high rise buildings downtown
Credit: San Francisco Planning

Office Development Annual Limitation Program

The Annual Limit Program governs the approval of all development projects that contain more than 25,000 gross square feet of office space. Such projects require an “office space allocation” from the Planning Commission.

The Office Development Annual Limit (“Annual Limit”) Program became effective in 1985 with the adoption of the Downtown Plan and associated amendments to the Planning Code. It was subsequently amended by 1986’s Proposition M and 1987’s Proposition C.

The central provision of the Annual Limit Program is a “metering limit” designed to restrict the amount of office space authorized in a given year. In doing so, the Annual Limit Program aims to ensure a manageable rate of new development and to guard against typical “boom and bust” cycles, among other goals.

A total of 950,000 gsf of office development potential becomes available for allocation in each approval period, which begins on October 17th every year. Of the total new available space, 75,000 gsf is reserved for Small Allocation projects (projects with between 25,000 and 49,999 gsf of office space), while the remaining 875,000 gsf is available for Large Allocation projects (projects with at least 50,000 gsf of office space). Office space not allocated in a given year is carried over to subsequent years. Additional background on the program can be found here.