SF Nonprofits Band Together to Purchase Historic Mission District Building

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NBC Bay Area

San Francisco city officials on Wednesday celebrated the purchase of a historic building in the city's Mission District by several local nonprofit organizations.

The purchase of the historic Centro Social Obrero building at 2929 19th St., by the real estate holding entity 701 Alabama Consortium restores the building to nonprofit ownership.

The organizations involved in the purchase include Jamestown Community Center, the Mission Economic Development Agency and Mission Neighborhood Centers, and the Mission Language and Vocational School Inc.

The Mission Language and Vocational School has operated out of the 12,902 square foot Centro Social Obrero property for the last 40 years. The new purchase will help protect and expand the services MLVS provides to low-income Latino and immigrant families, services such as career counseling, language and vocational training and job placement.

"The acquisition of this property shows us what's possible when we all work together. Our city wouldn't be the same without community resources like the Mission Language and Vocational School, and now these organizations will be able to offer even more services and resources for San Franciscans," Mayor London Breed said in a statement.

In addition to housing the MLVS, the building also houses the Jamestown Community Center, Five Keys Charter School, the Roadmap to Peace Initiative and the Bay Area Community Resource Access Center.

"The effort to preserve this space has been complex, but today's announcement ensures our communities will be able to benefit from these incredible organizations for years to come," Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district includes the Mission District, said, "By taking complete ownership of this building, the nonprofit organizations that make up the 701 Alabama Consortium are sending a clear message that they are not going anywhere, and will continue investing in the futures of our most vulnerable families in the Mission and throughout the city."

The purchase was made possible thanks to the mayor's Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, which provided $1 million in early funding as well as technical assistance. In addition, the entity of organizations was able to obtain a loan from the Bank of San Francisco to successfully purchase the $4.75 million property.

"This last year and a half, the community worked hard to save this space and programs and it became very personal to me," said Tracy Brown-Gallardo, the MLVS's board chair.

MLVS was first founded in 1968 and, since then, it has helped thousands of graduates become economically self sufficient through teaching English and employment training.

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