A new program to support Bayview youth is about to rev up: Project Wreckless, which enlists at-risk youth to rehabilitate classic cars from the ground up, and supports them with job training, scholarships, and mentoring along the way.
The nonprofit recently purchased the $1 million former Metro PCS building at 1449 Mendell St. in Mendell Plaza, which has sat empty for the past five years. It plans to renovate it into an auto restoration center, with office space and programs for youth.
“For nearly eight months, we have been searching all through San Francisco for a space to start our first permanent educational shop," said Jordan Langer, the founder of Project Wreckless. "We could not be more excited to call Bayview home."
Langer, who runs event business Non Plus Ultra, manages events at Pier 70, and is a partner in SoMa cocktail bar Oddjob, plans to kick off the program by purchasing a stripped-down pre-1975 muscle car, and training a cohort of 12 at-risk youth to restore it to its former glory.
The first program is set to last seven months, with the youth each spending 12 weeks working as a mechanic, and the rest of the time rotating between different managerial positions, including human resources, accounting and safety.
At the end of the program, the car will be sold at a national auto auction, where similar vehicles regularly fetch $100,000 or more. The proceeds will be reinvested into scholarships, mentoring, job placement—and another car for a new cohort of youth to work on.
Langer secured the space with the help of the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), and plans to headquarter his event planning business in the building as well. There, he'll provide planning assistance and equipment for a number of community events, including 3rd on Third and the Bayview Pop-Up Market.
“We’re very excited to welcome Mr. Langer to the Bayview," said Joaquin Torres of OEWD. "We know that it will go a long way towards supporting our efforts to activate Mendell Plaza, in a way that's aligned with the community vision for this space and the 3rd Street commercial corridor.”
“We have significant plans in store for improving the facade, interior and surrounding area of the building," noted Langer. “And we're very much looking forward to working with our neighbors at Old Skool Cafe and [the forthcoming] Bishop's Burgers to bring new life to Mendell Plaza."
On May 4th, Langer is hosting a "Gold Tie Gala" at the Old Mint to raise funds for Project Wreckless' new digs. Here's more info:
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