Burning Man joins Twitter on mid-Market Street in San Francisco 

The organizers of the Burning Man festival have committed to a lease on mid-Market Street, joining Twitter in taking advantage of a new payroll tax exclusion in the area.

Black Rock Arts Foundation LLC will be signing a lease at 995 Market St. for 19,000 square feet that will serve as its headquarters. The organization, which has long espoused the benefits of a “gift economy,” is now part of one of the most controversial economic revitalization efforts The City has seen since the redevelopment of Mission Bay.

Larry Harvey, the founder and CEO, likens the organization’s move to mid-Market as a migration to one of the most immigrant-heavy neighborhoods in town. The organization, which had a payroll of $2.85 million in 2009 — including employees working in Nevada — will also benefit from a payroll tax exemption approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

“I’m an American, I like tax breaks as much as any other American,” Harvey joked. “But really, a tax break is not our chief motivation. It’s really the right thing to do.”

A group of police officers dedicated to mid-Market Street will have a new substation at 72 Sixth St. where community groups and nonprofits will also be based. The substation required a $600,000 investment, which has already been secured by the Redevelopment Agency, according to Mayor Ed Lee.

Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers will also be opening at Sixth and Market Streets this summer, and other smaller companies have already contacted the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development looking to move to the area.

And of course, Twitter will be the anchor tenant. The company has already committed to moving into the SF Mart building, recently purchased by Shorenstein Properties, which has already invested $20 million, according to Twitter Vice President of Communications Sean Garrett.

The company currently employs about 450 people and expects 600 employees to be working there by the end of June, Garrett said. The company expects 3,000 employees to be working there within a few years.

Lee alluded to those thousands of Twitter employees, assuring existent businesses that they will be walking up and down the streets of San Francisco, spending money.

“This is what I think San Francisco is all about, is creating that hope, having people work together and delivering on that hope,” Lee said.


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