Loan plan could boost building 

In order to jump-start construction in The City, Mayor Gavin Newsom is pitching the idea of a citywide Mello-Roos, a financial district that would help developers receive loans to pay impact and development fees.

Newsom made an appearance at a developers conference downtown on Wednesday, using the event to pitch his legislation aimed at creating jobs and jump-starting development.

The plan for the special district — which would allow the developers to pay back the loans through property taxes — would fast-track development projects that have been stalled due to financial pressures, Newsom said. He plans to introduce the legislation next month.

“We think that could be very, very helpful,” Newsom said.

The mayor has been trying to push a proposal to defer 100 percent payment of some fees developers are charged up front. But responding to pressure from neighborhood groups and city lawmakers, Newsom scaled back his proposal this week, instead allowing developers to defer payment of 80 percent of some development-impact fees.

The legislation is expected to be debated before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee on Monday.

“If this is what is required to move it forward, so be it,” said Newsom’s development adviser, Michael Yarne. “The stimulative effects are diminished.”

Newsom also proposed legislation to allow developers to reduce by one-third the fees they must pay to fund affordable-housing projects. In exchange, developers would agree to place a permanent 1 percent transfer fee on the property. Every time the property is sold, The City would collect 1 percent of the sales price for affordable housing.

But city supervisors have not been comfortable with this idea, and as a result Newsom said he would table the affordable-housing legislation.

“You would think that would be a sell at City Hall,” Newsom said, adding that it would generate revenue for The City.

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer John Upton contributed to this report.

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