The Mission Economic Development Agency is moving in on the vacant lot at the corner of 22nd and Mission streets — the site of a February 2015 fire that killed one person and displaced some 60 residents and businesses.

The damaged building has since been demolished, leaving a rare — and very large — empty piece of land that is ripe for development on one of the neighborhood’s busiest corridors.

In January, MEDA signed an agreement that gave it the “first right of refusal” on the property — meaning that the owner of the property, Hawk Lou, cannot sell the property before giving MEDA the opportunity to match the offer.

Neither side offered details of their ongoing negotiations, but in August 2015, Lou was considering a $20 million offer that then fell through.

Lou’s family bought the property on 22nd street in 1990 for around $4 million.

When asked about the agreement, the nonprofit’s Director of Community real estate, Karoleen Feng, said in an email that MEDA has made “several” offers on the building, but “an agreement has yet to be reached.”

“We currently have a new offer in for this lot and hope that will be accepted,” she said.

She said that MEDA wants to build a 100 percent affordable housing development on the site.

“MEDA’s goal is for the former residents and family-serving businesses — all displaced by the devastating January 2015 fire — to be able to return to their longtime homes, which is their legal right,” Feng said.

The Mission-based nonprofit, which in only a few years has become a small real estate empire, received the first right to buy the property from Kevin R. Strain, a property owner who sold MEDA a building at the corner of 17th and Mission for $7.75 million.

Strain granted MEDA the first right of refusal on that property before MEDA made the purchase in January.

Hawk Lou, the embattled owner of the 22nd and Mission property — and who owns some 19 properties around the city with an assessed value of around $15.3 million — did not respond to Mission Local’s requests for comment.

Disclosure: Mission Local rents office space from MEDA. It was also a tenant of the building destroyed in the 2015 fire. 

Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter