Archive | Business

The Gold Dust Lounge in San Francisco is History: Tourist Bar to Move to Fisherman’s Wharf


The Gold Dust Lounge will shut its doors Wednesday, May 23, and move into a new location at Fisherman’s Wharf sometime in the next four months, according to a source close to the bar.

A press conference will be held at 2:30 Wednesday at the bar, 247 Powell St., to announce that the bar and lounge will fold its tent and move to an undisclosed location at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Recently, the bar was sued by its landlord, the Handlery family, which owns the building where the bar is situated for failing to abide by the terms of its lease and staying beyond the term of its lease.  The bar and its owners, the Bovis brothers, lost a series of legal rulings this past week that sealed its fate.

The Gold Dust tried to use public relations tactics to overcome the fact that the bar didn’t have a lease.  One of its previous attempts to remain on Powell Street was to seek historic status from the City of San Francisco, but the bar suffered a setback when the Historic Preservation Commission decided against granting it landmark status.

Supporters of the 47-year-old bar near Union Square hoped the designation would help save the business from being evicted by the building’s owners, the Handlery family. Next, the bar’s supporters sought help from Supervisor Christina Olague, who said she planned to introduce legislation that would override the agency, whose members said the bar had cultural significance but did not meet criteria for historic landmark designation.

But the supervisor changed her mind. She told the board she’d “respect the process” and stay out of the fight.

The day after the Historic Preservation Commission’s ruling, attorneys for the Handlery family filed a lawsuit against Jim and Tasios Bovis, who run the bar, accusing them of intentionally breaching their contract. The Bovises, in turn, sued their landlords, saying they were intimidated into signing their contract.

The battle over the watering hole started in December last year, when the Handlery family, who wants to put an Express store in the Gold Dust’s space, exercised a clause in its lease and gave the Bovises three months to clear out. The Bovises refused to leave.

At that time, Lee Houskeeper, a spokesman for the Bovises, said bar supporters would appeal the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors within a month. But the bar never did.

At that time, Houskeeper bragged: “We’re going to keep pouring,” he added. “We’re not going anywhere soon.”

But the Bovises and Houskeeper changed their tune this week after the bar lost a series of three important legal decisions this past week to the Handlery family.

Now the tourist bar is moving to a tourist location, Fisherman’s Wharf, where it can continue to pour drinks like it has since 1966, when the Bovises first started the lounge in the Handlery building on Powell Street.

The biggest question is why the Bovises (and their mouthpiece Houskeeper) didn’t move in the first place, except that they would have lost the publicity and income that comes from flogging a dying bar.  And, of course, who in San Francisco doesn’t like a good ‘ol tenant landlord dispute? It only makes everyone drink more. Just ask the Bovis’ attorney Joe Cotchett who got his hat handed to him by the court and led to the bar finally giving up the ghost and moving to Fisherman’s Wharf.  He will most likely be drowning his loss with a few drinks at the Gold Dust Bar in its final hours, courtesy of the Bovis brothers, no doubt.

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San Francisco’s Economy Is Growing

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on the City Controller’s Office Report on FY 2011-12 Nine-Month Budget Status Report, providing the most recent expenditure and revenue information and projections for the Fiscal Year End and an ending available General Fund balance of $172.4 million, representing a $43.3 million increase from the Six-Month Report projection:

“The Controller’s Report released today reaffirms that San Francisco’s economy is moving in the right direction, and our City’s economic policies are working.

San Franciscans are getting back to work and the City’s economy is growing and improving. However, the report also shows that even with a recovering economy, the City continues to face budget deficits in the years ahead.

Over the next month, we will face difficult decisions as we present a balanced budget. We will take action to ensure that as we protect vital City services, we also protect our continued economic recovery.”

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FAIRMONT HOTEL – Oaktree Capital Management and Woodridge Capital Partners Purchases Historic Hotel for Nearly $200 Million

The world renowned Fairmont San Francisco Hotel atop Nob Hill was sold today for close to $200 million to a consortium led by an affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management LP and real estate investor Michael Rosenfeld and his Woodridge Capital Partners LLC. The hotel was purchased from Maritz, Wolff & Co., which acquired its investment in the hotel in 1998 in partnership with Kingdom Holding, which is retaining its interest. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, based in Toronto, Canada, will continue to manage the storied hotel.

The Fairmont San Francisco opened in 1907. The Beaux Arts-style building was designed by New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White and Julia Morgan, also well known for her design of Hearst Castle. Over its 105-year history, it has been home to many “firsts” from the drafting of the United Nations Charter to Tony Bennett’s premier of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. The Fairmont was home to America’s first concierge, and since its opening, has served as the San Francisco residence for U.S. presidents, world leaders and entertainment stars.

fairmont-hotel1THE FAIRMONT
John Brady, head of global real estate for Oaktree Capital Management, said, “We look forward to joining Oaktree’s significant real estate experience and an investor base that includes prominent public and corporate pension funds together with longstanding relationships with Woodridge, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Kingdom Holding and our new partners – the hotel’s outstanding employees and the City of San Francisco, one of the truly great cities of the world.”

With 591 guest rooms and suites and over 55,000 square feet of conference and function space, the hotel is renowned for its three restaurants and lounges including the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar with its thunderstorms and floating stage. Its location at 950 Mason Street atop Nob Hill offers spectacular views of the city and the Bay, and is the only spot in San Francisco where each of the city’s cable car lines meet.

Michael Rosenfeld stated: “The Fairmont San Francisco hotel’s rich history, elegance and beauty make it a one-of-a-kind property that cannot be replicated today. We are excited to be in such a distinguished partnership with a property that symbolizes the great City of San Francisco.”

Oaktree is a leading global investment management firm focused on alternative markets, with $77.9 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2012. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has over 650 employees and offices in 13 cities worldwide. For more information visit: OaktreeCapital

Woodridge Capital Partners, headed by its CEO Michael Rosenfeld, is a Los Angeles based real estate investment and development company with hotel, residential and commercial assets throughout the United States. Woodridge and Rosenfeld have been active in the real estate industry for more than 25 years. Rosenfeld also has other hotel interests with Oaktree, including the iconic Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, and the recently acquired Fairmont Orchid Resort on the famed Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Mayor Lee Announces Major Expansion of Sharing Economy Leader Airbnb

Company Signs 169,000 Square Foot Lease in

Showplace Square with Capacity for more than 1,000 New Jobs

Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced that Airbnb has signed a 169,000 square foot lease at 888 Brannan Street in Showplace Square. Airbnb’s lease will allow their company to grow from their current 125 employees to more than 1,000 staff. The ten year lease will quadruple Airbnb’s square footage and allow for an eight fold increase in jobs as they continue to grow in San Francisco.

“San Francisco is at the forefront of the sharing economy and companies like Airbnb are creating real jobs for San Franciscans,” said Mayor Lee. “The sharing economy was born here, and I am committed to ensuring that San Francisco supports this emerging sector’s growth and success. Congratulations to Airbnb on their new Showplace Square home joining the growing innovation hub in the neighborhood.”

“The entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco is what inspired us to create Airbnb, and the Mayor’s commitment to the sharing economy made us decide to strengthen our roots here,” said Airbnb CEO and Co-Founder Brian Chesky. “This lease not only signifies a 10-year commitment to San Francisco, but also to this neighborhood, where we want to be a great neighbor to the local community. We hope to create an inspirational space that brings people together and promotes the sharing of ideas.”

