Fee break urged for arts nonprofit 

The City would slash more than $100,000 of planned improvements around the Hayes Valley neighborhood if the impact fee for a new nonprofit development is waived. 

A proposal to build an 800-person Hayes Valley performance and administration center filled by SFJAZZ, a nonprofit that organizes Bay Area jazz concerts and festivals, was approved Thursday by the Planning Commission. The hulking building on Franklin Street, which will replace an auto body shop between Linden and Fell streets, will bring new life and vibrancy to Hayes Valley. The SFJAZZ Center is planned near performance arenas used by San Francisco’s ballet, opera and symphony companies.

But on July 1, the Planning Commission voted to waive the neighborhood fee associated with the project, which is charged to help invigorate the area. With city figures showing construction alone could cost $18 million, at $3.40 per square foot, the 38,600-square-foot project could provide up to $131,240 for neighborhood improvements.

The organization said the fee was unexpected, would create financial hardships and was inappropriate for a nonprofit. SFJAZZ’s assets more than quadrupled during five years to $27.4 million by mid-2009, according to figures from the California Attorney General’s Office.

Construction could begin this fall, with the opening planned in 2012, SFJAZZ Executive Operating Director Felice Swapp said.

Commissioners Kathrin Moore and Christina Olague dissented, saying the ruling favors one nonprofit over others.

The Board of Supervisors in August or later will rule on whether SFJAZZ must pay the fee.

“This is a recommendation,” commission Chairman Ron Miguel said during the hearing. “We are not going to have the last word.”




  • 800: Capacity of planned SFJAZZ Center
  • 350 to 700: Flexible seating in auditorium
  • 80: Seats in planned multipurpose ensemble room
  • $18 million: Expected construction costs
  • $60 million: Fundraising goal
  • 3,000: SFJAZZ members
  • 100: Concerts organized annually by SFJAZZ

Sources: Planning Department, SFJAZZ




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