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2022 Summer Retreat

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About African-American Cultural Center Project

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More than just a Cultural Center, the African American Cultural Center Project will be a mixed-
use, signature project consisting of three major components: a new home for the African
American Community Services Agency with flexible retail, community, commercial space, and
extremely and very low income, permanent supportive housing Along with on-site health clinic
from Roots Community Clinics and behavioral health services from Ujima Adult and Family

The community center, to be owned and operated by AACSA, will represent the foundation of
the project. The Center will serve as a hub for people celebrating and experiencing the on-going
contributions of African Americans – in education, music, theater, dance, science, athletics,
business, and many other aspects of American life. It will bring together people from all walks of
life and foster mutual understanding and appreciation rooted in the values and ideals that drive
the evolution of dynamic cultures worldwide. The development will take into consideration,
surrounding neighborhoods, residences and businesses.

The center will include meeting halls, banquet facilities, service organization offices, youth
development facilities, a library, a Museum Gallery, social service providers, family, senior, and
youth programs, child care, retail shops and a theatre/auditorium. The Site is within a

commercially zoned area of the Alameda West Urban Village, which pushes us to create a
“signature project” with features and amenities above and beyond those found in typical
commercially zoned properties. The AACCP will be a “campus” that includes all the amenities a
state-of-the-art mixed-use facility requires with complementary open space features that link the
affordable housing to the community center.

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The AACC Board of Directors chose to partner with San Jose’s First Community Housing (FCH) as
it’s housing and project developer.

FCH is a recognized leader in creating green, affordable housing and like FCH’s other new
construction projects, the African American Cultural Center Project will be designed as a LEED
Platinum project. In addition to sustainable building strategies such as selecting healthy building
materials, incorporating water and energy efficient measures, and providing each household with
free Eco Passes, FCH will seek out innovative new technologies to showcase in this signature

The AACC/FCH team chose Architects, Moody Nolan, a nationally recognized, largest Black
owned architectural business headquartered in Ohio, in partnership with YA Studios, another
Black owned architectural firm from San Francisco are the Architectural firms of record for the
project. Together both firms have created beautiful renderings, and in doing so, have shown the
greatness of their experience, partnership and commitment to this iconic project. Recently,
preliminary renderings have been submitted to the City of San Jose’s, Housing and Planning
departments by our architectural teams.

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African-American Cultural Center, First Community Housing, African-American Community Service Agency welcomes AACC project African American Architects

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On Saturday November 20, 2021, the African American Cultural Center project (AACC Project), First Community Housing and the African-American Community Service agency, hosted the architects from San Francisco based YA Studios and nationally recognized Moody-Nolan for a meet and greet breakfast at Bills Cafe. Once breakfast concluded, the group toured project relevant sites throughout San Jose in transportation provided by Mosaic Global transportation, in a world class 16 passenger Mercedes Executive SUV. Our first stop was at 2001 The Alameda in San Jose, CA. This location is home to the Cultural Center housing, retail spaces, and commercial development that will be available to the community in the future.

David Mineta, CEO of Momentum for Health and seller of the development site, had many offers for the property. Despite the many offers from commercial developers, David was responsible for making certain that the development site was sold to an organization whose mission was focused on human services. His group chose the AACC project to do just that. David, who also joined us for breakfast, gave the group a tour of the development site. Mineta has committed to remain involved in the success of the AACC project. His familiarity with the neighborhood and his commitment to the project’s success is important and most welcome.

After visiting the development site, the next stop on our tour was the Roots Community Health Clinic and Ujima Adult and Family Services, a shared nearby facility. There we met Alma Burrell, Roots Clinic Regional Director. During the facility tour, there was a class from Ujima Adult and Family services of Teen Youth meeting on this beautiful Saturday morning. Roots is a community driven clinic being the first community clinic in Santa Clara county to begin Covid-19 testing and currently provide vaccines to the community. Next we traveled to the local commerce and transportation centers to famalirare the architects with the surrounding areas. After viewing Marketplace mall on Coleman Street, we headed to Diridon station, the future home of BART, High Speed Rail and CalTrain. From there the group traveled to San Jose City Hall, on the way to the Mexican Heritage center. The staff at the Heritage Center welcomed our group as they gave a wonderful tour of the iconic Mexican Heritage site with Performing arts, theatre, school and other facilities. While we were there, people from the community were receiving Covid-19 vaccines. From the Mexican Heritage center, we visited the beautiful under construction Vietnamese Service Center.

From there we headed to the African-American Community Service Agency(AACSA). Once there, Milan Balinton, AACSA Executive Director headed an AACSA employee Stakeholder meeting. This is one of nine Stakeholder meetings hosted by the AACSA. These Stakeholder meetings are an opportunity for segments of the African/African Ancestry community to weigh in on what they would like to see in the New African-American Community Service Agency project. Today’s Stakeholder meeting with service provider employees from the various AACSA programs was very informative. They spoke of direct suffering, barriers and homelessness, Covid-19 housing, and other very important family related issues.

At the end of the Stakeholder meeting, Milan gave a tour of the facility and the amazing work that has been done over the last 3 years. The current Staff there have been non stop servants to the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are our communities first responders and their work has justified the need for the “New” African-American Community Service agency.

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