LIBERTY BANK BUILDING WELCOMES HOME NEW AND FORMER COMMUNITY MEMBERS THIS WEEKEND

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CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL, GEORGIO BROWN IS AMONG THOSE GLAD  TO BE BACK
 
By Jose S. Gutierrez

His story is unlikely and fascinating - arriving in Seattle from Harlem, New York in the early '90s.  It was at the onset of a momentous time in the United States that would see his native New York paddling its way out of the crime-ridden crack-era, while Seattle and other unfortunate communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond were just getting started with eras of social upheaval.  For Georgio Brown - a then aspiring filmmaker, he would find home in Seattle like so many others who transplanted to the Emerald City in the 90’s. 
 
Georgio Brown


The now renown and award-winning filmmaker, documentarian, and media professional would come to the Central District and find a bustling and welcoming community within the community.  "I lived in and love The CD ", says Brown from his downtown Seattle office.  His work speaks for itself as an accomplished director/producer/artist in the visual genre of media  - he loves shooting video and film.  Just a couple years back he celebrated 25 years of documenting the Seattle Hip-Hop scene with public exhibits of his work.  He is the founder and one part of Seattle-based media collective, The Cool Out Network. 
 
Now Brown will continue documenting his interests as he has recently been approved to occupy space at the newly christened Liberty Bank Building on 24th and Union in the historic Central District of Seattle.  The CD - now also known as Africatown, has always been a haven, community nucleus and cultural center for African-Americans for decades.  Brown once lived in the Central District before the onslaught of gentrification transformed the community in short order.  He beams, "It's great to be back.  For a time, community members were having to leave the neighborhood for the suburbs because of the steadily increasing rental and sales costs for housing."  Brown refers to the obvious visual and economic changes that have transformed the Central District since the late 90s.
 
Liberty Bank Building - Credit Outside Thinc


At this point Brown happily returns to Africatown, a moniker bestowed upon The Central District after more than a decade of tireless efforts in planning and preparing to retain the community's identity with projects like the new Liberty Bank Building. "You cannot find rent for an office, studio or one-bedroom unit at the rates that The Liberty Bank Building offers - it is such a big help and I am so thankful to be back in the comfort of my community."  The Liberty Bank Building offers affordable housing for those who are qualified.
 
The brand-new art-laden Liberty Bank Building located in the heart of the Central District on 24th and Union is exactly what many community members have been craving.  In Seattle the crave has been met, if only by this new property.  When the process of gentrification and re-development begins, many people who could once afford housing costs (in communities which are often occupied by multiple generations of family members), quickly become priced out as corporate partners, new arrivals and entire community transformations initiate an often healthy economic and quality of life change.  These changes often come at the expense of community identity and human and cultural capital.  The Liberty Bank Building, however, is a unique development wherein rental cost is based on size of the units (studio and number rooms) coupled with income-based rent control.  "I live downtown in the middle of traffic - both people and vehicular traffic.  I like it because my rent downtown is affordable and I'm in the middle of everything, but I'd rather be back home - no matter the cost.  Returning to the Central District is what I've been waiting for", says Brown who was informed of space-availability just a day before this interview. 
 
"I think this is a dope opportunity to maintain and expand the culture of our community, host community-based events (with the 3,000 square foot rooftop deck hosting amazing views of the city skyline) and meet new people - along with old friends who don't have to move out of the city and county in order to have a comfortable living situation", explains Brown. 
 
The Liberty Bank Building will host its official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday March 23, 2019 at 1405 24th Avenue in Seattle.  Event sponsors/hosts, Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT), The Black Community Impact Alliance (BCIA), Byrd Barr Place (BBP) and Capital Hill Housing (CHH) will be present and the event is open to the public with limited space.  RSVP at http://bit.ly/LBB-2019.
 

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