The Mission Economic Development Agency has 73 days to come up with millions to purchase and rehabilitate the Redstone Labor Temple at 16th and Capp streets, and now the nonprofit is asking for city assistance to the tune of $1 million.
MEDA needs to come up with a total of $7 million to close a deal it has negotiated with the current owner, David Luchessi, by Aug. 1, when the contract expires. It’s unclear what happens after that if the financial hurdle is not cleared. MEDA was able to negotiate the extension of an original December deadline to purchase the building.
Notably, the nonprofit was able to talk down the owner’s purported asking price of $22 million to $15 million but still needs the additional millions to bring the 105-year-old building up to code. An inspection by MEDA last fall revealed “significant structural and maintenance issues that must be immediately addressed by any prospective new building owner.”
The hoped-for $1 million from city coffers, says MEDA spokesman Christopher Gil, would give the nonprofit’s other investors the confidence to lend MEDA the rest of the money. MEDA is asking for the city funds by July 15, but that money has not yet been identified.
“There is no set City mechanism by which the $1M would be released — if it even is released,” Gil said in an email.
The red brick edifice at the intersection of 16th and Capp streets was built in 1914 as a hub for labor unions, but has since become home to a mix of roughly 35 nonprofits, arts organizations and individual enterprises, including El/La TransLatina, Wonder Dog Rescue, and the Western Regional Advocacy Project.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen on Tuesday introduced a resolution that supports efforts to preserve the Redstone Building “as a center for social and economic justice organizations” — though it calls for no specific city funding.
Amy Beinart, a legislative aide in Ronen’s office, said via text message that “Supervisor Ronen is trying to advocate for funding in the city budget.”
The quest to save the Redstone Labor Temple will spill out onto the streets on Thursday with a rally planned for 11:30 a.m. at the building at 2940 16th Street.
Presently, the dozens of nonprofits housed there see the building as more than just a home — it’s a refuge in a gentrifying Mission. Says Gil: “It will take a true community-wide effort from the City, investors and philanthropy to keep the Redstone’s tenants in place at affordable rents, thereby stopping their displacement not just from their building, but San Francisco itself.”