Exterior of African American Community Service Agency, beige two floor building with blue trims and black fence
The Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center aims to break ground next year and host a variety of services, including an on-site health clinic and more than 100 apartments. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

A proposed cultural center aiming to honor the history of Silicon Valley’s Black residents and provide expansive support services just received millions to help build on its future.

The Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center, slated to open in 2027, has secured $4.1 million in federal funding thanks to Rep. Ro Khanna. The mixed-use development will be built on a roughly 2.7-acre lot at 2001 The Alameda in San Jose, and provide housing and a full menu of community services, including an on-site health clinic from Roots Community Clinic. The center also received about $14.9 million from the county in Measure A funding in 2022 to purchase the land.

“The investment in the Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center will help provide a space for multiple functions, including community events, retail and affordable housing,” Khanna told San José Spotlight. “It will create a place for the African American community in Silicon Valley and across the state to visit for cultural gatherings and services.”

The 84-foot-high building will include more than 100 apartments and 100,575 square feet of commercial space, according to initial design plans. It will also serve as the new home for the San Jose African American Community Services Agency and feature an on-site clinic, behavioral health services from Ujima Adult and Family Services, and retail and community spaces.

Early rendering of the African American Cultural Center
Rendering of proposed Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center on The Alameda will be the new home for the African American Community Services Agency and a host of services. Courtesy of Walter Wilson.

“It’s going to be an amazing development and, more importantly, it’s not just going to be a box. It’s going to be a beautiful work of art,” Project Manager Walter Wilson told San José Spotlight.

Wilson added that pre-development is mostly complete and the project team is working on entitlements and designs.

The center has an estimated price tag of $200 million, but the project team is preparing for a 10-month campaign to raise $50 million for the project’s non-housing parts. Wilson said they’re already about halfway there.

“With the kind of resources here in this valley, I think it’ll be challenging but I think it is doable, in a 10-month period, to raise the $25 million we need to raise,” he told San José Spotlight.

The funding obtained by Khanna is the largest contribution yet. It’s part of a total $14.7 million secured by the congressmember for community projects across his district, all of which will go toward infrastructure and supportive services.

The project also received $3 million from the state, thanks to state Sen. Dave Cortese. Wilson said they sent requests for funding to the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office and state Assemblymember Ash Kalra for the next budget cycle. The project is looking to gather support from private companies in the area, with Google already signed on as a sponsor.

Year after year, research has shown that Black residents of Silicon Valley experience staunch structural inequality and are moving out of the region. The 2023 Silicon Valley Pain Index — an annual report by researchers at San Jose State University — spotlights inequality along the lines of wealth and race across the region. Last year, it showed that .01% of households in the region own $323 billion of total wealth and that about 26% of Black residents own a home compared to 63% of white residents.

While the center will serve as a hub for the Black community, Wilson said services will be open to anyone who comes in. The African American Community Services Agency serves people from any background, and he said the new location will give the agency space and opportunity to increase services tenfold.

“We’re moving very fast,” Wilson said. “(We’re) very positive about where we are, we’re picking up partners every day.”

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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