In April 2012, Mayor Lee formed the nations first Sharing Economy Working Group, bringing together City departments, neighborhood and community stake holders and sharing economy companies. The first working group discussions will focus on how to better support parking and car sharing while discussions between policy makers on the appropriate level of taxation and regulation of both short term vacation rentals and year round rentals are ongoing.

Today’s announcement solidifies Showplace Square as a hub for technology companies. Airbnb will join technology leaders including Adobe Systems, Advent Software, Dolby, Eventbrite, Flixter, Jawbone, Sega and Zynga in the neighborhood.

About Airbnb

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 19,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

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DROPBOX – Opens new headquarters in SOMA, estimated space for more than 500 new jobs

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston have officially opened the new office of Dropbox, a tech company that provides a sharing service for users to store photos, documents, and videos. The company’s new headquarters is located at 185 Berry Street, occupies 87,000 square feet and provides space for future growth. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) estimates this new office can accommodate approximately 550 employees, a five-fold increase over current employment.

“From cloud to mobile to social to gaming, San Francisco is ground zero for innovative companies like Dropbox,” said Mayor Lee. “Dropbox’s decision to locate their headquarters in San Francisco demonstrates what we already know – that San Francisco is the ‘Innovation Capital of the World.’ The tech ecosystem we are nurturing now has the best local talent, is helping us create jobs and reinvigorate our local economy. I am thrilled to officially welcome them to their new home in SoMa.”

“We’re proud to call San Francisco our home; there’s no better place in the world for creative thinkers and builders,” said Dropbox CEO and Co-Founder Drew Houston. “We’d like to thank the Mayor for joining us today and for the City’s support.”

The new Dropbox location in the China Basin Landing Building provides the company with an opportunity to create their own office space, is located next to convenient transit, is adjacent to AT&T Park, and enjoys access to the best talent and creativity of the San Francisco workforce.\

About Dropbox

Dropbox simplifies millions of people’s lives by letting them bring their docs, photos, and videos anywhere and share them easily. The service has more than 50 million users in over 175 countries. Dropbox was founded in San Francisco in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.

Click here for more information:

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Mayor Lee and Supervisor Olague announce seven new businesses and increased investment in Fillmore

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague today celebrated the arrival of seven new businesses in the Fillmore, announced a dramatic 21 percent decrease in the vacancy rate from 35 percent to 14 percent in the Fillmore and highlighted several City programs aimed at continuing the momentum in the Fillmore.

Standing at the historic African-American bookstore Marcus Books, Mayor Lee and Supervisor Olague announced that the City is also partnering with merchants and property owners to improve the storefronts of 23 businesses from McAllister to Post Streets and is initiating a neighborhood marketing and events program aimed at celebrating the Fillmore’s culture and history and driving additional foot traffic to the area.

“With new businesses, storefront improvements, events programming and the leadership of business owners and the community, today there is renewed energy and optimism in the Fillmore, one of our City’s great historic neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lee. “We still have much work to do, but the dramatic drop in commercial vacancies and the progress we are seeing in the Fillmore demonstrates the promise of our Invest in Neighborhoods strategy to transform our neighborhood commercial corridors through targeted City and community resources, assistance and leadership. I want to thank Supervisor Olague for her tireless efforts since taking office to champion the needs of the Fillmore and bring new resources and focused attention to the neighborhood.”

“As we gear up for Small Business Month in May, we have a great opportunity to highlight The Fillmore’s thriving business community,” said Supervisor Olague. “I am thrilled to support the diverse merchants in the Jazz District, many of whom have been here for decades, as well as newcomers who see the limitless potential in this growing corridor.”

Three new businesses – State Bird Provisions, The Social Study café and wine bar, and 1307 Gallery, a multi-media space in the Fillmore Center owned by two local Fillmore residents – opened in late 2011 and early 2012.  State Bird Provisions has already made the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants. Hapa Ramen and Prime Dip will open in the end of May, and Progress and City Grange restaurants, will open in Fall 2012.

Progress will be the second project of the owners of State Bird and will be located two doors down. City Grange will be a second project of the owners of Phat Angel, also in the Fillmore. Hapa Ramen is a food truck that will make its first permanent home on Fillmore. Prime Dip is expanding from its first location on Larkin Street to the Fillmore. The City has been working with property owners since 2010 to diversity the business mix in the area and fill vacancies, and has provided financial and technical assistance to many of the new entrepreneurs.

The City’s investment in the Fillmore builds on efforts by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to restore the area as a cultural center for African Americans and for music and entertainment in the aftermath of Urban Renewal. The Redevelopment Agency’s investments led to new development and anchor businesses such as Yoshi’s, 1300 on Fillmore, Sheba Lounge and Rassela’s. The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) has continued to build on these investments by implementing initiatives aimed at supporting long-time Fillmore businesses; providing resources for area residents who wish to start their own businesses; bringing in new neighborhood-serving businesses; and activating the street with festivals and other events that showcase the culture of the district. OEWD’s Fillmore work started in early 2010 and has shown a decrease from 35 percent vacancy rate to 14 percent, showing a declining change of 21 percent.

Monday’s Fillmore merchant walk coincides with the recent kick-off of the Mayor Lee’s new Invest in Neighborhoods initiative, which will coordinate the City’s many programs and neighborhood resources to make targeted improvements in key neighborhood commercial districts.

In each participating commercial district, City services—including business retention and attraction programs, community planning activities, cleaning, greening and beautification services, public safety programs, and neighborhood art projects—will be deployed in a focused, customized manner that responds to the corridor’s unique challenges and opportunities. Invest in Neighborhoods will create infrastructure to leverage programs like the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, which Mayor Lee recently recapitalized with $1 million with unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors.

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New Chevron Videos Expose Evidence of Fraud Against Oil Company In Ecuador Case

Chevron Corporation today released a series of videos to demonstrate that the case against the oil company in Ecuador is based on fraud and deceit. Visit:

Chevron released seven videos that provide a never-seen-before look at the case in Ecuador. From the history of oil production in region to the pervasive fraud plaguing the litigation, the videos detail all aspects of the legal and scientific deceptions committed by the plaintiffs’ team in pursuit of a misguided and meritless lawsuit, according to the company.

The videos allow viewers to see new footage from Hollywood Director Joe Berlinger’s movie “Crude,” which was made and financed by plaintiffs against Chevron, but turned into their greatest weapon in proving the fraud behind the case.

Also, evidence shows for the first time, lead plaintiff attorney Steven Donziger in deposition videos personally describing how he directed a number of questionable actions that promoted the fraud against Chevron and Texaco, its predecessor in Ecuador.

Under oath, attorney Steven Donziger admits on tape that none of the recent environmental experts ever visited Ecuador or “did any kind of new site inspection,” “new sampling,” or “environmental testing of any kind.” And the new plaintiffs’ experts admitted when deposed that they relied on the data and conclusions in the discredited Cabrera Report and did not conduct any independent sampling.

