Mission Bay Development and Tax Updates

May 21, 2015

San Francisco’s Mission Bay is in a continued state of new and revised development planning. In just 10 years, the biotech hub has grown exponentially and now includes a cluster of life sciences companies, UCSF, and the recent addition of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Traffic, parking, and amenities for residents/employees are growing steadily as issues of community concern, especially as further expansion is proposed.

Plans are currently under way, and have been fast-tracked by the governor, to build a new Golden State Warriors arena in Mission Bay. However, concerns have been raised that the biotech focus of the area will be overtaken by the building of the arena. Additionally, new proposals have also been floated by Mayor Ed Lee to raze the northern section of I-280, which provides direct highway access to Mission Bay. Part of this plan would create an underground rail tunnel directly under Mission Bay and provide a new combined Caltrain/Muni station to handle the potential new arena crowds. Caltrain would have its final destination changed from near Mission Bay to the downtown Transbay Terminal which is still under construction. With these proposed changes, Caltrain’s current rail yard and other land opened up around Mission Bay would be converted into potentially 10,000 housing units help alleviate the City’s housing crisis. Further planning on handling larger populations will continue.

On the issue of the City’s five-year transition from payroll taxes to gross receipts, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) recently held a debriefing of the first year’s efforts. The Mayor’s Business Tax Advisory Group, of which CLSA is a member, was given a recap from the City Treasurer, Budget Director, and the Mayor’s staff on the rollout. CLSA and the Chamber of Commerce raised our ongoing concerns regarding the new tax system’s impact on the biotech sector. Through these meetings and other activities, we continue to work with City Hall to ensure that revenues used for research and development within pre-commercial companies are not taxed the same as revenues within profitable companies.