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22 November 2022 – San Francisco. The nonprofit Union Square Alliance (www.visitunionsquaresf.com) has unveiled an in-depth strategic plan for the area’s economic recovery and continued sustainable development. Intended to be a critical forward-looking document, the plan seeks to outline, as specifically as possible, how the Union Square District must evolve in order to continue to be an economic engine for the rest of the City. The plan was developed by the Alliance and its board members and stakeholders, working closely with City staff from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), The San Francisco Department of Planning and the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA). The plan was unveiled today during an event in Union Square Plaza with local businesses, community, and civic leaders in attendance. The plan’s executive summary is available online.
“As we put the pandemic behind us, the Alliance remains very optimistic about Union Square's future,” said Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of Union Square Alliance. “We are excited about this recovery plan and the fundamental role the Alliance plays in forging a strong future for the heart of San Francisco.”
The Plan includes five key goals, with priority action items under each. The Alliance intends to begin working immediately with the City to put these priority actions in place.
Union Square’s vibrancy is a critical element of our Downtown recovery. As the City continues to adjust to a new normal, we are finding ways to help areas like Union Square that saw the greatest impact because of changes to office reporting and tourism,” said Mayor London Breed. “This plan lays out clear, achievable actions to ensure Union Square continues as the beating heart of our City. This is a real opportunity for San Francisco and we will continue working with the Union Square Alliance and partners to bring innovative and forward-looking strategies to the area.”
Here is what the Plan will accomplish:
1) Promote a Safe and Welcoming Environment
Working with all of our City department partners, we will maintain our strong emphasis on keeping the Union Square District Clean and Safe. We will add a new focus on cleanliness and safety at entry points like our garages and our transit stations. We will also work with SFMTA to develop even safer and convenient ways to access parking for visitors in the central part of the Union Square District.
2) Ensure all floors of Union Square buildings are occupied with vibrant activities
We will do everything necessary to make sure all floors of our historic buildings are full of diverse and lively uses, generating activity in the district and tax revenue for the City. We will work with our City partners to revisit zoning controls in Union Square, to ensure they facilitate a resilient, mixed-use downtown neighborhood. We will work with building owners and brokers to seek out and attract game-changing new tenants to the district. We will work with the City to identify programs and incentives to attract more food and beverage and additional cultural activities.
3) Create authentic “Only in San Francisco” marketing tools for Union Square to highlight its unique vibe
The Alliance will tailor its marketing campaigns to highlight the uniquely urban nature of Union Square, with cable cars, art and culture, bustling streets, beautiful architecture, and a variety of close by attractions and neighborhoods. We will partner with major institutions and arts groups to promote public art, light installations, and indoor galleries. We will increase participatory and cultural programming in the plaza and throughout the District, such as dance, skating, art, and music.
4) Activate and upgrade outdoor public spaces, focusing on Union Square, Hallidie Plaza, Powell Street and key alleys
We will work with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to deepen our partnership around Union Square Plaza so the Alliance can enhance music, events, and art programming in the Plaza as well as increase the range of everyday activities and pop-ups in, with a focus on food vending and temporary activation. We will develop plans to transform Powell Street over time into a unique cable car-centered promenade between Market and Post street. We will explore creating intimate “urban rooms” in alleys such as Maiden Lane and Campton Place, using seating, lighting, flowers and other unique elements.
5) Promote the Union Square Alliance’s organizational health and sustainability
The Alliance will continue refining its staffing structure and relationships with City staff and decision-makers to provide the best possible service to its members and the larger Union Square Community.
“Our historic, iconic Union Square is a key piece of San Francisco’s revitalization efforts with untold potential and opportunity. It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with the Union Square Alliance on an exciting, realistic vision for the future,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents District 3, including much of Downtown San Francisco. “The Strategic Plan appropriately prioritizes safety and cleanliness, while also revisioning new uses for this historic neighborhood that will draw tourists and locals alike.”
About Union Square Alliance:
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the district’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco, an international destination where visitors enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street, and on the west by Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to www.visitunionsquaresf.com.
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