Campos offers ‘legacy business’ protections

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos this week announced a ballot initiative intended to protect historic small businesses and nonprofits from displacement by offering financial incentives to landlords willing to grant them long-term leases.

The Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund, co-sponsored by Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar, would register qualifying businesses and nonprofits 30 years and older as historic assets, according to Campos.

Once registered with The City, legacy businesses could qualify for annual grants of $500 per employee, as well as annual grants of $4.50 per square foot to property owners willing to extend them 10-year leases.

A report by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office found that 4,000 small businesses closed in 2014 in San Francisco, compared to only 693 in 1994, according to Campos:

“San Francisco wouldn’t be San Francisco without our Legacy Businesses and we need to protect them.”

Campos said in a statement Monday that it is small businesses and nonprofits that give the San Francisco’s neighborhoods the unique charm for which the city is known.

The ballot measure caps the number of businesses that can be nominated for registration each year at 300, out of an estimated 3,000 thought to be eligible citywide. Annual grants would be capped at $50,000 per business and $22,500 for property owners.

The fund is expected to cost around $3 million a year, according to Campos.