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Tech Wealth Is Causing a Prosperity Problem in SF

Shoppers flock to the luxury offerings in Union Square, but are the well-to-do a problem for the city? Image via <a href="http://www.unionsquareshop.com">Union Square Shop</a>
Shoppers flock to the luxury offerings in Union Square, but are the well-to-do a problem for the city? Image via Union Square Shop

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We have McQueen and Mulberry, a glittery new Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent, a multi-level Louis Vuitton, Goyard, and a revamped Prada. Head over to Union Square, and you'll find many of the world's premier luxury labels. It's a symbol of the Bay Area's growing prosperity. But while disposable income is great for the city's shopping scene, San Francisco needs to keep a middle class in the city.

Since crazy rent is driving people away, one proposal is to drive the middle class back in. Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia suggested that the Chamber of Commerce follow the tech bus lead, and organize a similarly free bus service to bring restaurant and retail workers into San Francisco from their homes in the surrounding areas, the Chronicle reports. Other solutions include more "innovation districts" and "mixed-use developments" to cater to workers.

The solution, whatever it may be, affects the city's retail scene. As Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Linscheid notes, "Affordability is our No. 1 topic," not just for the workers, but the business owners who want to continue doing business in SF. After all, the retail scene can't continue booming unless there are workers to run the stores.
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