FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2022
Contact: Will Reisman, Lighthouse Public Affairs, (415) 420-0905
Bethel AME Church Makes $1 Million Investment in Freedom West 2.0
Commitment is initial part of larger $10 million investment pledged to help revitalize Freedom West and empower the surrounding community
San Francisco, CA—Bethel AME Church San Francisco has announced a $1 million commitment to Freedom West 2.0, a transformative initiative to revitalize Freedom West Homes, a nonprofit, limited equity housing cooperative located in the heart of the Fillmore district in San Francisco, just three blocks from City Hall.
The commitment from Bethel AME Church arose from Freedom West 2.0 Partners Convening held at the Battery in February. That gathering assembled national leaders from industry, philanthropy, and community who came together to review and provide expert input and support for the advancement of the $2 billion plan to reimagine Freedom West Homes. Freedom West 2.0 will deliver modern market rate quality, yet permanently affordable housing for the existing residents, while also inviting a new, expanded population of residents who want to enjoy modern amenities at the site.
Freedom West Homes, their master development partner, MacFarlane Partners, and Bethel AME have finalized a collaboration agreement which includes Bethel AME making a $1 million impact investment in the Freedom West 2.0 Founders Circle to contribute to predevelopment and entitlement expenses.
The agreement also features preferred terms for Bethel to invest $10 million with MacFarlane Partners in the market rate portion of the development. A key feature of the development agreement between Freedom West Homes and MacFarlane Partners includes Freedom West participating in all profits that are realized by MacFarlane throughout the market rate portion of the $2 billion development.
“I am elated to see so many business and community leaders coming out in support of Freedom West 2.0” said Mattie Scott, President of Freedom West Homes. “We were totally blown away by the bold $10 million commitment made by Paster Shaw on behalf of Bethel AME Church.”
In addition to creating affordable housing units for existing residents, Freedom West 2.0 will also include additional affordable rental units, more than 2,000 feet of open space, retail and entertainment options, a boutique hotel, a health and fitness center, childcare center, and an onsite Community Innovation Center, with access to state-of-the-art, industry-grade technology, equipment and training needed for 21st Century tech and science driven jobs and entrepreneurship.
“President Mattie Scott, the board of directors, and the entire Freedom West shareholder community have done an amazing job getting the vision of Freedom West 2.0 to this critical point,” said Robert Shaw, Pastor of Bethel AME Church. “We want to do our part by stepping up as both an investor and a co-developer with MacFarlane Partners to help make sure this bold vision becomes a reality for Freedom West and the broader Fillmore community.”
Freedom West Homes was originally sponsored by Bethel AME Church in the late 1960s in the aftermath of government sponsored urban renewal which displaced more than 20,000 residents and closed over 800 businesses. Built as a 382-unit housing co-operative on 10 acres of land just three blocks from City Hall, Freedom West has provided affordable housing for nearly 1,000 racially diverse, low- and moderate-income residents for decades. But is now struggling with 40 years of deferred maintenance and faces an uncertain financial future due to lack of investment in the community and a non-existent long term economic sustainability model.
“We are honored to have Bethel AME Church join our development and investor team as we work hard to help the Freedom West residents realize promises made to them over 40 years ago,” said Victor B. MacFarlane, Founder, Chairman and CEO, MacFarlane Partners.
About Freedom West:
Freedom West Homes Corporation is a nonprofit housing cooperative containing 382 housing units located in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. In the late 1960s, in a period of civil turmoil, Rev. J Austell Hall had a vision to preserve a portion of the Fillmore District neighborhood that was being threatened by the city of San Francisco’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.
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 in 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. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.macfarlanepartners.com.