Located a block and a half south of the Powell Street BART station, the historic Dempster Building at 447 Minna Street offers affordable workspace (performance, exhibition, meeting and office spaces) to arts and culture groups ranging from youth arts and music education to local Filipino arts and community-based organizations.
After nearly two years of renovations beginning in March 2020, this early 20th-century industrial building has been adapted into a multi-tenant community space that can accommodate a variety of arts uses, from dance performances, screenings, exhibitions, and pop-ups, to more intimate readings, lectures, and workshops.
With office space on the upper floors, the ground floor provides access to shared facilities for gatherings, programming, and event uses, including a fully-equipped modern black box theater, state-of-the-art conference room, and direct access to an outdoor stage at the Parks at 5M open for private and public rentals.
Bound by Mission, Fifth and Howard streets, the 5M project entails new construction, rehabilitation, and renovation of existing buildings and open space for 1.8 million square feet of office and residential uses.
The 10,200 square foot space at 447 Minna is situated at the epicenter of Brookfield Properties’ 5M site, a four-acre, mixed-use development project in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.
Beginning in 2015, Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) was approached by the 5M Project and started discussions with its developer, Brookfield Properties (then Forest City), around forming a partnership to develop the historic Dempster Building for arts and culture uses.
As part of a community benefits agreement with the City of San Francisco, Brookfield Properties donated 447 Minna (Dempster Building) to CAST in 2019. CAST leveraged the multi-million dollar building, fundraised for renovations and tenant improvements starting March 2020, and after nearly two years, opened to the public in March 2022.
CAST’s vision is to transform the four-story building into a community arts and cultural hub that will help maintain and amplify the rich character that SoMa has had for the last several decades.
CAST’s office headquarters currently reside on the 4th floor, which it shares with fellow nonprofit Women’s Audio Mission (WAM). WAM is changing the face of sound by providing hands-on training, work experience, career counseling, and job placement to over 4,000 women and girls every year in creative technology for music, radio, film, television, and the internet.
On the 3rd floor, we welcome PUSH Dance, a San Francisco-based arts nonprofit and contemporary dance company that examines issues of identity and intersecting cultures through performance. As the first home base for PUSH, they have conceived their floor as “The Sanctuary” with an ADA-accessible dance floor and convertible studio to amplify the voices of BIPOC artists and communities.
About 447 Minna
The historic Dempster building is a remnant of a bygone era when South of Market was mostly an industrial district filled with printing presses, repair shops, and a patchwork of hotels and warehouses. Built in 1907, it first served as a printing facility before being acquired by the Hearst Corporation to be used as a photo archive and test kitchen.
Now as present-day 447 Minna, CAST has reimagined the space as a dedicated cultural center and intimate performance venue hosting arts and cultural events, workshops, pop-ups, and community activities. Adding to the legacy of cultural spaces that have long anchored the SoMa neighborhood, 447 Minna will provide a home for artists and culture bearers to dream and be fearless—a place to create, connect, and be inspired.
Why 447 Minna was created
447 Minna was developed by CAST to help fill the gap in the lack of affordable, accessible spaces for arts and culture in San Francisco and the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. Given SoMa’s long history of displacement, specifically in the Filipino community, coupled with the increasingly expensive real estate prices of the Bay Area, CAST saw a role to play—create a community gathering space promoting arts and culture to build connection and inclusion.
CAST has a decade-long history in thinking outside the box and putting community first so that creative expression and cultural connection can thrive. At 447 Minna, providing stable, affordable spaces for SoMa, particularly the Filipino and LGBTQIA+ communities, and beyond is part of that goal.
For many groups, carving out the space to dream doesn’t involve purchasing their home. Through 447 Minna, CAST removes the pressure and responsibilities of ownership so artists and residents can focus on what matters most—their practice and being in community.