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Landmark deal lets SoMa nonprofits cash in

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Nearly $2 million in developer fees was doled out Tuesday to a number of nonprofits for services in the South of Market neighborhood under a landmark deal negotiated by The City in 2005.

Five years ago, Supervisor Chris Daly negotiated a development deal that, in exchange for allowing soaring towers to exceed height limits in SoMa, would have developers paying a special fee to go toward community services.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved, in a 10-1 vote, spending $1.8 million of millions expected to come into the fund. It was the first authorization of money in the fund.

“It’s been a multiyear process in order to take a look at the needs in the South of Market community in order to mitigate the impacts of development, in this case, the development of One Rincon [Hill],” Daly said.

Nineteen nonprofits will receive a portion of the funds, along with two city departments. The allocations for nonprofits include $75,000 for Asian Neighborhood Design to provide 12 months of green construction training for SoMa residents and $100,000 for the Filipino-American Development Foundation to “develop and implement a program plan that prepares Filipino immigrant youth to become financially independent and to engage in positive pathways.”

Daly had drawn criticism for the deal at the time, with suggestions that it was just a way to provide money to his political allies or that it would prove too costly for developers. Daly rejected both claims.

The funding comes from a fee of $14 per square foot on residential development that occurs in the Rincon Hill area. The money is put into a “stabilization” fund for use on mitigating the impacts of the development. The doling out of the funds is overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, as recommended by a community committee and approved by the Board of Supervisors.

“That’s one-time money that should go to infrastructure and capital and shouldn’t go to these other programs,” said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who voted against the legislation. “What happens when that money’s gone? Those programs are going to be cut.”


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