Also featured in the videos are the plaintiffs’ Philadelphia attorney Joe Kohn, environmental experts from Stratus Consulting in Denver, and other plaintiffs’ experts who admit that their submissions to the court in Ecuador were falsified and that no contamination exists by Chevron.

Most importantly, the videos present unassailable evidence and admissions by the plaintiffs, on tape and in emails, that the ‘independent report’ by Richard Cabrera that found alleged contamination in Ecuador was mostly written by plaintiffs themselves. The “Cabrera Report” found on plaintiffs’ lawyers’ computers matches word-for-word the multi-billion damage assessment filed by Cabrera the next day, on April 1, 2008.

The videos reveal that the final judgment for $18 billion against Chevron in Ecuador was crafted and ghostwritten by the plaintiffs who provided it to Judge Nicholas Zambrano to make it appear as if it was the opinion of the Ecuadorian justice system.

The videos are proof positive that Chevron will likely prevail in the courts and legal systems outside of the corrupt Banana-Republic of Ecuador, which has been manipulated by the plaintiffs. Now that courts in the United States and the World Court in Den Hague are looking into the case, Chevron has a real opportunity continue to expose the fraud and turn the tables on the plaintiffs and the environmental organizations, such as Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network, that fronted for the unethical and fraudulent case concocted against Chevron.

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ZOOSK – Social Network Company Moving Global Headquarters to Market Street

Mayor Edwin M. Lee has announced that social network company Zoosk has signed a 52,000 square-foot lease at the historic building at 989 Market Street to house their global headquarters. The new office space will accommodate Zoosk’s rapid growth as they expand from 102 employees in San Francisco to a planned 160 employees by the end of 2012.

“The decision by Zoosk to move to Central Market is yet another major validation of our strategies to revitalize the neighborhood with new jobs and technology,” said Mayor Lee. “It is only fitting that a social networking company with over 50 million members is now moving into this prime location to join social networking  pioneers such as Twitter in Central Market’s new technology cluster in San Francisco, the ‘Innovation Capital of the World.’”

“Zoosk is experiencing tremendous growth, having more than doubled its staff and revenue in the last year. We needed more room to grow and a location that will help attract top talent. We also wanted a space that was more in-line with Zoosk’s fun and creative culture instead of a traditional, corporate office. So when we saw 989 Market, it was definitely love at first sight,” said Zoosk Co-Founder and Co-CEO Alex Mehr. “We’re excited to join the growing roster of San Francisco’s most-innovative technology companies and the city to rejuvenate central market.”

This new lease more than doubles Zoosk’s current Financial District foot print of 21,000 square feet. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) estimates that this new lease will allow Zoosk to grow to more than 340 employees over the term of their lease with room to grow. Joining 989 Market’s other tenant, Zendesk, the building is now fully leased.

“The speed at which this building leased out speaks to the interest and demand for space in Central Market” said OEWD Director Jennifer Matz. “Not only do companies continue to Start, Stay and Grow in San Francisco but the dramatic rise in leasing, new construction and property sales in the Central Market shows that our efforts to revitalize the area are working.”In the wake of the Central Market payroll tax exclusion passed last year and the City’s coordinated efforts to revitalize Central Market, the neighborhood has seen increased leasing of office space from technology companies. Technology companies have leased over 380,000 square feet of office space on Central Market including Call Socket (30,000 square feet), One Kings Lane (52,000 square feet), Twitter (215,000 square feet), Zendesk (35,000 square feet) and Zoosk (52,000 square feet).

About Zoosk

Zoosk is the social network that helps members create and share their romantic journeys, with millions of members from around the globe enjoying the service each month. Zoosk provides members at different stages of their romantic journey with a fun and social set of tools such as Romantic Moments, Couple Profiles, and the Personals application. Members can easily access Zoosk’s services from its website, its Facebook app, mobile devices, and a downloadable desktop application. Zoosk is available in 25 languages and has members in more than 70 countries. Founded in 2007 by Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr, Zoosk, Inc. is based in San Francisco and backed by Canaan Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, and ATA Ventures.

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Chevron loses tax appeal in Contra Costa County

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
From the Contra Costa Times

MARTINEZ — Chevron has lost an appeal of the property values assigned to its Richmond refinery and will pay an additional estimated $26.7 million in taxes rather than collect a refund worth nearly three times that amount.

The county, cities and special districts heaved a big sigh of relief at Monday morning’s Assessment Appeals Board decision, which could have forced public agencies to repay Chevron as much as $73 million.
Chevron had accused Contra Costa Assessor Gus Kramer of intentionally driving up the refinery’s taxable values between 2007-2009.

But the three-member panel said the evidence showed Kramer actually undervalued the Richmond operation by 10 to 23 percent. It raised the refinery’s fair market values, respectively, at $3.7 billion, $4.4 billion and $3.8 billion for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Chevron put the values substantially lower at $1.8 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion for the same years.
Two years ago, the oil company received a $17 million refund on its 2004-2006 property taxes based on a prior appeal’s board decision. Chevron filed a lawsuit in Superior Court, which is still pending.

Chevron has also appealed its 2010 and 2011 assessed values. Hearings start April 16.

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First Annual Local Hire Report: City reaches 34 percent local hiring on City-funded construction projects

Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined Supervisor John Avalos, City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly, City departments, construction industry partners and community supporters to celebrate the one year implementation anniversary of the landmark San Francisco Local Hiring Policy for Construction. The Mayor released the first Local Hire annual report showing the City reached 34 percent local hiring on City-funded construction projects, significantly exceeding the first year goal of 20 percent. Mayor Lee also announced the formation of a Local Hire Advisory Committee and the appointment of new Local Hire Director Pat Mulligan to ensure that the Local Hire policy continues provide jobs to San Francisco residents who need them most.

“On the first anniversary of our historic Local Hire law, we are proving that we can rebuild our City’s infrastructure and ensure our public investments are creating local jobs for San Franciscans,” said Mayor Lee. “As our economy recovers, we must continue implementing the next steps of our Local Hire law to ensure that City investments in rebuilding our roads, parks and sewers keep putting City residents back to work. I want to thank members of the Board of Supervisors and the community for their strong support and advocacy for reaching our Local Hire goals in the last year.”

In December of 2010, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted the Local Policy for Construction, which amended Chapter 6.22(G) of the San Francisco Administrative Code. The Policy transitioned from “good faith” efforts for local hiring on City construction projects to mandatory levels of San Francisco resident participation. The Ordinance is among the most ambitious and far-reaching policies on local hire in the country.

“We are rebuilding San Francisco and putting San Franciscans to work with the strongest local hire ordinance in the country,” said Supervisor Avalos. “Today’s report highlights that we are doing just that, hiring within our communities and working together as a City to make sure that we are putting San Franciscans back to work.”

“San Francisco’s local hire law is putting San Franciscans to work, and we have implemented the program in a cost-efficient manner,” said City Administrator Kelly. “This report shows the community the progress we’ve made and charts a course for sustaining our economic recovery. Our new Local Hire Advisory Committee and Local Hire Director will help ensure we stay the course and meet our goals under the Law next year as well.”

The first Local Hire annual report, produced by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, found that the City reached 34 percent local hiring on City funded construction projects, 14 percent above the first year goal of 20 percent. On March 25, 2012, the requirement goal escalated to 25 percent. Overall, 153 San Francisco residents out of a total of 542 workers have worked on 22 of the active Local Hiring projects in the first year of the Policy’s implementation.

