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Expanded Fashion District BID Passes Final Hurdle

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, April 01, 2009, at 05:24PM
French Connection Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Models from a show by French Connection walk the runway during the recent market week at California Market Center.

The expanded Fashion District Business Improvement District (BID) passed its final legislative hurdle today, with unanimous approval from City Council. Approximately one-quarter of the district had been without services since January 1, a by-product of what had been a lengthy and difficult renewal process.

Faced with failing to get renewed, the BID late last year decided on a split approach that allowed the majority of the district to avoid expiration, with the rest slated to be worked back in once approvals could be completed. The new area brings the Fashion District BID to 95 blocks, with a $3.2 million yearly assessment.

In a press release put out today, Executive Director Kent Smith expressed his excitement at the completion of renewal and a return to normal operations. "We are thrilled to be able to hire 14 employees that had to be let go when the district downsized.”

Creating or renewing a BID is a multi-step process, but the first step is by far the hardest. Organizers must first get petition signatures from owners representing over half of the assessed property value in the district. This requires not only getting owners or their representatives to sign off, but first finding out who ownership even is and making contact with them. Once that step is complete, a ballot is sent out and over half of the responses returned must be in favor. Finally, City Council must pass an ordinance certifying the ballots and creating the BID.

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