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Precita Eyes Gets To Keep Its Studio

Building bought with $400k down payment raised by community group, neighbors

You can stop holding your breath: Precita Eyes Muralists isn't being evicted, and neither are the folks in the apartments upstairs. That’s according to the Mission Economic Development Agency, the Latino-centric community group who now say they’ve successfully closed the deal on their bid to buy the 100-plus year old building on behalf of the tenants.

The Precita Eyes Muralist Association was founded in 1977, and recently became the first nominee for the city’s Prop J-enabled Legacy Business Registry (although now it looks like they probably won’t need the help). Precita Eyes already owns a building on 24th Street, but the actual Precita Avenue workshop where they teach art classes to kids has always been a rental.

Last August, the dreaded "For Sale" sign appeared on the property. The art association responded by posting a sign of their own reading, "Please Don’t Buy This Building." In December, MEDA stepped in, and the two groups cooked up a plan to raise money and buy the place themselves.

The building was listed at nearly a million dollars, and almost all of the $400,000 down payment was raised via a bridge loan program organized by local housing activist (and landlord herself) Spike Kahn, which amalgamated "Good Neighbor" loans from Precita boosters.

Lenders will eventually be paid back by the city’s Small Sites Acquisition Fund, which couldn’t step in to finance the building purchase itself (as it’s designed to do) because it’s presently broke.

Originally, MEDA and company had a late January deadline, but the landlord extended them a little bit of extra time to get finances in order. The buy should also save the leases of four people who rent apartments over the studio.