From the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

San Francisco may be pretty, but it can definitely drain your pocketbook. Still, in a city where apartment rents average over $2,000 per month, some lucky people have found below-market office rates in one of its hottest high-tech districts. A warehouse in the South of Market (SoMa) area will soon become the site of a novel project that may offer businesses lower rents in exchange for job training for its low-income residents. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. and Citizens Housing Corp. have planned a five-story building that combines 18,000 square feet of commercial space, 4,000 feet of child-care space and 162 affordable housing units.

"We've specifically thought high-tech companies or Internet companies might be ideal candidates because there's such a need for the space from their point of view," explains Chris Mohr, community relations manager at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development.

If you want to get in on this deal, you'll have to move quickly. Although the space won't be available until 2002, several firms have already lined up. To have a better shot at one of the open slots, says Citizens Housing project manager Scott Falcone, a company should have job-training experience and a corporate culture that meshes with the program. Even if you miss this opportunity, there'll be more to come. As Tenderloin and Citizens Housing plan another project for mid-2002, Local Initiatives Support Corp. program officer Rick Jacobus is noting more developments of this type.

"It's sort of cutting-edge," Jacobus says. "They're going to build this housing, and they want to have offices on the ground floor because that's what's best for their neighborhood. They're leading a trend that's happening across the country."


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