In its first year in implementation, City-funded public works and improvement projects were required to meet 20 percent local resident participation by trade, and 50 percent local apprentice participation by trade. The report shows that the 22 City construction projects performed work hours that have yielded 34 percent in San Francisco resident participation across all trades, and 68 percent for apprentice hours.

The first Local Hire annual report can be found at:

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SEC Says Wells Fargo Should Be Forced meet Supoenas

BLOOMBERG — Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) failed to hand over documents demanded in U.S. subpoenas and should be forced to cooperate with a probe into its sale of almost $60 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities, regulators said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal judge to compel the bank, the largest U.S. home lender, to deliver documents it agreed to produce under subpoenas dating from September, the agency said yesterday in a statement. The SEC said it’s looking into possible fraud by the San Francisco- based company and hasn’t concluded that anyone broke the law.

“Up until now, Wells has escaped some of the accusations that most of its competitors have suffered,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of the Inside Mortgage Finance newsletter. “It’s a credit to them that they’ve escaped as many lawsuits or challenges as they have. This may knock them off their pedestal.”

Almost four years after mounting mortgage defaults prompted unprecedented government bailouts of the financial system, regulators are still examining how banks packaged and sold home loans to investors. The SEC is looking for evidence that firms failed to disclose underlying credit weaknesses in mortgage pools and delinquencies, and has also told Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) that they may face civil claims.

The agency’s request, if granted, would give Wells Fargo 14 days to hand over 1,365 e-mails and attachments it has withheld from the SEC, according to a court filing. The bank said in a statement that enforcement action is unwarranted and that it will defend itself in court.

The watchdog is examining whether Wells Fargo misrepresented or omitted facts in offerings from September 2006 to early 2008, according to the statement. While the bank reviewed a sampling of loans and excluded those that failed to meet its standards, Wells Fargo may not have taken steps to address flaws in the remainder of the pool, the agency said.

Investigators are seeking information on the bank’s underwriting guidelines and on due diligence, according to the statement. The agency filed its request in federal court in San Francisco. Marc Fagel, the head of the SEC’s office in that city, declined to comment on the request.

“Wells Fargo believes the subpoena enforcement action is inappropriate and unwarranted and will vigorously defend itself in court,” Mary Eshet, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. The bank has cooperated with the agency and believed it had an understanding on the requested documents, which was violated by yesterday’s filing, she said.
“Wells Fargo is also confident that the SEC staff has inaccurately described its conduct with regard to residential mortgage-backed securities,” Eshet said.

Wells Fargo said in its annual report filed Feb. 28 that it received a so-called Wells notice from the SEC warning the bank that it may face civil claims tied to the sale of mortgage- backed securities. SEC lawyers send the notices when they intend to recommend that the agency take action.

Four days before, on Feb. 24, the SEC told the lender that it was considering enforcement measures, the agency said in yesterday’s court filing. The bank has attempted to use that as an “excuse to avoid complying with the subpoenas,” the SEC said in the filing.

Wells Fargo’s lawyer told the SEC that given the Wells notice, “We assumed the investigation was over and we had moved to a different phase,” according to the filing. The lawyer told the SEC that he might agree to “revisit the issue of any additional document production” after the SEC reviewed the bank’s submission.

The passages were quoted from an e-mail sent to the SEC by Wells Fargo’s outside counsel, Michael Missal of K&L Gates LLP, according to a copy provided by spokesman Ancel Martinez. Missal declined to comment.

“There is no basis for Wells Fargo’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas because a Wells notice, such as the staff provided, does not terminate the commission’s investigative power,” the SEC said in its filing yesterday.

The scope of the SEC’s probe “involves not just Wells Fargo’s own potential violations of the securities laws, but the roles played by other persons associated with the bank’s residential mortgage-backed securities offerings,” according to the filing.

The SEC said it has sent Wells notices to two individuals associated with the bank’s mortgage offerings. They weren’t named.

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Another Reason to Love SF: Condom Company Supports Racing Vibrator Start Up

San Francisco’s Tastee’s Condoms, the original flavored condoms that are manufactured in California, is announcing its sponsorship of a local startup venture that is producing fun vibrator racing tracks.

“As a Californian condom manufacturer, we are keen to help other local and small businesses grow,” David Ashforth of Tastee’s Condoms said. “We want to support American trade, manufacturing and the community in which we are based.”

Tastee’s Condoms has sponsored local entrepreneur Raymond Tuzi by buying manufacturing equipment in order for him to launch his business and by helping Tuzi push his product to the market by offering it to distributors who already have a business relationship with Tastee’s Condoms.

“Sponsoring Raymond’s vibrator racing track business is a win-win, buying his manufacturing equipment and introducing him to our distributors will ensure his business is a success,” Ashforth said.

These racing vibrators on racetracks will be amusing and cutting-edge entertainment for bachelorette and bachelor parties, nightclubs, bars, and college dorm parties. The Vibrator Racing Tracks are handcrafted in Northern California. Each is packaged separately and customers must self-assemble the track. No extra tools are needed, but a small screwdriver is supplied. Assembly takes about 5 to 10 minutes and the instructions are included in the package.

For more information about the Fun Vibrator Racing Tracks, view the product on the web at

For more information about any of Tastee’s Condom’s products, call 888-852-2833 or buy condoms on the web at

About Tastee’s Condoms

Located in San Francisco, Tastee’s Condoms is one of the best-selling condoms in the U.S. and is known to be the first creator of flavored condoms. The Tastee’s Condoms brand was acquired in 2011 by a San Francisco adult novelty company with 12 years of experience in the industry. Tastee’s Condoms is expanding its market and will soon be introducing a natural condom, a ribbed and studded condom, an Atomic Sour flavored condom and more.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Redwood City, California Shredding and Export Facility Proposed for Enhancement & Expansion

Sims Metal Management’s North American Metal’s business (Sims) announced today a proposal to strengthen its commitment to a working waterfront in the Port of Redwood City (Port) by announcing its proposed plan to embark on a major expansion and upgrade of its Redwood City facility to increase export and processing capacity, improve efficiency and further strengthen its environmental sustainability. Sims is proposing to invest upward of $10 million dollars to make its Port facility a fully integrated scrap metal export powerhouse: a full-service shredding, processing, and export facility. The proposed growth is an extension of the more than $10 million worth of investments already made to improve operational efficiencies and reduce its environmental footprint in the last two years.  Sims is a division of Sims Metal Management Limited, the world’s largest publicly traded metal and electronics recycling company, and the 11th ranked company on the Global Top 100 Most Sustainable Corporations as announced at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The contemplated expansion will help reinvigorate Port infrastructure and create much needed sustainable “green collar” industrial jobs. The potential job growth not only benefits the Port and the regional economy, but also the environment, through increased and improved recycling. This proposed expansion will potentially double the number of long-term “green collar” jobs at the facility from 60 to approximately 120, in addition to numerous construction, engineering and supporting function jobs.  It also would constitute a significant infrastructure investment in Port property, and would include both improvements to existing equipment and the addition of new types of scrap processing equipment.  The contemplated expansion will yet again allow Sims to set the bar higher on leading edge recycling in the Bay Area and Northern California.

