The San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center is one of three major projects of the former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (the “Former Agency”). The Former Agency has since been dissolved and the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure is its Successor Agency.
The former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s economic development work with the Filipino Community in the Yerba Buena Center and South of Market communities centered on three major projects:
- the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center in Yerba Buena Center (“SFFCC”),
- Bindlestiff Studio in South of Market, and
- the Bayanihan Community Center in South of Market.
San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center
Westfield and Forest City Development Centre (“Westfield/Forest City”) are the owners/developers of the Westfield San Francisco Centre/Bloomingdales mall on Market Street, pursuant to a 2003 Owner Participation Agreement and Disposition and Development Agreement with the Former Agency. In a memorandum of understanding with South of Market community groups (including SFFCC), Westfield/Forest City agreed to provide approximately 7,750 square feet of space to SFFCC at the San Francisco Centre.
By 2009, SFFCC had not moved forward with completing or occupying the San Francisco Center space. As an alternative, Westfield and SFFCC had reached preliminary agreement for SFFCC to be located on the second floor of the Metreon instead of the San Francisco Centre. The proposed SFFCC space in the Metreon was about 4,800 square feet on the second floor next to an existing 10,000 square foot event space called the Action Theater. The plan was for SFFCC to have exclusive use of the Action Theatre on weekends.
However, in 2010, Westfield developed new plans for repositioning and re-tenanting the Metreon, which focused on Target as the tenant for the entire second floor. As a result, SFFCC’s occupancy at the Metreon was no longer feasible.
In order to ensure that SFFCC would still have a vibrant, accessible presence in the South of Market/Yerba Buena community, Westfield and SFFCC negotiated plans for 9,000 square feet of space at 814 Mission Street over a 20-year term. This Westfieldowned building, known as the Bulletin Building, is on the north side of Mission Street just west of Fourth Street, in a highly visible and well-traveled location. The space is located on the mezzanine level of 814 Mission Street and will have a prominent street-level entry dedicated to the cultural center’s exclusive use. The plan was for Westfield to build out the space to a level ready for occupancy and SFFCC would be responsible for funding certain custom finishes and equipment.
The Former Agency worked collaboratively with SFFCC and Westfield as the parties reached final agreement on the lease terms. As a result, a lease was drafted in November 2010. The draft lease between SFFCC and Westfield for 814 Mission Street was not finalized or executed until September 2012, due to an extensive review and comment process to finalize the lease (and the need for additional side letters).
In early 2013, Westfield completed all of its landlord work (re-configured the space, built a new hallway, new restrooms and moved a ground floor tenant) and delivered the space to SFFCC.
According to Westfield, SFFCC has created drawings for its interior build-out work and the Department of Building Inspection has issued a building permit for that work. The process of selecting and hiring a contractor to complete the tenant improvement work took a few years as costs went over budget. Aggressive fundraising was conducted to complete the work and pay off Swinerton Builders. The SFFCC officially opened on February 28, 2017.
From 1990-2003, Bindlestiff Studio (“Bindlestiff’) operated a small, black-box theater at the Plaza Hotel, a 37-unit single room occupancy hotel with ground floor commercial space located at the corner of Howard and Sixth Streets in the South of Market Earthquake Recovery Redevelopment Project Area (“Earthquake Recovery Project Area”). One of the primary goals of the Former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (“Former Agency”) in the Earthquake Recovery Project Area, which was converted to a full redevelopment project area in 2005, was to revitalize Sixth Street through the elimination of blight and the production of clean, affordable housing for South of Market residents. As part of the Former Agency’s broader revitalization efforts, in 2001, it acquired the Plaza Hotel and in 2002 authorized direct development of the site by the Public Initiatives Development Corporation (“PIDC”), a subsidiary nonprofit public benefit corporation established to serve as a vehicle for the Former Agency’s direct development activity.
