Redstone building. Photo by Julian Mark

The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) has reached a deal to purchase the historic Redstone Labor Temple — a coveted community asset that houses mostly nonprofits and arts enterprises.

In a statement, MEDA disclosed that it “has reached a price to purchase” the 105-year-old structure, but did not specify what that figure was. Current owner David Lucchesi’s asking price has been estimated between $22 million and $25 million.

Karoleen Feng, the nonprofit’s director of community real estate said in that statement that the purchase would be finalized by mid-summer. Lucchesi has owned the building since 1992, and the assessor-recorder’s assessed value of roughly $2.3 million for the land and structure reflect that long-ago purchase date.  

An inspection by MEDA last fall revealed “significant structural and maintenance issues that must be immediately addressed by any prospective new building owner.”

Remedying that would require a slew of expensive upgrades that could add an additional $9 million or more to the purchase price. Last September, MEDA officials said the nonprofit needed $7 million to “close the financing gap” to purchase the building, after it had had multiple private offers.

“MEDA cannot do this alone: the saving of the historic Redstone, as a means to keep artists and nonprofits in place, requires a community-wide effort, including collaboration with City departments and philanthropy for funding,” Feng said.

News of the agreement was first reported by the Examiner.

The red brick edifice at the intersection on 16th and Capp streets was built in 1914 as a hub for labor unions, but has since become home to an assortment of roughly 35 nonprofits, arts organizations, and individual enterprises including El/La TransLatina, Wonder Dog Rescue, and the Western Regional Advocacy Project.

A day’s stroll through the building can be a journey into a bygone San Francisco.

“It’s always seemed like a radical space for working-class people,” Essie Garcia, of El/La TransLatina, told Mission Local last summer. “We’ve always felt very comfortable here.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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