Civic Center CBD | Case Study

SF Civic Center CBD  |  Case Study

San Francisco | California

The Civic Center area of downtown San Francisco is where politicians, civil servants, performing arts patrons, book lovers and the homeless all congregate. There are two large plazas — Civic Center Plaza and United Nations Plaza — and a number of prominent buildings in the district. In 1987, San Francisco Civic Center was designated a National Historic Landmark. Its centerpiece is City Hall encompassing two blocks. Surrounding it are the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco War Memorial Veterans’ Building and Performing Arts Center, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Public Library, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall and Supreme Court of California. The majority of these buildings comprise the largest collection of beaux-arts style architecture outside of Washington DC.

The area is also home to range of low income and market rate homes, condominiums and rental apartments. Start-ups, arts organizations and businesses like Twitter are establishing themselves nearby amid empty retail storefronts where it is common to see the less fortunate panhandling. Its central location, open spaces and collection of government buildings have made it focal point for massive activist rallies and community-wide celebrations.

  • Addressing the needs of diverse populations to improve the overall quality of life for residents, workers, businesses and visitors by establishing a special assessment district: The Civic Center Community Benefit District.
  • Generating support for a community benefit district in area dominated by property owned by city, state and federal governments in contrast to private property owners.
  • Navigating the complex relationship between the community benefit district and government entities that contribute roughly 33 percent of the funds to the benefit district.
  • Implementing community benefit operations in a condensed timeframe.
Services Delivered
Private commercial and nonprofit property owners contracted with MJMMG to generate support for the Community Benefit District in 2010. Formation of Special Assessment District
  • Providing counsel on forming the CBD, including community outreach, and the development of the CBD’s overall structure, funding mechanisms and written legislation.
  • Conducting surveys among district residents to determine issues of concern.
  • Conducting comprehensive public outreach involving community meetings, one-in-one discussions and materials development to educate audiences about the CBD’s merits.
  • Managing the development and distribution of ballots sent to property owners voting on CBD formation.
Implementation of District Services
  • Creation of the CBD pro forma, management plan, bylaws, operations structure, jobs descriptions and service descriptions.
  • Implemented services including a Community Service Ambassador Program, Cleaning and Maintenance, Beautification Program and District Advocacy to promote it as a beautiful, clean, safe and vibrant district.
  • Conducted customized training for ambassadors in recognition of the unique government, arts and historic architecture of the location.
  • Daily oversight of all CBD services.

“MJMMG’s a great community partner that helps us keep our district clean and safe.”

Cathy Maupin| Yerba Buena Community Benefit District


  • The Civic Center Community Benefit District was approved by property owners and the City in January, 2011 and formed officially in July, 2011.
  • MJMMG was contracted to provide services for the district. These services include: Community Service Ambassador Program, cleaning and maintenance, beautification program and district advocacy.
  • MJMMG expedited implementation initial services for the CBD amid tight deadlines following district formation to launch services in early 2012.
  • The Civic Center Community Benefit District is viewed as a model for CBDs that include significant government participation.

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