The Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) hosted a reopening ceremony at its San Francisco’s Japantown building after a year of renovation, presenting to the public its new exterior and a more handicapped-accessible facility.
“A lot of people were very surprised with the renovations and how it looks,” said JCYC Executive Director Jon Osaki. “It was nice to reconnect with people and share the history of the building.”
The celebration took place on Oct. 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 2012 Pine St. and included a dedication in honor of Moriye and Mariko Tokubo, parents of Hiro Tokubo, a major donor to the JCYC. Osaki said he was pleased with the turnout, which he estimated at a couple of hundred guests.
Whereas visitors previously had to climb stairs to enter the building, it is now more accessible with a new street-level entrance and elevator, Osaki said. They also replaced the electrical system and undertook renovations to comply with building codes.
The San Francisco United Methodist Mission leased the original building to JCYC and other Japantown groups in 1974. The JCYC gradually grew and other groups left the facility; in 1994, the JCYC purchased the building as its own.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, was instrumental in securing federal appropriation funds for the renovation project. The JCYC has also received extensive support from PG&E.
Osaki says the most notable of the “extensive” renovations, which he estimates cost between $800,000 and $1 million dollars, is the new exterior.
“The building was in bad shape,” Osaki said. “It’s a totally different exterior. People are used to a rundown, beat-up building with paint peeling. So it’s kind of a shock.”
The JCYC moved to a temporary location on Van Ness between Post and Sutter for about a year during the construction and moved back to Pine Street during the summer.
JCYC is a nonprofit organization that provides a broad range of child and youth development services. Since 1970, it has grown to annually serve more than 8,000 children and youth from all ethnic backgrounds in the Bay Area.
Osaki noted the JCYC’s wide array of youth programming — including preschool, college access and youth employment programs — makes the JCYC one-of-a-kind.
“It’s unique to have such a wide spectrum,” Osaki said.
The completion of this renovation fulfills Osaki’s goal to provide a quality facility for the youth of Japantown. “It’s been my desire to make sure young people have a good quality facility with modern conveniences,” Osaki said. “The Japantown community has built some senior facilities and other buildings, so to me it’s gratifying that the young people now have a great facility as well.”