The Plaza Hotel was demolished by PIDC in 2003, and the site was developed into the Plaza Apartments, a 106-unit supportive housing development that has become a model for housing formerly homeless individuals and families in San Francisco and the nation. Prior to the demolition of the Plaza Hotel, the Former Agency took several steps to ensure that Bindlestiff Studio would be able to continue operating. The Former Agency relocated Bindlestiff to a space directly across the street in the Dudley Hotel in 2003. The Former Agency also agreed to construct the shell of a new theater space, at a cost of more than $1 million, in the basement of the new Plaza Apartments, for Bindlestiff to occupy. Bindlestiff agreed to raise the estimated $500,000 necessary for the tenant improvements in the new theater space. Bindlestiff’s original theater space was small and the group had never run any kind of capital campaign. In 2003, the Former Agency provided Bindlestiff with a grant of $140,000, which was increased to $225,000 in 2004, in order to allow Bindlestiff to hire professionals to assist in developing its organizational and fundraising capacity so that it could raise the funds necessary for the tenant improvements.
The Plaza Apartments were completed in 2006, and ownership was transferred to the Plaza Apartments Associates, Limited Partnership (“Partnership”), a partnership comprised of equity investors and PIDC (not the Mayor’s Office of Housing). Bindlestiff had difficulty developing its organizational and fundraising capacity and went through several leadership changes. In 2007, the grant agreement between the Former Agency and Bindlestiff expired and Bindlestiff was not able to raise any funds. In addition, more than half of the $225,000 grant that the Former Agency provided had not been spent. The Former Agency remained committed to moving Bindlestiff into the new theater space and agreed to fund the entire cost of the tenant improvements, on the condition that Bindlestiff:
- find an established theater group with which to partner to help manage the new theater space and
- make the new theater space available for rental by other neighborhood groups approximately 50 percent of the time.
In 2009, Bindlestiff selected Thick Description (‘Thick”) as its partner and the two groups entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) describing how the theater space would be operated in order to meet the two conditions above. At the same time, the Former Agency, Bindlestiff and Thick entered into a loan agreement to provide Bindlestiff and Thick with $52,000 to fund their work related to the construction of the tenant improvements, with the MOU as a condition of the loan. Bindlestiff had funded most of the design work for the tenant improvements with funds from the original grant agreement and the Former Agency funded the rest with the remaining grant funds. Also in 2009, the Partnership executed a lease with Bindlestiff for the new theater space in the basement of the Plaza Apartments, with the MOU as a condition of the lease.
Construction of the tenant improvements was delayed by contracting issues, but those issues were eventually resolved and the new theater space opened in September 2011. The final cost of the tenant improvements was less than the original estimate of $500,000, due to the weak economy at the time the contractor was selected in 2010. In total, including the cost of constructing the shell and tenant improvements, and grant and loan funds provided directly to Bindlestiff and Thick, the Former Agency spent approximately $1 . 6 million on the new theater space for Bindlestiff.
Bayanihan Community Center
The Bayanihan Community Center, (the “Community Center”) located on the ground floor of the Delta Hotel at 1010 Mission Street, was built by the Filipino-American Development Foundation (the “Foundation”) in 2005. GP-TODCO-A, a California limited partnership owns the Delta Hotel and leases space to the Community Center.
The Community Center’s objectives are to support the Filipino community and the wider South of Market community; increase awareness about the historical significance of Filipinos in South of Market; advocate for affordable housing, support Filipino small businesses; and contribute to the revitalization of Sixth Street. Specific programs have included a housing advocacy program, a Filipino small business development program, a walking tour highlighting the history of Filipinos in South of Market; the San Francisco Veterans Equity Center, which provides support services for Filipino WWII veterans; and programs led by West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, South of Market Employment Center, and the South of Market Health Center.
Since 1999, the Former Agency has supported the Foundation’s efforts to establish the Community Center by providing funding for (I) planning and development, (2) construction soft costs and tenant improvement work, and (3) small facade improvement forgivable loans.
The Former Agency’s planning and development support was $60,000 through a 1999 personal services contract with the Foundation for a needs assessment, community services plan, business plan, and fund development plan to develop, manage and raise funds for the Community Center. As a result of this work, the Agency and the Foundation entered into a $300,000 grant agreement for predevelopment soft costs for the Community Center (architect/engineer, construction manager, project manager, permits, etc.) and construction costs for tenant improvement work.
The Foundation and its subtenant, the San Francisco Veterans Equity Center, have each received small facade improvement forgivable loans ($4,300 and $3,500, respectively) from the Former Agency’s Sixth Street Economic Revitalization Facade Improvement Program for businesses and property owners located in the Sixth Street area.