Welcome to the International Hotel. This 104-unit building for low income seniors is the fruit of decades of struggle beginning in the late 1960’s when it served as a residential hotel for Filipino & Chinese elderly, immigrant workers and families. Storefronts along Kearny St. housed small community businesses and services. The hotel was last owned by the Four Seas Corporation, which was responsible for the eviction of tenants in 1977 and the demolition of the building in 1978. This mighty struggle of the community against the continued encroachment of the financial district culminated finally in the development of today’s senior housing and community space on the original site of the I-Hotel. The entire struggle involved numerous groups and individuals over the span of almost 40 years in an area which was Manilatown, adjacent to Chinatown in San Francisco.
It is because of this prolonged struggle and the sustained determination of many advocates that this project lives both in the past and the present. On the one hand, few who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1977 will forget the inhumane eviction of elderly Filipino and Chinese tenants in the middle of the night with thousands of supporters demonstrating outside the hotel against the eviction. On the other hand, few know of the struggle that took place for 27 years following the eviction as the community strove to take back the site for affordable housing and finally succeeded with the opening of the new I-Hotel in 2005. Also less widely known is what happens now at the new I-Hotel.
Here you will find a brief, but accurate chronology and accounting of the entire struggle. Representatives of key organizations contributed to the history presented: International Hotel Senior Housing, Inc. Board of Directors, International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee, Manilatown Heritage Foundation and the Chinatown Community Development Center.
You will also find a description of the current International Hotel, building management and the services and activities provided at the site under the direction of the owners of the building, the International Hotel Senior Housing, Inc. a non-profit public benefit corporation.
There was much celebration over this victory of the community when the new I-Hotel opened in 2005; that excitement continues as a sense of community grows among residents, staff and participants in the activities taking place in the building.
May the soul of the original I-Hotel, the current I-Hotel and the community live long into the future, even beyond the lives of the dedicated advocates who made and continue to make this possible.