bids have failed. Efforts to even obtain a list of all affected property owners in town have been stymied by objections from the larger sign companies, who have a virtual monopoly on sites in San Francisco. BOMA urges everyone impacted by these new restrictions to voice your objections to the Supervisors. Click here for a sample letter.
San Francisco Fire Department Issues Notice on Key Boxes
The San Francisco Fire Marshal recently issued an advisory notice to all building owners who have equipped their buildings with a locked "key box" installed on the outside of the building to remove those key boxes and any keys to the building. This action was necessitated by recent burglaries that involved the use of entry keys taken from the outside boxes. The advisory also stated that buildings taking the keys out of their key boxes must also take the key boxes down to avoid confusion for firefighters who may be summoned to your building and must also be aware that under emergency conditions, the Fire Department may have to damage building components to gain access. Building owners are requested to notify their district fire inspector when removing a key box at 415-558-3300.
San Francisco Treasurer Prepares New Interpretation on Parking Taxes
City Treasurer Jose Cisneros recently met with Jim Lazarus, Steve Falk (SF Chamber) and Ken Cleaveland (BOMA) to inform us he was planning on announcing a new extension (interpretation) of the parking tax law that would include any spaces that were/had been made a part of any commercial lease but for which there had not been any separate charge (financial transaction) made. These heretofore "free spaces", according to the Treasurer, had a financial value, and therefore a parking tax on them was due the city. He has established the value of these spaces at $250 per month for downtown C3 district commercial parking spaces, and $80 per month for parking spaces outside of the downtown corridor. Only single occupant/owner buildings with parking that is reserved only for the company's employees would be exempt from this new extension (interpretation) of the parking tax law. It would also not apply to any residential parking. Both the Chamber and BOMA have objected to this new extension of the city's parking tax law. Click here for a copy of the Chamber/BOMA letter.
Mayor Newsom and Building Inspection Commission Announce New Director for San Francisco's Building Department
The Mayor and the city's Building Inspection Commission announced that Isam Hasenin, P.E. and a Certified Building Official, was selected to be the next Director of the San Francisco Building Department. Formerly the chief building official in San Diego, Hasenin is a recognized expert in California's building codes and currently serves as Vice Chair of the California Building Standards Commission. He also serves on the International Code Council's Education Committee. He holds a M.S. in civil engineering from Penn State and a B.S. in civil engineering from San Diego State. Hasenin, 48, is expected to start work March 19th. For more information, contact William Strawn, Communications Manager for DBI at email@example.com.
BOMA International to Address Global Warming/Issues Statement on Green Buildings/Sustainability/Signs MOI w/USGBC
BOMA International has established a task force to review the environmental issues surrounding carbon emissions created by office buildings, and what our industry must do to reduce them. The International's Board of Governor's adopted a position statement on Green Buildings/Sustainability Practices that promotes voluntary standards and incentives for owners. BOMA is seeking input on how best to assess and address the issue of carbon emission reductions, and has solicited input from all local BOMA organizations and their members prior to the national conference in New York City in July. According to the American Institute of Architects, it is estimated that 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and the embedded energy within their interiors. The AIA recently adopted a statement on global warming calling on all new and renovated office buildings to reduce their consumption of fossil fuel energy to zero by 2030, which the U.S. Conference of Mayors also approved. BOMA has rejected this timeline as unrealistic and will put together its own agenda for creating more sustainable buildings. BOMA International recently signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate with the US Green Buildings Council on a variety of issues. Members wishing to complete the BOMA International survey should click here.
BOMA California Selects Key Legislative Issue for 2007 - Senate Bill 371
Amending the state's commercial lease laws governing return/use of commercial tenant deposits remains BOMA's top priority for the 2007 CA Legislative session. Due to a recent court decision, landlords whose leases haven't specifically waived the tenants' rights to such deposits cannot use them for forward rent that may never materialize as a consequence of default or bankruptcy. Thus, BOMA is attempting to amend the law to re-establish what had been the practice before the recent court reversal. State Senator Leland Yee is the author of this legislation. Without such an amendment, the Senator noted, many small business tenants, who use cash or security deposits to guarantee the terms of their leases, will not be able to obtain as suitable terms for future leases. Click here for a copy of the legislation. It does not affect or impact the restrictions on security deposits used in residential properties or for residential tenancies.
BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Gears Up for 2007! Get Involved! Help Support BOMA SF's PAC!
The association's advocacy committees are geared up for a very busy 2007. Both the Chair and Vice Chair of the Government and Public Affairs Committee, Elaine Andersson, counsel for Boston Properties, and Mike Cashion, building manager for Shorenstein's Russ Building, respectively, are continuing in those roles this year. The 2007 Political Action Committee chair is Tim Falvey (President of Hanford Freund Company) with Todd Robinette (Sr. VP with Equity Office Properties) serving as Vice-Chair and Frank Fudem of BT Commercial as Treasurer. The 2007 Codes and Regulations Committee chair is Ken Cochrane, of BCCI Construction with Danny Murtagh, Chief Building Engineer with Boston Properties' Embarcadero Center, as Vice Chair. The 2007 Environment Committee is being chaired by David Starkey of Cushman & Wakefield, with the help of two Co-Vice Chairs: Stephany Cull of RetroCom Energy Strategies, Inc., and Jose Guevara, or Cushman & Wakefield. The 2007 Emergency Preparedness Committee is again being lead by Steve Levy of Shorenstein Realty Services with Frank Reed, Liguori Associates, continuing as Vice Chair. Click here for a list of all BOMA SF committee meeting dates and get involved this year!
