How it works

Preserving San Francisco’s Legacy Businesses is a two-part program:


Recognizes small business and nonprofits as historic assets – not just the buildings that house them. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in March 2015, the Registry is open to 300 business and nonprofits a year, and is scheduled to begin accepting applications in late September 2015.


What is a Legacy Business?

Eligible businesses must:
  • be 30 years or older;
  • have contributed to their neighborhood’s history;
  • agree to maintain their identity, name and craft.

I'm a Legacy Business? How Do I get on the Registry?

To apply:
  • submit an application for consideration
  • be nominated by the Mayor or Board of Supervisors
  • be approved by the Small Business Commission

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Will create a grant program available to any business on the registry, as well as property owners who extend long-term leases to legacy businesses.

  • Legacy businesses will be eligible for a yearly grant based on number of employees (500 per employee, with a cap of 100 employees).
  • Property owners who extend ten year or longer leases to Legacy Businesses will be eligible for a yearly grant ($4.50 per square foot per, with a cap of 5,000 square feet)


Will chain stores be allowed on the Legacy Business Registry?

Legacy businesses or nonprofits must be nominated by the Board of Supervisors or Mayor, be 30 years or older and prove that they have made a significant historic contribution to a neighborhood. While a few home grown chains like Levi’s Strauss or Ghirardelli Chocolates may meet this criteria, most chain stores will not.

What happens if the property housing the Legacy Business is sold?

The lease follows the property so sale of the building housing a Legacy Business should not affect the assistance unless the new landlord violates the terms of the lease.

What happens if a Legacy Business is sold?

The Legacy Business Assistance Account was created to encourage buyers of Legacy Businesses to preserve The City’s historic assets. Legacy Businesses that are sold to new owners will stay on the Legacy Registry after filing with the Office of Small Business that they have maintained their name, identity and craft.

What if the market goes down and rent becomes cheaper?

The Legacy Business Rent Stabilization Account will be filled annually by an amount voted on by the Board of Supervisors. Stabilization grants will be pro-rated according to the size of the Board’s appropriation. During times of less displacement the Board may choose to lower the appropriation and hence the amount of the rent stabilization grants.

What if a larger company that has hundreds of employees or thousands of square feet applies?

The Legacy Business Assistance fund will be capped at 100 employees and the Legacy Assistance Rent Stabilization Fund will be capped at 5,000 square feet per business.