Dance Mission Theater. Photo by Lydia Chavez.

Dance Mission Theater has its eyes on a new home – one they’re going to build with the help of a local union and the Mission Economic Development Agency.

MEDA has brokered a deal between the dance organization and UFCW 64, a union that owns the property where it has offices at 1980 Mission Street near 16th Street.

Though plans are still preliminary, the idea is to redevelop the two-story, 11,000-square-foot building, doubling its size and adding another two levels. The union would operate on one of those levels and Dance Mission would occupy the remaining two floors.

“The intent as memorialized by both organizations is to explore feasibility of 1980 Mission as a long term home for Dance MIssion,” said Feliciano Vera, who has been managing the project for MEDA.

Dance Mission, which has been producing political art and supporting dancers from diverse backgrounds for 40 years, has a lease at its current 24th Street location through 2018, but has already weathered several steep rent increases and cannot take another, the director said.  

“I don’t really have security here,” said the dance company’s director, Krissy Keefer. She expects another $3,000 a month rent increase soon, and the building needs maintenance.

Moreover, she noted, “A lot of people want to see some kind of activity on 16th and Mission.”

The project site neighbors the current Navigation Center for the homeless, where a below-market-rate housing complex is scheduled to be constructed.

The search for alternatives brought Dance Mission to MEDA, which will serve as the developer for the new building at 1980 Mission.

Keefer has big plans for the new space, including a theater and studio space. Plans are still preliminary, but the organizations hope to forge an agreement that would ensure the new space as a permanent home for Dance Mission. It’s not yet clear whether that will entail partial ownership or a long-term lease.

It’s too early to say exactly what shape the new dance space will take or exactly how much it will cost.

Dance Mission Theater has already begun fundraising for the project with its 40th anniversary show, and both MEDA and the dance nonprofit will be developing a strategy to raise the necessary capital.

1980 Mission Street, the future home of Dance Mission Theater, via Google Maps

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