Category Archives: customized

Community Corridors Partnership Program

Through the Community Corridors Partnership Program, the Department of Public Works focuses on improving the quality of life in the City’s busiest commercial corridors through education and outreach. The program encourages merchants and property owners to maintain a higher standard of cleanliness by providing them the tools, information and City support they need to make our neighborhoods cleaner and more appealing. Corridor Ambassadors sweep litter from the sidewalk, clean tree basins, call in graffiti vandalism and identify and resolve poor street conditions.

The Corridors Program is active in many corridors around the City. To learn more visit their website.


Community Capacity Building Program

Invest in Neighborhoods aims to empower community groups – including merchants LISC Logoassociations, resident associations, CBDs, small nonprofits, and other stakeholder groups – to lead revitalization efforts in their neighborhood. In partnership with Bay Area LISC, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development provides capacity building services such as meeting facilitation; development of vision, mission and goals; establishment of by-laws and governance structures; and other organizational and community development services.

To learn more, contact Jorge Rivas at

Neighborhood Improvement Project Grants

Periodically Invest in Neighborhoods issues a request for proposals (RFP) for neighborhood improvement projects. Grants are available to community-based groups and organizations that can implement projects to strengthen their commercial district, generate economic activity and increase foot traffic. Qualifying projects include neighborhood marketing campaigns, event series, public space improvements, public safety initiatives, and other projects.

For current Grant opportunities visit the OEWD’s website.

Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards- Spring 2013
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards- Summer 2013
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards- Fall 2013
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards- Spring 2014
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards- Fall 2014
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards – Spring 2015
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards – Summer 2015
Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Awards – Spring 2016

For more information contact Jorge Rivas at

FUF - Ocean Ave Sidewalk Garden

Ocean Ave Sidewalk Garden Project, a 2013 Grantee

SF Shines: Facade and Tenant Improvement Grants


SF Shines

In an effort to improve the City’s business corridors, OEWD provides grants, design assistance and project management through the SF Shines program to improve storefront façades and business interiors.

The SF Shines Program’s objectives are to:

  • Encourage investment in the neighborhood
  • Increase neighborhood safety
  • Attract and retain retail businesses
  • Improve business identity
  • Restore the historic and architectural character of the neighborhood
  • Improve the pedestrian experience of the corridor
  • Assess and remove barriers to accessibility
  • Leverage the most investment return for the size of the grant

The SF Shines program is intended to assist with expenses for ground floor storefront façade upgrades and/or interiors. Grant funds may cover the cost of non-structural building improvements including removal of security grilles and roll ups, painting, rehabilitation of historic façades, replacement of storefront windows and doors, new signage, awnings, interior space upgrades and ADA improvements. SF Shines applications will be reviewed per the Program Standards. Project grants are reimbursed to the applicant once construction is completed.


Business and/or property owners are eligible to apply. Applicants must:

  • Show a commitment to the SF Shines Program’s objectives and the neighborhood with a long-term lease (minimum of three years remaining)
  • Obtain consent from the property owner
  • Have all required and necessary insurances and building permits
  • Be able to make a financial contribution to the project


OEWD offers the SF Shines program in select commercial corridors including:


Small projects generally take between four and six months to complete. However, projects may take longer depending on the historic nature of the property and the amount of work necessary to complete.

To learn more, please email or call (415) 554-4720.

Prior to submitting an SF Shines application, applicants will be asked information about the property including location, building use, type of business and potential improvements the applicant wishes to make. Select candidates will receive business technical assistance in addition to a program application for review by the SF Shines committee.





Healthy Retail SF

HealthyRetailSF provides individualized attention to businesses by providing concentrated and tailored technical assistance to address food access needs so that they may thrive.

Participating Businesses


  • Daldas Market
    200 Eddy Street
  • Amigo Market
    500 Ellis Street
  • Mid City Market
    868 Geary Street


  • Friendly Liquor
    1499 Thomas Avenue

Broad Street:

  • Ana’s Market
    105 Broad Street

Businesses Assessed


  • Green Valley Market
    491 Ellis Street
  • Dollars & Sense
    345 Eddy Street
  • Right Way Market
    593 O’Farrell Street


  • El Aguila de Oro
    5201 3rd Street
  • H&K Market
    1300 Fitzgerald Avenue


Merchant Engagement & Referrals

HealthyRetailSF is for corner store owners interested in becoming healthy food retailers. Workshops, orientations, and one-on-ones can be arranged. Corner stores will have access to technical information and referrals to businesses resources.

Assessments and Individual Development Plans

A business accepted into the program will have access to a rigorous assessment of their operations and healthy food offerings. A select few will have access to a suite of consultants, business tools, and programs to strengthen their operations and work towards becoming a healthy food retailer.



Or Contact:

Gabriela Sapp
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Consultant
(p) 415.254.5094 | (e)


CENTRALIZED RESOURCE: Interested businesses can access a suite of tools and programs at

REFERRALS: Specialized referrals will be available to interested merchants seeking assistance.

PRO BONO CONSULTANTS: Consultants will be assigned to participating businesses to provide assistance, monitor and guide recommendations.

