(SAN DIEGO) For 35 years San Diego LGBT Pride has been fostering pride and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, locally and globally. After 12 years of occupying office space on Robinson Avenue, San Diego Pride has moved to a larger and more modern space in North Park’s cabaret and arts district.
The San Diego Pride board of directors initially recognized the need for a larger space eight years ago. Since then the organization has unsuccessfully explored several options to either lease or purchase new space within a seven-mile radius of Hillcrest. The recent financial crisis that has heavily impacted the local real estate market finally provided the perfect fiscal opportunity to purchase a new home for San Diego Pride.
The new office, located three blocks south of University Avenue at 3620 30th St, cost $1.03 million; a hefty price tag even for today’s real estate market. Yet, Pride felt the purchase was, in fact, an opportunity.
Before their move was complete the building appraised for $1.04 million.
According to de Harte, sharing the building with two other tenants (already secured) will enable San Diego Pride to save money.
At their previous location, San Diego Pride was leasing less than 1,000 square feet of space for $1.45/sqft a month. The newly acquired space is not only three times that size- it also comes at a 40% cost reduction.
De Harte notes no community fundraiser was sought or used for the purchase of the building.
San Diego Pride, known mostly for it's organization of the Pride Parade, works year round on several programs and also in conjunction with many community organizations. While they do not anticipate increasing their paid staff, they do anticipate that their volunteer staff will continue to grow.
"Pride has experienced an explosive growth in the number of activism and awareness programs since we moved into our previous office,” said de Harte. “These new offices will provide us with adequate space for the legions of volunteers required to produce programs such as the Equality Torch Relay, Rainbow Flag Project, and Walk for Equality, as well as the annual parade and festival.”
The Independent Sector calculated that in 2008, San Diego Pride volunteers donated 7,562 hours of service to support the year-round efforts. The large number of workers translates into an estimated $150,000 in savings for San Diego Pride. These savings, along with the new monthly savings in rent payments, will enable San Diego Pride to continue donating funds to organizations that provide vital necessities across San Diego County to members of the GLBT community.
The building that San Diego Pride will now occupy has many features such as conference and training rooms, a patio, coffeehouse, ample street parking and is also easily accessible by public transportation. Long gone are the boxes piled high in the hallways and space in the new building has even been allocated to display local art.
San Diego Pride hopes to have a grand opening ceremony in late January or early February once the holidays are over. One of their first priority goals for the opening ceremony is to have their landmark flag pole in place. This flag pole will prominently display a large rainbow flag.
“This new building is a sense of pride, not just for our organization but for the community,” says de Harte. “It is wonderful to see the excitement and pride on the faces of the volunteers that have already visited the location and who pour their hearts and souls into volunteering for organizations serving the LGBT community. We have certainly come a long way in 35 years.”