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Mission Housing acquires historic South Park property, the Gran Oriente Hotel

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel preserved as 100% affordable housing stock; one of three South Park properties to be rehabilitated

Mission Housing Development Corporation today announced another residential hotel has been added to its South Park portfolio.

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel, at 104-106 South Park Street [MAP], is one of the earliest Filipino-owned buildings in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Built in 1907, the Gran Oriente Hotel was acquired by Filipino seamen of the Wor Rizal Lodge #12 Of The Gran Oriente Filipino Masonic fraternity, in the 1920s, for $6,000. The organization owns two other buildings on South Park: a lodge, and a small apartment complex.

The properties are regarded as important assets for the Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

The Gran Oriente is one of three residential hotels in the South Park Historic District. Residential hotels are also known as single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs.

As South of Market property values skyrocketed over the years, the fraternal organization received numerous unsolicited, speculative purchase offers for the Gran Oriente Hotel. Community leaders wondered just how long the building could avoid being “gentrified” — sold on the private market, the units rehabbed and then leased at high rents.

When South of Market community leaders learned of a potential Gran Oriente sale, they began to consider how to keep ownership of the property in community hands, so its affordability would be positioned to survive in perpetuity.

Filipino community members asked San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim to facilitate a solution. She connected the organizers and Mission Housing. Supervisor Kim believed Mission Housing — as a nonprofit, community-based affordable housing organization already operating in South Park — was well-qualified to strengthen and ensure the Gran Oriente is protected as permanent affordable housing for future generations.

“The Gran Oriente Hotel is a significant building to the Filipino community in San Francisco and for the South Park neighborhood,” said Supervisor Kim. “It also provides 24 SRO units which provide critical affordable housing for the community.”

“I am honored to have worked with SoMa Pilipinas and Mission Housing over the last two years to facilitate its purchase through the Small Sites Program and ensure it remains a community-owned site.”

In meetings between the leadership of the Filipino Community Development Corporation, the Filipino-American Development Foundation, SOMA Pilipinas, the SOMA Stabilization Fund Community Advisory Committee and Mission Housing representatives, ideas were shared about how to honor the Filipino legacy of the building, and find a current and future co-ownership structure that involves the Filipino community.

The outcome: a Filipino organization will own or co-own the Gran Oriente by 2025.

Until then, Mission Housing will be working with community members on rehabilitating the site, ensuring that all existing tenants remain, and utilizing the site for future community activism and support.

“Mission Housing is proud to partner with the Filipino community to ensure that the Gran Oriente Hotel remains in community hands,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We will be working with the community to provide tenant education, organizing, and programming of the Gran Oriente as a historic and cultural asset.”

“Leaders from the community, such as the late Steve Arevalo, made certain the Gran Oriente will continue to play a vital role as part of the Filipino Cultural Heritage District of San Francisco.”

Welcome to the Mission Housing South Park family

Mission Housing acquired and rehabbed the other two South Park SROs — The Park View and Hotel Madrid — in 1987. Both provide permanent housing for formerly homeless, special needs, and very low-income adults. Since the renovation, Mission Housing has operated on-site supportive Resident Services programs at both locations.

Adding Gran Oriente’s 24 units to the mix creates efficiencies in overall cash flow, operations and services offered to residents. Which means, soon, the people living at the Gran Oriente will be able to access the same Resident Services provided to other Mission Housing South Park residents.

“Our Resident Services team will be making contact with current Gran Oriente tenants, to learn their needs, so we can make informed decisions about which services will help their quality of life,” said Márcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director of Mission Housing, and head of the organization’s Resident Services department.

Financing the transaction

Funds for the $4.5 million acquisition and subsequent rehabilitation are being provided by The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and its South of Market Community Stabilization Fund.

Ownership change spurs preservation effort

Monies from The SOMA Stabilization Fund, and the City’s Small Sites Program, will also pay for an extensive rehab of the Gran Oriente, to include updating mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural features such as the roof; replacing appliances and finishes; adding ADA-accessible units and an interior courtyard; and, bringing the building up to city standards for light, air, fire safety, and egress.

Also included, a moderate rehab for The Park View and Hotel Madrid, which means a total of 106 units of South Park affordable housing will be preserved. Construction should start in late 2019, and finish in April, 2021.

Following the completion of the Gran Oriente’s full rehab, Mission Housing will work with the City Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Commission and SOMA Pilipinas to have the Gran Oriente designated a historic site.

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