Just in time to celebrate LGBT Pride month, Community Vision is pleased to announce that it has deployed $7.5M in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center in support of the organization’s current renovations. The project will transform the 37,000 square foot Market Street facility constructed in 2002 into a more community-friendly environment. In addition to maintaining its current health and wellness, vocational, and social service programs, the new facility will triple the space available to community-based organizations, growing it from 5,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft.
“Having the opportunity to be in this space now for 14 years, we understand what a tremendous community asset the building is,” explains Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director. “Small San Francisco community-serving groups are struggling in the current real estate environment to find space so they can continue their vital work.”
The LGBT Center approached this renovation as an opportunity to support other community-based organizations. “In this remodel, we are able to continue our own core programs while expanding our ability to house organizations that are so important to our community,” said Rolfe. “The outcomes are that we are meeting the needs of organizations while bringing a much richer array of services to the 9,000 visitors that come through our doors each month.”
Working with nonprofits to find innovative solutions to their real estate needs in this market is nothing new for Community Vision. “Through our Nonprofit Displacement Mitigation Program, Community Vision has partnered with over 78 San Francisco arts and social service organizations to negotiate long-term leases, purchase their own facilities, or take advantage of the benefits of shared work space,” said Ross Culverwell, Community Vision Chief Lending Officer. “The LGBT Center’s vision to increase its capacity to house vital small social service programs is right up our alley. Community Vision is thrilled to put our capital to work in a way that is so aligned to our overall mission.”
“Community Vision has been a tremendous partner,” said Rolfe. “The NMTC funding enabled us to move forward with this project. We couldn’t do it without that financing and support.”
Rolfe recognizes Community Vision’s guidance through the difficult NMTC financing process as a valuable asset. “One of the experiences we had was that there was a bit of a shift last year in the NMTC process that required a great deal of agility in thinking through how we were putting this project together,” she said. “As we faced challenges in adapting the project, Community Vision was there every step of the way. There were a couple moments when we were tearing our hair out and that level of support was really a life- and sanity-saver in getting us through the project.”
The LGBT Center has already identified three of the four proposed tenants of the new facility. Current tenant, Aguilas will receive upgraded space to continue providing HIV/AIDS services to Latino gay and bisexual men. New tenants include the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center’s new primary care clinic and Bay Area Legal Aid, which provides legal assistance to low-income Bay Area residents. In addition, the LGBT Center is planning to house a commercial coffee house. “Having food and coffee and a place for people to meet casually available in the facility is an important piece of the type of community vibe we want at the new facility,” said Rolfe. “We want people to walk by and see a thriving gathering space. We want it to feel like a community from the ground up.”
While current plans have the project completed around January 2017, LGBT Center guests will continue to have access to the facility for pre-arranged appointments, events, and other activities offered through their youth services and economic development programs during the renovation. For more information visit www.sfcenter.org.