Following a late-morning gathering at the Redstone Labor Temple at 16th and Capp streets, supporters of the 105-year-old historic building marched to City Hall to demand city funding to help preserve the space as a hub of community organizations and artists in the Mission.
The Mission Economic Development Agency, a nonprofit developer, has a pending purchase deal with the current owner — but needs to come up with $7 million to complete the deal. Community organizations which rent space in the building are asking the city to chip in $1 million to give other investors confidence to fill the rest of the gap. The tenants worry that if MEDA is unable to buy the building, it may be sold to another owner who would displace them.
Dozens of marchers walked north along Mission Street, chanting in English and Spanish, before holding a rally on the steps of City Hall in front of a huge “Save the Redstone Labor Temple” banner. During the rally, tenants of the Redstone presented a petition signed by 7,234 supporters to Amy Beinart, a staff member in Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office, asking for the city’s help saving the Redstone.
Beinart, who spoke at the rally, said that Ronen is advocating for financing to be made available through the city budget process and urged the crowd to contact other Supervisors about the importance of the building.
“The Redstone is important not just for its historical value, but for its current value as a center of activism, organizing, and culture in the Mission,” said Beinart.
Supervisor Ronen introduced a resolution to support preserving the Redstone building, cosponsored by Supervisors Gordon Mar and Shamann Walton. The item will be considered at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, June 25, at 2pm.
The red-brick building began as a hub for labor unions when it was built in 1914. Now, it houses about 35 community and arts organizations including the International Indian Treaty Council, the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition, and the Western Regional Advocacy Project.
Other tenants and activists spoke and sang songs as passing cars occasionally honked in support. Tania Jimenez of El/La Para TransLatinas said the building was a crucial space for marginalized communities in an increasingly inhospitable city.
“Redstone is the only home we have,” Jimenez said.