SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — In anticipation of Twitter’s initial public offering this week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took a stroll down Market Street on Monday to check out and assess the rapidly changing Mid-Market area.

The mayor’s first stop was at Twitter’s headquarters at 10th and Market. The social networking giant is largely held responsible for helping spark the area’s boom in commercial and residential construction.

“We’re in front of the so-called Twitter building. I still know it from my public works days as the Furniture Mart,” said Lee of the historic building.

Twitter set up shop after receiving a business tax break from the city and is now poised for this Thursday’s IPO.

The mayor and the city’s Board of Supervisors in 2011 approved the payroll tax exemption for new hires at companies operating in certain parts of the Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Twitter, Zendesk and other tech companies then moved in.

Lee said he learned firsthand about the area’s problems during the 2011 mayoral election from his campaign headquarters at Market and Sixth streets.

“I saw everything, heard everything, smelled everything,” he said, noting that “we have a lot more to do in Mid-Market.”

Leen then talked about what he called a return on the investment.

“I think we’re enjoying really strong investor confidence in the city these days and it’s reflected in Mid-Market,” he said.

Jeffrey Doruff has been working construction at the Twitter building for two years.

“This area is definitely being developed into a place where people can come visit and [is] just a good place to be,” he said.

Jeannie Kim who owns Sam’s Diner on the next block is reaping some tech-boom benefits.

“When they come in their shorts or jeans and then [I] find out that they work at Twitter; it’s just been really nice to see some new faces,” she said.

Five thousand new housing units are also being built along and around Mid-Market with 26 percent of the housing considered affordable. Critics have said this most recent tech boom is raising rents in the city, making it unaffordable for many.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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