San Francisco, CA — Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced that the City is beginning lease negotiations with a new operator for the Fillmore Heritage Center, located at the corner of Fillmore and Eddy Streets in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco.
After a competitive bidding process coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Human Rights Commission, and Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the City is beginning lease negotiations with Westside Community Services, in partnership with the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC) and Fleming Development, for the activation and operation of the commercial portions of the Fillmore Heritage Center.
The proposed uses for the various commercial portions of the Fillmore Heritage Center include a premier destination restaurant of the African diaspora, programming of a diverse range of musical acts, a food hall and commercial kitchen, a visual art gallery focused on the African diaspora, along with space for meetings, corporate events, film festivals, and neighborhood events.
“This is an important step in our work to ensure the Fillmore Heritage Center returns as a place for the community to gather and celebrate our culture,” said Mayor London Breed. “Our goal is to deliver a space that is active, exciting, and reflective of the community that has long made the Fillmore the amazing neighborhood we all know it to be.”
“The next phase in this process represents a commitment from the City to celebrate, recognize, and invest in the rich culture and history of the Harlem of the West,” said Sheryl Davis, executive director of the Human Rights Commission. “Moving forward, we will work with community to incorporate the magic of the past as we build out the innovations of the future.”
“Our collective team is honored to engage in leasing discussions for the Fillmore Heritage Center. We deeply recognize and respect the Center’s rich history and its immense potential, and we understand its pivotal role as a catalyst for economic, entrepreneurial, and creative growth in the Fillmore community and surrounding areas,” said Mary Ann Jones, CEO of Westside Community Services. “Successful lease negotiations will enable us to work hand in hand with Fillmore community stakeholders. Our vision is to transform the Center into a premier destination for performing arts and culinary excellence. We envision it as a shining symbol of Black prosperity that will inspire and uplift many generations to come.”
Built in 2007, the Fillmore Heritage Center was developed as a multi-use facility with the goal to both revitalize the commercial corridor and honor the cultural heritage of the neighborhood. Once considered the “Harlem of the West”, the Fillmore neighborhood is known for its vibrant community of African American residents and a center for Black-owned businesses, many of them music and entertainment establishments.
Today, the Fillmore District remains a vibrant community that continues to build on its Black heritage, while embracing its proximity to nearby neighborhoods, such as Japantown. The Fillmore continues to be a destination for live music and entertainment and has become a central location for annual festivals and events attracting thousands of attendees to partake in the entertainment, food, and history of the neighborhood.
"This is a victory," said the Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, pastor of San Francisco's historic Third Baptist Church in the Fillmore District. "This is an opportunity to build a world-class watering hole that celebrates the culture and the history of this community. This is a historic moment focused on revitalizing the Harlem of the West."
Westside Community Services, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC), and Fleming Development were selected as the Fillmore Heritage Center’s operators through an open and competitive Request for Proposals process issued in February 2023. The City aims to finalize the lease for the Fillmore Heritage Center by March 2024, after Board of Supervisors approval. The performance space and gallery space are anticipated to be activated in Fall 2024. The proposed food hall and new flagship restaurant are anticipated to open in early 2025. City representatives will facilitate a community meeting in the coming weeks as lease negotiations commence.