My name is Luis Granados, and I serve as the CEO of the Mission Economic Development Agency. Thank you all for gathering on this great occasion as we celebrate the grand opening of Casa Adelante – 2060 Folsom.
This project is yet another collective win for affordable housing in the Mission and San Francisco. For me, this project is about building community through advocacy, capacity-building and partnership.
Perhaps it is the combination of this housing development, along with the park, that is making me a little nostalgic because both of these projects were long, hard-fought wins by community: PODER leading to make this park happen, and MEDA leading on the affordable housing side.
For many of us, these efforts began back in 1999/2000 with the creation of the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition, which fought the first wave of displacement by the tech boom. At that time, leading those efforts included: Carlos Romero; Renee Saucedo; Eric Quezada; Richard Marquez; Antonio Diaz; Ana Maria Loya; and others. Tom Ammiano was the District 9 Supervisor, and Willie Brown was the Mayor.
It has been that long-standing advocacy that has, in part, led to the creation of this project. However, for MEDA, this project’s story is also very much about having the technical capacity to make this project, and other similar projects, a reality. With the focus on housing Latino families; providing permanent space to organizations serving Latino children and youth; and the art speaking to the issues in our community created by artists from our community.
This project very much feels like it belongs in the Mission – it is the Mission.
It is projects like this one that showcase what a difference it makes to have the technical capacity to develop affordable housing by organizations led by people of color serving people of color. And, we know that despite all of MEDA’s good work and efforts, this project was made possible only through strong partnerships. In particular, I want to highlight the partnership with Chinatown Community Development Center, which has been invaluable in creating this project.
Through Norman Fong, and now Malcolm Yeung, CCDC specifically partnered with MEDA to leverage their extensive developer experience to help MEDA grow a track record as an affordable housing developer.
Paying it forward, MEDA is now working to help other organizations in the Bayview — and elsewhere — develop their capacity and track record as up-and-coming developers.
Fast forward 20+ years later, given all the advocacy efforts, building MEDA’s technical capacity and forging strong partnerships, we now have: a 126-unit affordable housing development, with commercial space providing a permanent location to four of our community partners, sitting in front of a beautiful park.
This is how we build community in the Mission.
I will end by sharing my gratitude to all of those who have contributed to making this project happen.
I’ll start with Speaker Pelosi, who secured a $2 million appropriation that will help our community partners carry out their tenant improvement.
Then there is Mayor Breed, whose administration has been key in ensuring that affordable housing in the Mission, and across San Francisco, remains a top priority.
US Bank provided the financing for this project and has been a MEDA partner for over 20 years.
Again, thank you, Malcolm and CCDC, for your partnership.
I also need to thank MEDA’s Board of Directors, who have provided guidance and support as we became an affordable housing developer over the last eight years.
Finally, I must thank our MEDA staff. They continuously show a remarkable ability to be audacious by adapting and pivoting to meet the needs of our community at any moment.
And, this is especially true of Karoleen Feng, our next speaker, who has worked so very hard to make this project happen.
SPEECH BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY REAL ESTATE KAROLEEN FENG
Good morning and welcome, bienveidos, huan ying.
As I look around at this amazing site, one word comes to mind: community. The community effort that led to a large parking lot becoming affordable housing with a park as its front porch. Our community members who now call this building home – over 125 households. The community anchors now with permanent spaces in the Mission: Good Samaritan Family Resource Center; PODER; First Exposures; and Youth Speaks. We welcome you all to your new home in the heart of the Mission.
When we first conceptualized this building as a housing opportunity facing the park, we were a neighborhood in transition and our families were fighting to keep their roots here. Of our 125+ homes, we intentionally established 29 apartments for transitional-age youth (TAY), who are the future of our community. And an additional 89 as two- or three-bedroom homes, offering our families the space they need and deserve.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that housing is health.
That’s why adequate living space is so vital for our families. Also, 2060 Folsom is a fossil-fuel free, green building – and we are proud that it’s the first large all-electric affordable housing building in San Francisco. We are targeting GreenPoint Rated Platinum. Today is a day for celebration and gratitude.
Let’s celebrate that we are turning the trend of displacement of Mission District Latinos, immigrants and community-based organizations.
Let’s offer gratitude to the following:
- Our Mayan elders
- Our community members
- Our residents
- Elaine Yee, our Deputy Director of Community Real Estate, who with our team and partners from CCDC tirelessly led the development of Casa Adelante – 2060 Folsom from a proposal for housing to what you see today
- Larkin Street Youth Services for providing on-site programs
- Architects Mithun and Y.A. Studio
- Contractor James E. Roberts Obayashi Corp.
- All funders who provided critical financing – some joining us here today
- Our co-developer and property manager Chinatown Community Development Center – we couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Thank you, Malcolm and team
- The San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for believing in our work
- The Office of Economic and Workforce Development and former director Joaquin Torres for investing in our cultural organizations as cultural-based organizations .
- Mayor London Breed for her ongoing support of affordable housing in her city
I want to offer a special tribute to the late Mission artist Yolanda Lopez, with her legacy now celebrated on the north wall of this property by talented muralist Jessica Sabogal. Those four walls are now adorned with a towering portrait of Yolanda, whose inspiring art focused on the experiences of Mexican-American and working-class women, often challenging ethnic stereotypes. Additionally, the murals feature a Black panther and slogans from past social justice movements.
This has been a true collective achievement, and MEDA looks forward creating more impact with you all in the future.