San Francisco breaks ground on new Kroc Center

Construction of the first of the second generation of Kroc Centers is under way.

by Jennifer Byrd –

Supervisor Chris Daly hands a certificate of honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Major Joe Posillico during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center.

On the first day of summer a jubilant crowd helped celebrate the groundbreaking of The Salvation Army’s Tenderloin Housing and Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Chris Daly and other community partners gathered in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood and praised the new center.

“I can’t imagine a better project for the Tenderloin to meet the needs of the neighborhood and San Francisco,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “This is as good as it gets.”

The San Francisco location is the first Kroc Community Center to break ground nationwide since 2004 when Joan Kroc donated approximately $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army, specifically for the development of community centers across the country similar to the landmark Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in San Diego.

“The Tenderloin as a neighborhood is going in the right direction with projects like this one,” said Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents the Tenderloin. Daly presented The Salvation Army with a Certificate of Honor, recognizing it for “outstanding service to a significant portion of the people of the City and County of San Francisco.”

Construction of the building is expected to begin within a month, and will be the largest redevelopment project the Army has undertaken in its more than 120-year history in San Francisco. Completion of the project is anticipated in July 2008.

“This is the beginning of a new era for The Salvation Army in San Francisco,” said Major Joe Posillico, divisional commander for The Salvation Army’s San Francisco area. “With this new center, we plan to expand our work in the Tenderloin neighborhood into areas that we have been unable to serve as fully as the community has required.”

Fourteen-year-old Hanna Banta of the San Francisco Tenderloin Central Corps spoke about what the new center will mean for young people: “We don’t have a place that is safe. I hope people will be out on the streets less.” Hanna lives next to the construction site.

The new Housing and Community Center will cost approximately $52.6 million to build. In addition to the $27 million The Salvation Army received for construction from the Kroc estate, the Army also received $27 million to endow the center and ensure the quality of the programs. Also, the Army has been awarded $1 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program and $7 million from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development Multi Family Housing Program (MHP). A $12 million application in federal low-income housing tax credits has been approved. The Federal IRS Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program provides tax credits to investors that provide capital for low-income housing developments. The Salvation Army has embarked upon a capital campaign to raise the remaining $8.6 million to complete the construction. The building is 135,380 square feet and was designed by Herman & Coliver: Architecture.

While the new center is being built, The Salvation Army will continue serving the community at a temporary location at 1 Grove Street.

The structure at 240 Turk Street was built shortly after the 1906 earthquake and for many years was a residential hotel. The Salvation Army bought the building in 1979. Throughout the years, the Army has served the Tenderloin community with a variety of programs, including a residential hotel for alcohol dependent adults; homeless shelter; hygiene stations; youth and senior activities; and feeding programs.
“With the community’s support, The Salvation Army is giving hope to a neighborhood brimming with children desperately in need of safe and healthy nurturing as well as better reaching an ever growing population of at-risk adults who require help daily,” said Rick Osgood, San Francisco Salvation Army Advisory Board chairman.

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