This potential investment would also bring significant benefits to the Port, the only working deep-water port in the South San Francisco Bay and one of the few bulk cargo ports in the entire Bay Area. In continuous operation for more than 160 years, the strategically located Port is accessible by ship, rail and truck. These attributes have enabled the Port of Redwood City to become the fastest growing “small” bulk port in California and to deliver on a host of environmental and economic benefits to Redwood City and the Bay Area Region.

“Due to its mid-Peninsula location, the Port of Redwood City has shown that it is an ideal location for a major recycling operation, as evidenced by the success of our current operations. The enhancements we propose to make could double the number of well-paying “green-collar” recycling jobs, while also increasing environmental safeguards and protecting the Bay,” said Steve Shinn, President – West Region, North America Metals. “We share the belief of the Port, the City of Redwood City and the County that it is important for the region to sustain a mix of industries that offer Bay Area residents a variety of well-paying jobs, while maintaining the critical jobs/housing/open space balance.  We are committed to being part of that working waterfront and will continue to responsibly deploy our public shareholders precious capital with respect to this commitment.”

“Sims’ plan to expand its operations in Redwood City would amplify the benefits that the Port already provides to the community and region.  Redwood City can be proud of the fact that its Port is one of the largest centers of recycling in Northern California, and greater capacity for metal recycling would certainly enhance this environmental asset,” stated Greg Greenway, Executive Director of Seaport Industrial Association. “It would also advance the City’s vision of job diversity and a thriving industrial sector as part of the long-term growth of the local economy.  The New General Plan embraces the value of a working waterfront and the need to plan for a healthy Port long into the future.  Sims’ proposal is forward looking and directly in line with that goal.”

In addition to the improvements proposed for its recycling facility, Sims is supporting and would assist with other improvements to enhance the value of the Port and its utility for all users.  At the top of this list is the proposed dredging plan to deepen the Port channel and allow access by larger draft vessels. Additional priorities are the installation or improvement of other Port infrastructure and the establishment of a much-needed buffer zone through the siting of additional industrial businesses such as warehouses and light industry or through the restoration of wetlands that would separate the heavy industrial operations in the Port from other land uses located to the east of Seaport Blvd.

Sims is committed to the Port, to the region and to recycling.  Last year, Sims Metal Management shipped more than 300,000 tons of recycled steel out of the Port of Redwood City.  As one of the top 20 exporters from the United States, Sims is recognized as an important engine in the restoration of the balance of payments of the United States economy. The proposed improvements at the Port of Redwood City would increase the export tonnage from the Port considerably, resulting in more jobs and more revenue for the Port and Redwood City.  Recycling is as vital to the environment as it is to the economy: The use of recycled steel avoids the need for mining virgin iron ore for the production of new steel products. The recycled materials are captured from end-of-life vehicles, appliances and other end-of-life metal products that would otherwise end up in landfills, or left along the sides of roads or in abandoned lots.   Sims looks forward to continuing to engage in dialogue with those stakeholders interested in seeing more recycling, more jobs and an improved, stronger Port in Redwood City.

# # #

About Sims Metal Management
Sims Metal Management is the world’s largest listed metal recycler with approximately 270 facilities and 6,600 employees globally. Sims’ core businesses are metal recycling and electronics recycling. Sims Metal Management generated approximately 85 percent of its revenue from operations in North America, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, New Zealand and Asia in Fiscal 2011. The Company’s ordinary shares are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: SGM) and its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SMS). Please visit our website ( for more information on the Company and recent developments.

For further information contact

Daniel Strechay
Group Director – Communications & Public Relations
Tel: +1 212 500 7430

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For the third year, the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel) will award up to ten Neighborhood Partnership Grants to unique “Only in San Francisco” businesses located throughout the city, with an emphasis on those operating outside the traditional visitor areas. The program is open to businesses that are of interest to visitors and not currently San Francisco Travel partners

Grant recipients will receive a complimentary one-year San Francisco Travel partnership (a $50 setup fee is required), including admission to events such as the San Francisco Travel Annual Luncheon, Market Briefings, Outlook Forums and Partner Business Exchanges. They will receive all of the benefits of San Francisco Travel partnership such as listings online and in publications, and access to the Convention Calendar.

The Neighborhood Partnership Grants also include mentoring by San Francisco Travel professional staff and partners experienced in working with the association.

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2012. The application is available online under “Forms” at

“Over the past two years, we have discovered some wonderful businesses in our city’s diverse neighborhoods. The Grants program helps us to include more of these lesser-known gems in our marketing programs,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro. “Our overall goal with the program is to draw more visitors into the city’s unique and fascinating neighborhoods, while helping small businesses grow and succeed.”

Grant recipients will be selected based on several criteria, including the unique-to-San Francisco nature of the business, the potential to attract visitors to their neighborhood and their commitment to participate fully in the program.

A panel including representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the San Francisco Office of Small Business and San Francisco Travel staff will interview finalists.

The businesses selected for the 2011/2012 class of Neighborhood Partnership Grants will be honored at SF Travel’s Annual Luncheon on June 21. Businesses selected in this year’s class are:

Bayview Opera House – 4705 Third St. (Bayview District), 415-824-0386, The only theater in San Francisco to survive the 1906 earthquake, the Bayview Opera House was inducted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 23, 2011. Today, it is home to multi-cultural artistic events, celebrating the diversity of Bayview Hunters Point.

Favor, featuring Hotcakes Design – 2420 Polk St. (Russian Hill), 415-563-2741, Upstairs, original jewelry is designed, carved and assembled in cast resin, silver and acrylic. Downstairs, shoppers delight to colorful and unique vintage-inspired and modern accessories.

Grub Crawl – Citywide, 415-515-6256, Perfect for San Francisco, Grub Crawl combines a walking tour with a progressive dinner among three restaurants per evening. The three-hour tour appeals to everyone from single visitors to groups.

Real Food Company – 2140 Polk St. (Russian Hill), 415-292-3345, Since 1969, Real Food Company has been a natural grocery store that is ahead of the curve in providing healthy, organic, seasonal, sustainable, locally grown food. This may be the only grocery store in the world that offers guided tours by a certified nutritionist.

STUDIO Gallery – 1815 Polk St. (Russian Hill), 415-931-3130, For eight years, this gallery has featured local artists and accessible, representational works, often of local scenes. Special shows are inspired by topics such as food and drink, California landscapes and urban scenes.

Swankety Swank – 289 Divisidero St. (Lower Haight/NOPA), 415-932-6615, “Honoring Beauty, Earth & Age,” the boutique offers art furniture, green home décor and upcycled fashion for women, men and children – all locally produced.

Tacolicious – Recently opened at 741 Valencia St. (Mission District), Conceived at the Ferry Building Farmers Market and born in the Marina district, Tacolicious brings the Mission an irreverent menu, authentic Mexican cuisine and robust cocktails like “Tickle Me Telmo.”

Under One Roof – 518A Castro (Castro District), 415-503-2300, Volunteer-staffed, the store raises funds for 23 different AIDS service organizations in the Bay Area through sales of its unique gift merchandise. The store features cards, San Francisco and Pride items, humorous gifts and holiday merchandise, much of it from local artisans or donated by generous manufacturers.

