New $1.4 Million Loan Supports Affordable Artist Housing in West Oakland

New $1.4 Million Loan Supports Affordable Artist Housing in West Oakland

We are thrilled to announce that the San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Community Impact Fund has closed a new $1.4 million loan from the fund.

Our latest impact loan is to the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EBPREC) to rehabilitate three cooperatively-owned properties for commercial and residential use, including Esther’s Orbit Room and two affordable, artist housing units. Our investment will catalyze this project – the first phase of West Oakland’s “7th Street Cooperative Cultural Corridor” community revitalization plan.

EBPREC is a Black-led and cooperatively owned organization that supports Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to cooperatively own and steward mixed-use and residential property in the East Bay. They buy and preserve real estate to keep tenants of color in the community, to remove housing from the speculative market, and to address the root problems associated with poverty concentration and neighborhood disinvestment. Their model empowers existing residents to build equity and assert control over neighborhood change.

In 2021 EBPREC acquired and will develop the historic Esther’s Orbit Room in West Oakland, called “Harlem of the West” by some community members because of its deep roots in the Black Panther movement and booming Black owned businesses and cultural sites. Through an innovative community-driven development plan, Esther’s Orbit Room & Cultural Arts Center will become a cultural and economic asset for Oakland and the Black Arts Community for generations to come.

The rent for the commercial space and artist housing units will be permanently maintained at affordable rates. The commercial spaces will include a music venue, studio, restaurant, community stage, and rooftop garden terrace.

In addition to our loan, EBPREC raised equity for the project directly from the community through a Direct Public Offering, offering ownership stakes to individual investors. In this, and in many ways, our loan to EBPREC will advance SFF’s long-term vision of building wealth in West Oakland and position us as a leader in supporting Black ownership of small businesses and affordable housing. In partnership with you – our Bay Area Community Impact Fund donors, we are proud to support EBPREC.

Read more impact fund stories.