Civic Center Residence Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on July 15, 2011 with 2 Comments

The Civic Center Residence located at 44 McAllister in the Tenderloin celebrated its grand reopening Thursday following a $30 million makeover. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

July 15, 2011

Residents of a rehabilitated single residency occupancy hotel in the Tenderloin were treated Thursday to a celebration of its grand re-opening.

On hand to mark the occasion included Mayor Ed Lee and District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim.

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s (TNDC) upgrade to the Civic Center Residence, located at 44 McAllister, included the construction of additional units of low-income housing, a seismic retrofit, plumbing and electrical overhauls, two new elevators, new shower rooms on each of the eight floors, and upgraded common room facilities including three community kitchens.

Financing for the $30 million project included funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk. Additional funding was derived from private financing.

“In that sense, it’s truly a community effort,” Falk said during opening remarks. “We cannot do these things alone.”

“This is our model for preserving affordable housing in San Francisco and throughout the country, and for another 30 years it is going to provide an affordable home for generations of low-income people,” Falk added.

TNDC Executive Director Don Falk.

The 105 units added to the hotel travels some distance in achieving the City’s ten-year program to end homelessness in San Francisco, a program former Board of Supervisors President Angela Alioto spearheaded with the assistance of then Mayor Gavin Newsom. The program, which has created 1,800 units to date, aims to create 3,000 units of low-income housing by 2014.

“I’m sure people like Angela Alioto who helped us write that program would be proud to see over a hundred of these units dedicated to that program,” Mayor Lee said, adding, “I think we have a lot to celebrate because not only is it a complex thing to do in a very needy community, but it accomplishes so many other goals that the city has articulated and are really, really important.”

Mayor Ed Lee.

Supervisor Jane Kim who represents the Tenderloin neighborhood paid particular tribute to TNDC in its effort to help end homelessness.

“The Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors works really hard to squeeze every dollar that we can to ensure that organizations like TNDC can do the good work that they’re doing to create better equity and more opportunities for the residents of San Francisco,” Kim said. “We do a lot of work around the budget but it’s actually the work of organizations like TNDC and others, that are making the actual difference for the people of San Francisco.”

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim.

Evidence of the happiness brought to the residents of the Civic Center Residence hotel was apparent during a tour of the building, Mayor Lee said.

“It’s all smiles whether they are in a wheelchair, or with a cane, or whether they are walking freely – they live here with a smile because they know that they’ve got a great place to live for long, long time,” he said.

Mayor Lee greets residents at the refurbished Civic Center Residence.

“It’s wonderful to be here,” said Elijah Glasper, 63, a resident and TNDC board member. “I’ve got a roof over my head.”

More Photos

TNDC Executive Director Don Falk takes Mayor Lee on a tour of the building.

California Initiatives Enterprise Community Partners Vice President Rich Gross.

Housing & Urban Health Department Director Mark Trotz.

TNDC Project Manager Serena Schiller.

British-born photographer Keven Meynell ( was commissioned to photograph the residents and unveiled his portraits during the grand re-opening celebrations.

Civic Center Residents were treated to a generous feasting.

Love and kindness in the TL.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for Civic Center Residence Celebrates Grand Re-Opening are now closed.

  1. I sure like living here (Apt. 103) I spent all Winter sleeping on the PORCH of the SINAI JEWISH FUNERAL HOME on DIVISADERIO,  as a HOMELESS JEW, with a VERY NICE VINTAGE JAZZ GUITAR, I felt My G-d would KEEP ME SAFE, at the MOUNTAIN where MOSES MET HIM, Mt. Sinai, AND with the HELP of 3 WONDERFUL Jewish Ladies (At 50 Ivy Homeless Clinic) ROBYN, INYA, and SANDRA, and my Reb….DR. BARRY ZEVIN, the OLD 5′ 2″. 118 Pound HEBREW-HOBO, the RAILROAD-RABBI, …BUSKER-BOXCARRO, has a HOME!!!

  2. Harold Brown


    Thanks so much for the coverage. I haven’t commented on this because it’s too close to home, literally. We’ve both seen the building through the renovation and did a hundred or so Bulldog/Pottalktv/Fog City interviews both before and after the renovation and it’s so much better now to have a toilet to pee in instead of a sink in the corner. No?

    I could write a novel about this building and this room (#415) and already have if you piece together my columns of the last 6 years.

    I missed knowing Kelly Cullen who got this entire Tndc going but it’s been amazing to meet people like Don Falk and Liz Orlin who run the entire operation and are accessible to all of the entire operations tenants at all times.

    Hey, you’re 67 years old and make 865 bucks a month and you’re living in the best city in the world from a room whose yearly overlook of parades makes a Bourbon Street venue embarrassed? With a half bath and fabulous kitchen cabinets and a half refrigerator … ?

    Unbelievable upgrade.

    Go Giants!