Urban Bazaar – 1371 Ninth Ave. (Inner Sunset), 415-664-4422, Each of the items at the boutique has a story, told on tags attached. Locally handmade and Fair Trade items change by the season and include jewelry, baby goods and San Francisco-themed gifts.

The San Francisco Travel Association is a private, not-for-profit organization that markets the city as a leisure, convention and business travel destination. With more than 1,500 partners, San Francisco Travel is one of the largest partnership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country. Tourism, San Francisco’s largest industry, generates in excess of $7.8 billion annually for the local economy. San Francisco Travel’s business offices are located at 201 Third St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. San Francisco Travel also operates the Visitor Information Center at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets. For more information, call 415-974-6900 or

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San Francisco Awarded Major Grant to Train and Reskill City Residents to Fill Growing Number of High-Tech Jobs

This week Mayor Edwin M. Lee launched TechSF to train and reskill San Francisco residents for the City’s growing number of technology and IT jobs, announcing a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Technical Skills Training Grants program to jumpstart funding for the City’s major new workforce training initiative. Mayor Lee was joined at the announcement at Year Up Bay Area by members of the Board of Supervisors, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Office and partners from technology companies and workforce training organizations.

“Ensuring San Francisco residents have the skills and training they need to work in our City’s growing number of high tech jobs is a cornerstone of our economic strategies and critical to making sure our economic recovery reaches every neighborhood of our City,” said Mayor Lee. “This major grant from the Department of Labor for our TechSF initiative will bring City residents, technology companies and our workforce training partners together to train and reskill our residents to ‘win the future’ for San Francisco, in the words of President Obama. I want to thank the President, Secretary Solis and Leader Pelosi for strengthening public-private partnerships and investing in workforce training for our residents so that they can get the good jobs so many of our tech companies are creating right here in San Francisco today.”

“Securing this grant and investing in TechSF will train San Franciscans for the jobs of tomorrow; spur our fast-growing IT industry; strengthen and create new career and educational pathways for San Francisco’s workforce; and meet the needs of entrepreneurs and businesses large and small,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “With this grant, we can put more people to work in high-growth, high-tech occupations, and we can ensure unemployed San Franciscans have the skills and background necessary to secure and keep good-paying jobs.”

“The federal grant awards announced today will provide U.S. workers with the training they need to succeed in the high tech, high-growth jobs of the future,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “Developing a strong and vibrant workforce that fits the needs of American businesses is critical to forming an America built to last.”

In San Francisco, the TechSF grant will serve local jobseekers that are currently underrepresented in the IT sector, especially the long-term unemployed. In addition to providing education, training and job placement assistance, the grant will enhance sector partnerships, create new pathways to high-wage and high-growth careers, and integrate San Francisco’s education, training and industry efforts in the local Information Technology sector.

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) partnered with WestEd, IBM, AT&T, City College of San Francisco and a consortium of San Francisco-based employers and community-based organizations to apply for this grant to create the TechSF Initiative to raise the technical skill of San Francisco workers.

The TechSF initiative is based on a highly successful program model, which includes building career pathways and training for in-demand skills in the rapidly changing technology industry. The partnership targets two groups of workers. One target group is local workers seeking jobs in the technology sector, at least 75 percent of whom will have been unemployed for longer than six months. The project intends to train and place more than 300 workers in this category into positions paying $25 – $50 per hour. The project’s employer consortium will help recruit participants, provide internship and work experience opportunities, and interview and hire participants who successfully complete the program.

The other target group is more than 1,400 employees in the San Francisco offices of IBM and AT&T who need training to remain competitive in their current jobs and advance into more highly skilled positions. Employees trained through this program currently earn an average hourly wage of $28 -$60 per hour. The TechSF initiative will result in 97 percent of all participants earning an industry recognized credential or degree, and 93 percent working in IT jobs after they complete training.

WestEd will serve as the project manager partner for this grant. WestEd is a national non-partisan, not-for-profit agency headquartered in San Francisco. Since 1966, WestEd has developed research, products, and policy for improving learning and human development.

“This workforce development project addresses the real needs of many San Franciscans,” said WestEd CEO Glen Harvey. “We’re proud and excited to collaborate with such innovative partners to increase career education opportunity in our community.”

Other companies participating in the grant program and initial TechSF initiative include AT&T, IBM Corporation, Riverbed Technology, Sega, CBS Interactive, UCSF Medical Center, Artisan Creative, CAL Insurance, The Exploratorium, Responsys, MicroMenders, Mozilla, Send Me, and Atlassian.

“The tech community in San Francisco is proud to play a leading role in making sure City residents get the skills and training they need to move into the City’s growing number of tech jobs, and this grant is a real boost to our collective efforts,” said Chair of the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation ( and Special Partner of SV Angel Ron Conway. “ is looking forward to a continued partnership with Mayor Lee and the City’s TechSF initiative to create good jobs and focused IT training programs to employ City residents.”

Creating apprenticeships and job training initiatives – whether for young people coming out of high school and college or for those in need of reskilling in the middle of their careers – are critical parts of Mayor Lee’s 17-Point Economic Plan for Good Jobs & Opportunity for San Francisco.

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Obama’s Proposed Federal Budget Recommends $150 Million for Central Subway Project

RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY – Signs Long Term Lease for World Headquarters at 680 Folsom Street

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On Scene with Bill Wilson HRC Goes AFER Chad Griffin

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that Chad Griffin, Founding Board Member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), will become the next president of HRC.

imagea Chad Griffin (Left)listens to Ted Olsen and David Boies respond to questions after a session of the federal trial. (Photo by Bill Wilson)

AFER is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.

HRC is the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

“I cannot think of anyone better to take the helm of the Human Rights Campaign than my dear friend and colleague Chad Griffin,” said AFER lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson. “There is no one more passionate, more resourceful or more effective than Chad. His brilliant and visionary leadership makes me confident that one day, very soon, every American will be treated equally under the law. HRC is extraordinarily lucky to have him.”

imageb David Boies and Ted Olson (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“Time after time over the past several years, Chad has proven that he is easily one of the most skilled strategists and tacticians in American politics today,” said AFER lead co-counsel David Boies. “That is a rare combination of skill sets for one person to have. His diplomacy, his intellect and his passion for issues of equality are second to none. I cannot think of a better person to lead HRC into the future.”

imagecRob Reiner  (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“The federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Brown, would never have happened without the vision and tenacity of my dear friend Chad Griffin,” said AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner. “His incomparable leadership has brought us one step closer toward completing America’s last great civil rights struggle. My congratulations go out to Chad on this great honor and to the Human Rights Campaign for picking a brilliant leader as its next president.”

imaged AFER team on way to trial in District court Adam Umhoefer (left) and Chad Griffin (right) (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“Chad is a visionary leader who not only dreams the impossible, but also accomplishes it,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. “His bold determination to challenge Proposition 8 in federal court combined with his ability to transcend partisan and ideological boundaries have forever changed the way the nation thinks about equality for LGBT Americans. There is no better person than Chad Griffin to lead the Human Rights Campaign and their millions of supporters.”

