Committee on Government Affairs August 1, 2011
At the Berkeley Chamber Committee on Government Affairs of Monday, August 1, Downtown Berkeley Association Executive Director John Caner and Director of the Office of Economic Development, City of Berkeley, will discuss the process by which the new Downtown Berkeley Property Based Improvement District (PBID) will be implemented over the next six to twelve months.
On June 28, 2011, 71% of the property owners in the Downtown Berkeley Association territory voted to convert the BID into a PBID. The months of July through December will be used to prepare the Downtown for a full-scale implementation of the PBID on January 1, 2012.
I have included the Press Release below in which John Caner, on June 29, announced the successful bid of the DBA to get the landlords of the district to approve conversion from the current BID to the new PBID. John's press release gives an excellent picture of what will be accomplished over the remaining months of 2011 which will permit a fully implemented PBID in January, 2012.
(510) 549-2230 ext. 12 or (510) 501-0256 mobile
DOWNTOWN BERKELEY BUSINESS DISTRICT PASSES BY WIDE MARGIN
New “PBID” services to focus on clean, welcoming, and prosperous Downtown
BERKELEY, Calif.,—June 29, 2011— After the counting of ballots showing an overwhelming 71% support from Downtown Berkeley property owners, the Berkeley City Council authorized last night the formation of a new Downtown Berkeley Property-Based Business Improvement District. The PBID will fund new environmental enhancement and economic development programs focused on creating and sustaining a welcoming, vibrant, and prosperous city center, where residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds come to shop, learn, work, live, play, eat and have fun. The PBID will commence operations in January 2012 with an annual budget of almost $1.2 million, and will be managed by the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA). In addition to increasing funding fourfold for the DBA to develop and manage these new programs, the PBID expands the Downtown district two blocks to the south from Channing to Dwight Way.
The bulk of the new PBID resources, approximately $850,000, will be allocated to clean, safe, and beautification services and improvements that will create a consistently pleasant pedestrian experience in Downtown Berkeley. The PBID will fund a maintenance team, providing enhanced services in addition to services currently provided by the City, focused on everything from sidewalk sweeping, pressure washing, weeding, graffiti abatement, to gum removal. In addition, the PBID will fund an expanded Host Ambassador team to patrol Downtown, providing visitor assistance, neighborhood watch, merchant support, and homeless services outreach. Also a modest portion of the budget is allocated to beautification projects such as landscaping and holiday decor, with possible expansion to such projects as improved signage, streetscape, artwork, and other amenities.
An additional $200,000 of the PBID budget is allocated marketing and promotion services to help bring more visitors and residents to Downtown Berkeley and effectively compete with other regional business districts; and abusiness attraction and retention program for businesses interested in starting, expanding or relocating within Downtown Berkeley. The balance of the budget is allocated to administrative costs of running the PBID.
According to Susie Medak, DBA Board Chair, “The formation of the PBID is the culmination of a two and half year planning process that was predicated on the idea that our Downtown can be a thriving neighborhood and commercial district.” In September 2009, the DBA adopted a three year strategic plan focused on creating a clean, welcoming, and vibrant Downtown that would revitalize the heart of the City. Medak adds, “Downtown Berkeley has such great fundamentals, with a world class university, stellar arts district, and great transit, dining, recreation and shopping. The PBID will create a consistent quality of life experience and economic development initiatives that will attract new investment and visitors to Downtown Berkeley.”
The PBID also leverages public-private partnerships with the City of Berkeley, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley City College, Berkeley Unified School District, and a number of nonprofits, and large and small commercial property owners, that all contribute to the new PBID. According to Mayor Tom Bates, “I am delighted that the PBID passed by such a wide margin. The PBID coupled with the new Downtown Area Plan which garnered 64% support of the voters last November, should result in an amazing revitalization of a vibrant, prosperous, and sustainable Downtown Berkeley. The City looks forward to working with a reinvigorated DBA bringing new public and private investment to Downtown, starting with the renovation of BART Plaza next year.” The City of Berkeley has also provided a commitment of base level services, that insure the PBID will be augmenting, and not replacing, City services.
The PBID will able to also leverage best practices of hundreds of PBID’s around the state and country. John Caner, Executive Director of the Downtown Berkeley Association, points out “We are able to build upon the successes of almost 100 PBID’s in California and 1,000 in the U.S. and Canada. Time and again you see in these other districts, that if you focus on creating a clean and welcoming environment—with a modicum of business support--new businesses, housing, and cultural activity will flourish.” Moreover, Caner adds, “We do not have to sacrifice our unique Berkeley values. We can grow and be successful, and maintain our diverse and compassionate culture.”
Now that the PBID has passed, Caner says there is a lot of work to do. “We immediately move on to the implementation phase of the PBID. We want to hit the ground running with our operations ready to go in January 2012.” Included in the work plan is the adoption of new bylaws and a board of directors, the relocation to a new office and operations center, the hiring new staff and vendors, the development of a new marketing plan, and the establishment of clear metrics for success. “The Downtown Berkeley property owners, and their merchant and business tenants, have entrusted us with precious resources during challenging economic times. We owe it to them to make this work. Downtown Berkeley can and will become an amazing destination for residents, workers, and visitors alike.”
About the Downtown Berkeley Association
The Downtown Berkeley Association was established in 1989 as a “Main Street” organization, funded by the City of Berkeley and member donations and focused primarily on economic development and historic preservation. In 1996 the City established the Downtown Berkeley Business Improvement District (BID) to provide consistent revenue to support the DBA’s marketing and advocacy work. Today, the DBA is a 501c6 non-profit membership organization that represents over 800 businesses, non-profits, financial institutions, and property owners, and collects an assessment based on business license fees, with annual collections averaging approximately $300,000 per year. To learn more about the DBA, the PBID, and view the entire Downtown Berkeley PBID management, please visit our website at www.downtownberkeley.org or stop by our offices at 2230 Shattuck Avenue, Suite C, in Downtown Berkeley, or call us at (510) 549-2230
Downtown Berkeley Association
2230 Shattuck Avenue, Suite C
Berkeley, CA 94704
The Committee on Government Affairs of the Berkeley Chamber will meet on Monday, August 1, 2011 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., in the Chamber Conference Room, 1834 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703.