BOMA SF PAC To Host Fundraiser for Mayor Gavin Newsom March 29th
BOMA's Political Action Committee has endorsed Mayor Newsom for re-election, and will be sponsoring a fundraising reception on March 29th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Transamerica Pyramid. BOMA Member Scott Seligman (Seligman Western Enterprises) and Steve Adams (Sterling Bank & Trust) have graciously donated the space and accessories for the event. All BOMA members and their guests are invited. Corporate donations are not allowed, but checks up to $500 from individuals and partnerships are. Mark you calendars now, and plan to attend this important (and fun!) event. Checks should be made out to Gavin Newsom for Mayor and mailed to the BOMA office if you are unable to attend in person. Members are advised that you can only contribute up to a combined total of $1,500 to all Mayoral, District Attorney and Sheriff candidates running in the November 2007 election.
36 Facilities Enter BOMA San Francisco's First Earth Awards Contest
BOMA San Francisco's Environment Committee is proud to announce that a total of 35 entries have been received for the first BOMA SF Earth Awards program. Of that number, 19 were office buildings, 13 were mixed-use properties, two were local universities, and one entry was received from the U.S. Mint. The winners will be announced at the April 26th BOMA San Francisco luncheon [register here] at the Hotel Nikko which will feature George Denise, facilities manager of Cushman & Wakefield's award-winning platinum LEED certified Adobe Systems headquarters, whose presentation will demonstrate how greening a building can green the your bottom line too. For a complete list of all entries, click here.
Margaret Duskin Forecasts Robust Commercial Real Estate Market for 2007
At our BOMA San Francisco general membership luncheon in January, Margaret Duskin, Senior Director for Cushman & Wakefield, laid out a pretty rosy picture for the commercial real estate industry in the Bay area, particularly San Francisco, for 2007. She said the SF market absorbed 1.6 million square feet of space in 2006. Duskin said that the downtown CBD (central business district) had a 9% vacancy rate currently, with an overall citywide vacancy rate of 11%. She said that while rents are not increasing very rapidly (average rents are around $37 per square foot), the concessions owners must give new tenants are starting to drop. She recommended that owners rewrite leases now and not wait for higher rents due to the following factors: overly ambitious underwriting of acquisitions, increased new tenant build-out costs, ever increasing insurance costs, and a declining tenant demand. Her parting words of advice: follow the NASDAQ if you want to know what kind of demand you will have for office space in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. For more information contact Ms. Duskin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Congressman Tom Campbell Speaks to BOMA, NAIOP and CREW
In his luncheon speech February 20th at the combined meetings of BOMA San Francisco, NAIOP, and Commercial Real Estate Women, Tom Campbell, the Dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and former five-term Congressman from Santa Clara, painted a gloomy picture of the Federal and CA state governments' ability to control non-discretionary spending. Read more here.
BOMA International Celebrates 100th Anniversary in 2007
The Building Owners and Managers Association was founded in Chicago in 1907, and will celebrate its 100th Anniversary during the annual conference and trade show in New York City July 21-24, 2007. An excellent summary of the past 100 years of BOMA's history recently ran in the BOMA Magazine, and can be downloaded here for a most interesting (and not too long!) read.
Governor Schwarzenegger Names Staff Member to CPUC
On February 16th, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed one of his aides to the California Public Utilities Commission. He named Timothy Simon, his appointments secretary since January 2006, to the board, which regulates investor-owned utilities and the telecommunications and railroad industries. Simon, a 51-year-old Republican, was general counsel and chief compliance officer for Global Crown Capital, a San Francisco investment firm, before he joined the governor's office. The nomination requires state Senate confirmation. For more information, click here: http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/288/.
Items of Potential Interest to BOMA Members
> Small Projects Disabled Access Unreasonable Hardship Threshold for 2007 is $116, 837.68 (California Building Code Section 1134B.2.1 Exception 1).
> SF Announces "Big Fix" for city infrastructure with 20 year $15.7 billion plan. For more information, go to www.sfgov.org/cpp.
> Supervisor Ed
Jew Fundraising Reception - February 27th @ 6 p.m. Palio d'Asti
Restaurant, 640 Sacramento Street at Montgomery. Click here for invite.
28th BOMA SF Breakfast in San Mateo at Baymeadows Racetrack - will feature
discussion on future development of the racetrack and property. 8 a.m.
Register at www.bomasf.org
1 - City Hall - 11 a.m. - Announcement of new San Francisco Business Council
on Climate Change - Rotunda - Free.
> Assembly Member Fiona Ma Birthday Party Fundraiser - March 1st, 6 - 8 p.m., Hotel Vitale, San Francisco. Click here for invite.
> LEED for Existing Buildings Technical Review Workshop March 9 @ Pacific Energy Center. To register, visit www.usgbc.org/workshops/register.
> March 12-13 - BOMA National Issues Conference in DC. Appointments planned with Federal legislators. Register at www.boma.org.
> Middle Class Housing in SF - Why Not? SF's Housing Action Coalition is hosting a panel discussion and luncheon featuring former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Bay Area Developer Arthur Evans, and Mayor Newsom's Housing Director Matt Franklin who will discuss how such housing can be produced. March 28th, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. @ Koret Auditorium, Main City Library. RSVP to Tim Colen at 415-541-9001 or email@example.com.
> March 29 — BOMA Salute to Mayor Newsom Fundraiser @ Transamerica Pyramid - 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
> March 30 - BOMA San Francisco Monthly Luncheon @ Palace Hotel - 11:30 a.m. Register at www.bomasf.org.