BACLT and McGee Avenue Baptist Church hosted a groundbreaking celebration at the Stuart Street Apartments. The event marked the start of long-awaited restoration for these eight vacant apartments that will become a permanently affordable housing cooperative in South Berkeley’s historic African American community. The apartments are also the first financing project of both the Berkeley Small Sites Program and the Bay’s Future Fund.
The project, funded by the City of Berkeley Small Sites Program, the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and the Bay’s Future Fund, and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation restores eight long-vacant apartments located next to McGee Avenue Baptist Church, which has long provided crucial community services in South Berkeley’s historic African American community. The apartments will become a permanently affordable low-income housing cooperative under BACLT's stewardship.
Established in 1918 as the first African American Baptist church community in the area, the church moved to its McGee Avenue location in 1933. This project was honored with a preservation grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in July of 2019, one of only twenty-two grant recipients out of hundreds of applicants across the United States.
“We’re proud to support the Bay Area Community Land Trust and McGee Avenue Baptist Church as they strive to transform the Stuart Street Apartments into affordable housing, while honoring one of the oldest African American communities in Berkeley,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Historically African American neighborhoods like this one weave together a narrative of community, and it is important that we preserve and protect this cultural fabric.”