The Mission Economic Development Agency placed its final offer of $18 million in December for the Redstone Labor Temple building, and is now waiting for the building owner to respond by the end of February. That was the news that Gary Gregerson, president of the Redstone Labor Temple Association, told the tenants of the 16th and Capp landmark at a meeting Saturday morning.
The 104-year-old building, with its extensive history in labor and community organizing, was put up for sale last year for nearly $25 million. The 55,000-square-foot building’s appraised value is $17 million, according to Gregerson.
MEDA placed an offer in an attempt to preserve the building, which it called a “microcosm of that for which San Francisco has long stood — arts, labor, activism, community,” according to a press release from last year.
Early Saturday, about 20 people gathered in The Lab, an arts space inside the Redstone building, for a rally in support of preserving the building for the community through MEDA’s purchase.
Lyrics such as “we are the power,” “I have no doubt in me it does not end here,” and “everybody needs a living wage” rang out in the small theatre as the audience clapped and danced along.
Current tenants then took the stage to share the importance of preserving the building.
“This, for years, has been a building that we could afford,” said Paul Boden, executive director of Western Regional Advocacy Project.
“We have the right to exist in our communities,” he said.
The building has served as a place of refuge for the vulnerable.
“This is a fight to conserve our home,” said Isabella Torres, a member of the El/La para TransLatinas.
The group’s members are transgender immigrants from Central and South America who often do not have family members in the city.
“This is the only place where we have been able to seek refuge,” she said.
The tenants’ association is now working to raise funds to pay their organizer and to secure support from public officials. A Change.org petition calls on Mayor London Breed and former Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen to make greater efforts “to preserve the building as a space for our community.” They also hope to gain financial support from public officials to close the funding gap still needed to secure the building through MEDA, Gregerson said.
They are also setting up a meeting with District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen.
“Verbally, she’s supportive,” said April Berger, a 40-year resident of the Mission and longtime tenant of the Redstone Building. “But we’re gonna need much more than that.”
Note: An earlier version of the story incorrectly noted the $7 million funding gap had been closed with money raised through a GoFundMe fundraiser. The story has been updated to reflect the correction.