ACCESS TO IMPROVEMENT FUNDS: Participating businesses will receive priority consideration for improvement grants and loan products.

food pic

Biz Fit SF

Small Business Strengthening Pilot Program

Biz Fit SF is designed to strengthen existing small businesses in San Francisco. In the program, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development and nonprofit partners work with a limited number of businesses in targeted Invest In Neighborhoods corridors. The goal of the program is to strengthen commercial corridors by providing concentrated and tailored technical assistance to address individual needs of existing businesses and ensure that they are healthy and can grow in the context of the neighborhood landscape. Businesses that participate in the program may benefit from increased sales, local job creation, improved sustainability of the business and access to grant funding to implement their customized development plan.

Ideal candidates for the program are small businesses willing to receive practical advice from business consultants at no cost and commit to investing the time and resources needed to help their business grow. Business owners who are accepted into the program will be provided with 10-15 hours of technical assistance services.  As appropriate, consulting will be supplemented by classes through service providers to enhance basic business skills (bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks, marketing, social media, cash flow management, inventory management, etc.).

Participating businesses will also receive priority consideration for OEWD’s SF Shines façade and tenant improvement grants, as well as referrals to City-sponsored loans and programs.

The program is currently being piloted in the following Invest In Neighborhood corridors:

  • Bayview (3rd Street)
  • Castro (Upper Market)
  • The Fillmore
  • Lower 24th Street
  • OMI (Broad and Randolph Streets)
  • Visitacion Valley (Leland Avenue)

To be considered for the program, businesses must be located in one of the areas above. For general inquiries or consideration for the program, you can download an application and submit it to Diana Ponce De Leon at

Minor Zoning Modifications

The San Francisco Planning Department can work with community stakeholders to identify minor modifications to land use controls that can support the development of a healthier commercial district.

What is Zoning?

Zoning regulates the use of land and the physical characteristics for new development. It establishes what uses are allowed on a property (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial) as well as density, building heights, access to parking and loading, and required open space, among a variety of other matters. Zoning also addresses the balance of uses in an area by allowing certain uses and prohibiting others. In the neighborhood commercial districts, for example, a broad range of neighborhood-serving uses (e.g. restaurants, cafes, grocery stores) are allowed and uses that aren’t appropriate to a neighborhood (e.g. heavy industrial) are prohibited.

What types of changes in Zoning could be proposed through the Invest in Neighborhoods Project?

Minor zoning changes could be proposed. Examples of minor zoning changes may include a proposal to change a specific commercial use (e.g. office) to another type of use (e.g. formula retail) that is allowed or prohibited in the neighborhood. Allowing a five-foot building height increase to enhance the sidewalk-level retail environment is also a minor zoning change. Any type of proposed change to the code would be developed with the community to determine if there is a desire to make such changes.

To learn more, visit the website of the SF Planning Department, contact the City Hall Liaison for your neighborhood, or contact Meneka Mohan at the Planning Department at

Design for Public Realm Improvements

The “public realm” refers to all streets, plazas and parks accessible to the public. The Planning Department works in a number of ways to make improvements to the public realm. One way is coordinating with the Department of Public Works on implementing the improvements passed in the 2011 streetscape bond, which was passed by San Francisco voters. The bond proposes to repave streets; repair deteriorating bridges, overpasses and stairways; and make traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle and safety improvements.

The City Design Group of the Planning Department is working to design a number of these improvements, many of which overlap with the Invest in Neighborhoods corridors. The Department can also provide specialized public realm design services, such as concept plans for improvements, including temporary measures (such as parklets or plazas) that help calm traffic and improve public space.

To learn more, visit the website of the SF Planning Department.

Pavement to Parks

Pavement to Parks is a collaborative effort between the San Francisco Planning Department, the Department of Public Works, the Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Mayor’s Office. San Francisco’s streets and public rights-of-way make up 25% of the city’s land area, more space than all the park area combined. Many of our streets are excessively wide and contain large zones of underutilized space, especially at intersections. San Francisco’s “Pavement to Parks” program seeks to temporarily reclaim these unused swathes of land and quickly and inexpensively turn them into new public spaces.

To learn more about Pavement to Parks, visit their website.

Jane Warner Plaza

Jane Warner Plaza in the CastroOut of Site Parklet


Community Benefit District Assistance

Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) strive to improve the overall quality of life in targeted commercial districts and mixed-use neighborhoods through a partnership between the City and local communities. Once an area has voted to establish a CBD, local property owners are levied a special assessment to fund improvements to their neighborhood. The funds are administered by a non-profit organization established by the neighborhood.

Currently, San Francisco has 12 neighborhood CBDs:













In addition to our neighborhood-based CBDs, San Francisco has two sector-based Tourism Business Districts:  The Tourism Improvement District and the Moscone Expansion District.


In 2004, the City and County of San Francisco augmented the California Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 with the passage of Article 15 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code. Article 15 lengthened the initial term that a district could be in place from 5 to 15 years and lowered the weighted petition threshold required to initiate the legislative approval process and the special ballot election from 50% to 30%. This legislation, combined with a new technical assistance program initiated by then Mayor Gavin Newsom through the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), was instrumental in easing the process for the formation of new CBD districts in San Francisco.

In 2012, a CBD Impact Analysis was headed by OEWD. Data was gathered from City agencies, external data providers, Certified Public Accountant audited financial statements, and a survey instrument administered to CBD executive directors. In summary, the data and research synthesized by OEWD’s evaluation provides strong justification for the continuation of City support for the CBD program, and for making new investments in neighborhood commercial districts. The full report can be found here.

For more information on CBD Districts, click here.

For CBD resources, click here.

For more information, visit OEWD’s website or e-mail Crezia Tano at, Chris Corgas at or Richard Kurylo at