Freedom West Homes Reaches Key Funding Milestone Upon Celebration of 50 Years in San Francisco
November 01, 2023
Freedom West Homes Corporation (“Freedom West”), a nonprofit, limited-equity housing co-operative in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, announced today $27 million in funding commitments to date to catalyze its revitalization, enabling it to continue to provide low-income families of color with housing stability and preserving multi-generational wealth transfers of co-op housing ownership in the second-most expensive city to live in the United States.
“The 50th anniversary of Freedom West is an important milestone for the generations of families who have lived here and will continue to, as well as for the City to acknowledge and support the community of residents who have always called the Fillmore home,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “The Freedom West community, its partners, the developers and neighbors are committed to the shared vision of Freedom West 2.0, which will allow this community to flourish for the next 50 years.”
The funding milestone, including the latest impact investment of $5 million in Freedom West 2.0 from CommonSpirit, was celebrated this past Saturday, October 28, at the Freedom West 50th Anniversary. The event was attended by Freedom West residents, industry and community leaders, and city and state government dignitaries, including California State Senator Scott Wiener, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and current Mayor Breed, who officially proclaimed October 28, 2023, to be Freedom West Day in San Francisco.
“Communities of color have been hit hardest by redevelopment and our housing crisis,” said Senator Wiener, author of SB593, the San Francisco Housing Replacement Act, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month, in his keynote. “This bill is about opening the door to justice for them, and about helping our City meet its state-mandated housing goals. SB 593 can provide the pathway to the funding needed to enable community-driven projects like Freedom West to combine with private capital needed to preserve and build affordable housing so that low-income people of color can remain in, and more families can return to, San Francisco.”
SB 593 creates a tax increment financing structure to replace the 5,800 affordable homes San Francisco lost decades ago to “urban renewal” projects, when some neighborhoods in the city suffered widespread clearance, mass demolition, and relocation of communities, particularly lower-income communities and communities of color like the Fillmore/Western Addition, where Freedom West is located.
“Prior to SB 593 there has been no city, state or federal funding available for housing co-ops in California,” said Victor MacFarlane, founder and executive chairman of MacFarlane Partners, the exclusive master development partner for Freedom West 2.0. “With this critical legislative victory and the commitment of our capital partners, we have achieved a public-private partnership model that will preserve and deliver to Freedom West residents the long-term housing stability and economic self-sustainability originally promised to them 50 years ago.”
The nonprofit housing co-op was originally sponsored and built by Bethel AME Church in 1973, in the wake of government-sponsored urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, which devastated the Fillmore/Western Addition neighborhood by displacing more than 20,000 residents and closing over 800 businesses, most of whom were never able to return.
“SB 593 will help right the wrongs of the past by funding the preservation and rebuilding of affordable housing while also sparking the economic revitalization needed to create an equitable and sustainable future for our residents of color,” said Mattie Scott, president of Freedom West. “We are forever grateful to Senator Wiener and Governor Newsom for their undying commitment to help rebuild our community.”
The Freedom West 2.0 revitalization plan will rebuild all 382 units of affordable housing while also adding additional affordable rental units and 20,000 square feet of commercial real estate to be owned by the co-op. This expansion to the Freedom West community will create additional sources of long-term revenue. Plans for the commercial space include a 6,000-square-foot, state-of-the art STEM innovation center designed to provide residents and the surrounding community with access to the equipment, training, employers and funding needed to secure high-paying jobs and to pursue entrepreneurship opportunities in the tech- and science-driven economy of the 21st century.
The $27 million in funding commitments that have enabled Freedom West to achieve operational stabilization and prepare for Freedom West 2.0 revitalization were highlighted during the partner recognition segment of Freedom West 50th Year Anniversary Celebration on October 28. Funding partners to date include Bethel AME Church; JP Morgan Chase; MacFarlane Partners; Avanath Capital Management, which also serves as co-development partner and property manager for Freedom West; the Low Income Investment Fund; Common Spirit; the San Francisco Foundation; Menorah Park; and the City of San Francisco.
About Freedom West Homes
Freedom West Homes Corporation is a nonprofit housing cooperative that consists of 382 housing units located in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. In the late 1960s, during a period of civil turmoil, Rev. J. Austell Hall had a vision to preserve a portion of this neighborhood that was being threatened by the city’s urban renewal. From this vision, he established Freedom West with the objective of creating a safe, affordable community; protecting cultural diversity; and providing a source of social and economic empowerment through co-operative ownership. For additional information, visit www.freedomwest.com.
About MacFarlane Partners
MacFarlane Partners is a real estate investment management and development firm that acquires, develops and manages properties on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. Founded in 1987, the firm pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate investment managers in the 1990s and today is a leading investor and developer of properties that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban areas nationwide. It is headquartered in San Francisco and operates regional offices in Los Angeles and Seattle. For additional information, visit www.macfarlanepartners.com.
About Avanath Capital Management
Avanath Capital Management is a privately held, vertically integrated investment firm managing real estate and real estate-related investments generating risk-adjusted returns through current income and capital appreciation from its investments. Founded by Daryl J. Carter, the firm is led by a management team that averages 25 years of experience and that has successfully guided investment funds in defining growth opportunities. For additional information, visit www.avanath.com.
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