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MACYS.COM – Retail Giant Signs 15-Year Lease Expanding SF Footprint to 242,753 Square Feet

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that Macy’s, the nation’s largest department store chain, has entered into a 242,753 square-foot lease at 680 Folsom Street in South of Market (SoMa) to house the e-commerce operations of

“I am thrilled that we have reached this milestone of more than one million square feet of office space leased by technology firms in just the first two months of 2012. We are moving forward and relentlessly focusing on job creation here in our City and reaffirming that San Francisco is the ‘Innovation Capital of the World,’” said Mayor Lee. “With Macy’s long history in San Francisco, it is fitting that that their entire technology division is located right here in the heart of SoMa, taking advantage of the incredible talent in our City. I want to thank Kent Anderson, President of, for his leadership and commitment to San Francisco and acknowledge the hard work of the team, TMG, and Rockwood in getting this deal done.” will expand by more 100,000 square feet and will occupy the top seven floors at 680 Folsom Street with a 15-year lease term. They will move to 680 Folsom in January 2014 when the building remodel is scheduled to be completed.

“Our new offices at 680 Folsom Street will provide an outstanding environment for the continued growth of as one of fashion retailing’s largest, most dynamic and customer-centric e-commerce operations,” said President Kent Anderson. “Our company’s omnichannel approach to the customer sets us apart from other retailers, and we are assembling a talented team to continue to develop the business. 680 Folsom will accommodate our needs as we move to the next level of growth.”

“Macy’s is a fantastic tenant not only for this space, but to complement the increasing broad based growth in San Francisco’s SoMa area,” said TMG Partners Chairman and CEO Michael Covarrubias. “It’s very exciting to be a part of this renewed vitality here in the City and we believe it not only indicates the strengthening of our local economy, but indicative of the positive trending in both the residential and commercial space within this area of the City.”

Macy’s lease comes on the heels of a 167,788-square-foot lease in the same 680 Folsom Street building, announced last month by Riverbed Technology. With 410,541 square feet leased, 680 Folsom Street is 80 percent leased. This shows that, as seen in 2011’s year end numbers, the technology industry continues to be a driver of office leasing in San Francisco.

More than one million square feet of office space have been leased by technology firms in just the first two months of 2012:

• – 400,000 Sq Ft at 50 Fremont Street

• LinkedIn – 57,000 Sq Ft at One Montgomery Street

• Riverbed Technology – 167,788 Sq Ft at 680 Folsom Street

• Funzio – 20,000 Sq Ft at 55 2nd Street

• Kabam – 64,000 Sq Ft at 795 Folsom Street

• 6Waves – 26,405 Sq Ft at 550 Kearny Street

• StumbleUpon – 63,000 Sq Ft at 310 Brannan Street

• – 242,753 Sq Ft at 680 Folsom Street

About Macy’s

Macy’s, Inc., with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation’s premier retailers, with fiscal 2011 sales of $26.4 billion. The company operates about 840 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, as well as the TMG Partners and websites. The company also operates seven Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores.

About TMG Partners

TMG Partners, founded in 1984 and headquartered in San Francisco, is a full-service real estate development and management company. TMG has developed more than 18 million square feet of property throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Emeryville, Marin City, Novato, Palo Alto, San Bruno, San Jose and San Francisco. One of the most active developers in this area in the last decade, the company has developed a variety of office, retail, residential and industrial properties, ranging from office campus and multi-story properties in urban, infill locations to mixed-use retail and single-story suburban buildings.


RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY – Signs Long Term Lease for World Headquarters at 680 Folsom Street

Mayor Lee announces the return of “Sunday Streets”, beginning March 11th

Obama’s Proposed Federal Budget Recommends $150 Million for Central Subway Project

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Mayor Lee announces the return of “Sunday Streets”, beginning March 11th

Mayor Edwin M. Lee has announced the return of the popular Sunday Streets program with a full schedule of car-free events starting Sunday, March 11th, along the Embarcadero. The eight-month Sunday Streets 2012 season opens streets to pedestrians, cyclists and people-powered wheels of all kinds by temporarily removing vehicular traffic on select Sundays, transforming street-space usually reserved for cars into recreational space for everyone to enjoy safely.

“Sunday Streets not only showcases San Francisco’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, it is a proven cost-effective way to better health for San Franciscans,” said Mayor Lee. “We’re committed to ensuring the program’s continued growth and success in 2012 and beyond. We look forward to returning to Chinatown, doing a more frequent Mission route, and adding a new route in the Southwest neighborhoods of our City to bring the benefits of Sunday Streets to more San Francisco neighborhoods.”

Founded in 2008, Sunday Streets has grown from two events to 10 and creates miles of car-free space on City roads. San Francisco was the third city in the United States to premier this free, community-oriented initiative. Since then it has become the nation’s largest, and one of the City’s most exciting initiatives promoting benefits such as biking, walking, recreation, and community-building. The program was one of only eight programs in the country to be selected for possible inclusion in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign.

Highlights this year include:

Continuing and possibly expanding the new Chinatown event;

Increasing the popular Mission District event to four consecutive events held on the first Sunday of May, June, July and August; and

Introducing a new route in Southwestern neighborhoods.

Sunday Streets is presented by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Livable City, Sunday Streets’ non-profit fiscal partner. The 2012 season is co-presented by Bank of America. The Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Police Department, Department of Public Works and the Recreation and Parks Department. “We are proud to host our most ambitious Sunday Streets program to date,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “The Sunday Streets program has a tremendous impact on San Franciscans and visitors alike, who have started to envision the streets in a whole new way; not just as a means to get from place to place, but as an opportunity to create a healthier, more connected City for all.”

“Sunday Streets brings tens of thousands of people outside to explore more than 20 distinct neighborhoods of San Francisco. As a global company founded in San Francisco, Bank of America is proud to support this wonderful event,” said Bank of America San Francisco and East Bay Market President Martin Richards. “Sunday Streets and Bank of America share a commitment to building economically strong, connected, healthy communities in San Francisco and to celebrate the many diverse communities that benefit from the program.”

Financial partners include: AT&T, Shape Up SF, Kaiser Permanente, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California Pacific Medical Center, PG&E, Lennar, Park Merced, The Seed Fund, The California Endowment and UCSF. Neighborhood sponsors include Sports Basement, Mikes Bikes, REI, CH2MHILL, Clif Kid, The New Wheel, Darling International, Bi-Rite Markets, and The Exploratorium. Major in-kind support is provided by The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, which provides Emergency Medical support, City CarShare and Parkwide LLC. The San Francisco Examiner and Clear Channel Radio are media sponsors. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition runs Sunday Streets’ volunteer program.

Business community support includes Fisherman’s Wharf, Tenderloin and Fillmore Community Benefits Districts, Lower 24th Street (Mission), Bayview, Taraval and Outer Sunset and Valencia Corridor Merchant Associations, San Francisco and Chinese Chambers of Commerce, and dozens of community groups representing host neighborhoods along Sunday Streets routes.

Sunday Streets 2012 Season Schedule (subject to change):

March 11: Embarcadero- Season kick off

April 15: Great Highway/Golden Gate park- new route through the park

May 6: Mission

June 3: Mission

July 1: Mission

July 22: Bayview

August 5: Mission

August TBA: Chinatown

September 9: Western Addition/N. Panhandle Alamo Square

October 21: Outer Mission/Excelsior

Click here to become a Volunteer for Sunday Streets 2012: Volunteer

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Obama’s Proposed Federal Budget Recommends $150 Million for Central Subway Project

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced on Tuesday that the federal government has once again demonstrated strong support for planned improvements to public transportation in San Francisco. President Barack Obama’s federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013 includes a recommendation for $150 million in funding for the Central Subway Project and $10 million to implement bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue.

