Mayor Lee Celebrates Central Market Milestone

56 Jobs Created in Central Market by Companies Taking Advantage of New Payroll Expense Tax Policy

1/26/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that businesses are beginning to take advantage of the City’s Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion. Zendesk and Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers are the first of what is anticipated to be many companies choosing to locate in the Central Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods and take advantage of the six-year payroll expense tax exclusion for new jobs created.

Creating 56 new jobs in the Central Market area last year, both companies have now been issued conditional letters of eligibility, which allows them to continue to create new jobs, generate revenue for the City and transform Central Market.

“With the success of Pearl’s and Zendesk in Central Market and with the opening of Twitter this summer, I continue to be encouraged by the successes we are seeing. While we have more work to do, we can still celebrate milestones like this and the many small businesses and arts groups arriving in the area, generating new foot traffic and increasing positive activity in the area,” said Mayor Lee. “This is a historic opportunity to leverage the energy and momentum that is creating an eclectic cultural arts, small business, entertainment and innovation economy hub.”

The Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion was created to help to stabilize and revitalize an area that has been burdened by decades of high vacancy rates and disinvestment. The policy was designed to attract businesses to Central Market and the Tenderloin in order to create jobs and stimulate small business development. By providing tax relief for new jobs the Tax Exclusion encourages San Francisco companies, particularly those that are fast-growing, to move to Central Market as their employee base expands.

Zendesk, a San Francisco-based technology company that provides cloud-based help desk software, announced they had signed a lease in the Central Market in June of 2011 and that they would be doubling their footprint in September of 2011, shortly after they moved in. Since that time, Zendesk has added 40 jobs and plans to add another 96 jobs in 2012, totaling 200 staff.

“Our move to 6th and Market streets in August has been a meaningful one, and we are honored to be one of what will hopefully be many companies to bring positive change and innovation to this neighborhood,” said Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane. “We’re excited about being the first tech company to draft and now implement a Community Benefits Agreement, which will help us build and foster long-lasting and meaningful relationships with the residents, businesses, community leaders, and other neighborhood stakeholders in Central Market and the Tenderloin.”

As part of qualifying for the Central Market / Tenderloin Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion, Zendesk entered into a Community Benefits Agreement with the City earlier this week. The company has committed to implementing a number of programs that will benefit the neighborhood and its residents, including support for community gardens, job training programs, access to technology, and a commitment to engage local restaurants and business for event catering and other services.

In November 2011 Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers opened their fourth location in Central Market. The award-winning restaurant was able to locate in Central Market with help from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, a loan from the City’s Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund and the Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion. They have created 16 new jobs as a result of their new location.

“It is an exciting and historic time to do business in Central Market,” said Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers Owner Sylvia Yi. “Sixth Street is fast becoming a comfort food corridor, and we are lucky to be a part of it. Innovative incentives like the payroll expense tax exemption will continue to entice other businesses to our area and keep the entrepreneurial momentum going in burgeoning Central Market. Kudos to Mayor Lee and his office for their commitment to revitalize this neighborhood. It is happening with great speed and much success thus far!”

The attraction and expansion of large employers and small businesses to Central Market is a cornerstone of the Mayor’s recently-launched Central Market Economic Strategy, the result of a 10-month public process that has resulted in a comprehensive roadmap to stabilize, revitalize and transform Central Market. Enhanced safety services are one of the primary components of the Economic Strategy, which includes the City’s Central Market Community Safety Ambassadors Program. To read the Central Market Economic Strategy, go to: www.centralmarketpartnership.org.