“These crucial investments in our City’s transportation infrastructure continue to receive strong support from the highest levels of the federal government,” said Mayor Lee. “We thank President Obama, Democratic Leader Pelosi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer and all our federal partners for their consistent leadership and their commitment to improving public transit, creating jobs and investing in San Francisco.”

“President Obama’s budget reinforces the federal government’s commitment to creating jobs and reducing congestion in San Francisco with the Central Subway,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “I will continue my work, along with Mayor Lee and local business and community leaders, to ensure the Central Subway becomes a reality for San Franciscans.”

ctRendering of Union Square/Market Street station – north entrance

The New Starts program of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recommended funding for the Central Subway. The FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations, which was released today, demonstrates the federal government’s support for the Central Subway Project. For the fifth consecutive year, the planned 1.7-mile extension of the T Third Line received a rating of medium-high – the highest rating given this year to projects currently undergoing the New Starts review process.

According to the FTA report, the Central Subway Project is one of only six projects nationwide that are on track to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement, the formal agreement of federal financial assistance through New Starts, by the end of FY2013. The submitted an application for full funding in September 2011 and is expecting a decision this Spring.

New Starts has awarded $92.4 million to the Central Subway Project to date. The project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion in total, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Project. So far, the Third Street Light Rail Project has received $256.8 million in federal funding, including $123.4 million for Phase One of the project. Phase One constructed the 5.2-mile segment of the T-Third Line currently in service between the Sunnydale Station in Bayshore and SoMa’s 4th Street Caltrain Station. The SFMTA will receive 50 percent of the funding for the Third Street Light Rail Project from federal sources.

The FTA report also gave a medium-high rating to the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project, recommending $10 million in funding in FY2013 through the Small Starts program. The Small Starts program invests up to $75 million in transit projects with total projects costs of less than $250 million.

The total cost of the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project is projected to be $125.6 million, including about $75 million in planned federal support. The project would improve bus travel along this crowded corridor by creating a dedicated bus lane along a two-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue, from Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street in the north to South Van Ness Avenue and Mission Street in the south. The project will also enhance pedestrian safety, upgrade bus shelters and optimize traffic signal operations, among other improvements.

“These projects will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and improve access to jobs, education and cultural amenities for the communities they serve,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the federal government, and we look forward to more good news from Washington.”

ct1Rendering of Mezzanine, Chinatown Station

About the Central Subway Project

The Central Subway Project will extend the T-Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, providing a direct, rapid transit link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa and downtown. Four new stations will be built along the alignment—an above-ground station at 4th and Brannan Streets and three underground stations at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. The first segment of the T-Third Line began revenue service in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years. Service on the Central Subway is expected to begin in 2019.

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RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY – Signs Long Term Lease for World Headquarters at 680 Folsom Street


Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that Riverbed Technology, the leader in IT performance solutions, has entered into a 167,788 square-foot lease at 680 Folsom Street to house their world headquarters. Riverbed is expected to move into the building in 2014.

Riverbed, currently at 199 Fremont Street, will expand by 65,430 square feet into five floors at 680 Folsom Street with a 10-year lease term. This expansion will allow for Riverbed’s continued successes as they grow their offices here in San Francisco. Currently with 503 employees in San Francisco, representing almost a third of their worldwide workforce, Riverbed continues to see growth. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) estimates that this expansion will allow for Riverbed’s local workforce to grow to 1,157 employees, more than doubling their local presence.

“Riverbed’s long term commitment to keep their worldwide headquarters in San Francisco through 2024 demonstrates once again that we are the location of choice for high tech companies,” said Mayor Lee. “With dynamic leaders like Riverbed’s Jerry Kennelly, we are making San Francisco the ‘Innovation Capitol of the World.’ I want to congratulate Riverbed, TMG and JLL on the completion of this successful real estate transaction that will create jobs and drive innovation in our City.”


“This is yet another example of how we are working with CEOs like Jerry Kennelly,” said Mayor Lee. “It was last fall that we sat down and we knew they were looking, they knew they were growing. Was it going to be here in San Francisco? Or some other place that we would lose them to? Our staff went to work right away. We found a great partner with TMG and Michael Covarrubias. We just came together very well and focused on what we could do to make sure they stayed here. They know there is talent here – that is unquestioned. The question is, are there other things that stabilize their ideas and their interests in working here long-term and staying here and growing here. We want IT companies to start here. We want them to stay and we want them to grow. As a result, we are evolving our policies on a weekly basis to continue attracting companies like Riverbed and making sure they feel comfortable. The end result is a lot more people get employed.”

JERRY KENNELLY, Riverbed Co-Founder and CEO

“Riverbed is proud to have had its headquarters in San Francisco for the past 10 years. We’re making this investment to support our long-term growth and cement our commitment to the City of San Francisco,” said Riverbed Co-Founder and CEO Jerry Kennelly. “Like many prosperous technology companies headquartered in San Francisco, we think the City is the right location to attract the best talent and provide a thriving environment for our current employees. It is about time San Francisco becomes the capital of Silicon Valley and we want to be a part of that.”

“Riverbed is the ideal tenant not only for this space, but to complement the increasing tech growth in San Francisco’s SoMa area,” said TMG Partners Chairman and CEO Michael Covarrubias, the developer for 680 Folsom Street. “It’s very exciting to be a part of this renewed vitality here in the City and we believe it not only indicates the strengthening of our local economy, but indicative of the positive trending in both the residential and commercial space within this area of the City.”

Riverbed was represented in the transaction by the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. “The Riverbed real estate team was excellent throughout this entire process and took a very strategic approach to their future real estate requirements. By being proactive, they executed a headquarters strategy and netted a superb block of quality space which will be the finest development in San Francisco in the last decade,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s HQ practice leader and International Director David Churton.

With construction now underway at 680 Folsom Street, the building will be fully renovated in time for Riverbed’s occupation. The new headquarters will feature a clear glass wall skin replacing the current concrete façade, a new public plaza and is pursuing LEED Gold certification.

About Riverbed
Riverbed delivers performance for the globally connected enterprise. With Riverbed, enterprises can successfully and intelligently implement strategic initiatives such as virtualization, consolidation, cloud computing, and disaster recovery without fear of compromising performance. By giving enterprises the platform they need to understand, optimize and consolidate their IT, Riverbed helps enterprises to build a fast, fluid and dynamic IT architecture that aligns with the business needs of the organization. For more information about Riverbed, go to:

About TMG Partners
TMG Partners, founded in 1984 and headquartered in San Francisco, is a full-service real estate development and management company. TMG has developed more than 18 million square feet of property throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Emeryville, Marin City, Novato, Palo Alto, San Bruno, San Jose and San Francisco. One of the most active developers in this area in the last decade, the company has developed a variety of office, retail, residential and industrial properties, ranging from office campus and multi-story properties in urban, infill locations to mixed-use retail and single-story suburban buildings. For more information, go to:


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