The Presidio Historical Association, Once Again, Says No No No to Everything – Trust Meeting December 8th, 2010

[UPDATE: Whoops, the meeting, she’s postponed:

“Due to unavoidable scheduling challenges, we regret that the Presidio Trust Public Board of Directors meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, must be postponed. We will reschedule this meeting as early as possible in the new year and will notify the community via Presidio eNews and Thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, please contact the Presidio Trust at (415) 561-5418.”]

I’m not sure if the concept of the Presidio getting a lodge at some point will be “the topic” of the Presidio Trust Board Meeting on December 8th, but the Presidio Historical Association says it will be so there you go.

Anyway, something’s on their minds nowadays.

Read all about it, after the jump

SF Presidio’s Controversial Hotel Proposal Topic of Dec. 8th Meeting

In the long-running battle to preserve the historic, natural and recreational character of the Presidio of San Francisco, the Presidio Historical Association (PHA) is asking concerned citizens to speak out against a hotel proposal at a public meeting of the Presidio Trust Board scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 pm at the Presidio’s Golden Gate Club.

The meeting, which includes time for public comment, is the culmination of efforts by the Presidio Trust, a federal agency charged with overseeing the Presidio National Park’s real estate, to alter the Master Plan it adopted in 2002, which currently prohibits new, inappropriate construction on the Park’s historic Main Post.

“This meeting appears to be the last opportunity for citizens to tell the Presidio Trust’s Board of Directors that they oppose its plans to turn this unique, historic National Park into a high-end commercial district, while failing to protect its single most important historic site – the Main Post — which is a designated National Historic Landmark,” PHA President Gary Widman said.

If the Trust succeeds in changing the Presidio Trust Management Plan (PTMP), it will likely proceed with plans to build a modern, 88,000 sq. ft., 14-building hotel/restaurant complex and various other new structures in the Park’s historic Main Post, which dates back to 1776.

“The Presidio Trust was chartered by federal law to support this National Park, not to transform the Main Post into a commercial district, which is precisely what it will become if the Trust’s plans proceed,” said Widman.

The Trust continues to advocate for the hotel complex despite the fact that San Francisco already has 33,000 privately owned hotel rooms. If approved, the hotel is expected to be built and managed with federal funding since a proposal by the Larkspur Hotel Group to construct the hotel has been quietly withdrawn.

The Presidio Trust appears to have spent more than $1 million in public funds over the past three years to change its Master Plan in order to permit massive new construction within the Main Post. Last year, a public outcry led to the defeat of the Trust’s costly two-year public relations campaign to build a 100,000 sq. ft. contemporary art museum on the Main Post.

At the Trust’s last public meeting on Sept. 22, all speakers opposed the hotel proposal. History, environmental and neighborhood groups joined in opposition to the Trust’s plan to demolish existing buildings and erect a new hotel on federal land with public funds.

“The Presidio Trust continues to ignore its duty to protect the Main Post from commercial construction and development. It proposes instead to create permanent scars on the Park’s most historic site. Though the Presidio is both a National Historic Landmark and a National Park, the Trust seems to have abandoned the values and policies applicable to national parks,” said Widman.

“The Main Post deserves to be preserved so that Park visitors today, tomorrow and in posterity can see the remnants of the Post’s diverse historic periods, and better understand our history, as Congress intended,” he said.

The Golden Gate Club, site of the Dec. 8 meeting, is located in the Presidio at 135 Fisher Loop, just east of the National Cemetery. Ongoing construction within the Presidio has changed some access routes to the Club, so attendees should check routes prior to the event.

For more information, contact the Presidio Historical Association at (415) 921-8193 or visit


Founded in the 1950s, the nonprofit Presidio Historical Association (PHA) has worked in cooperation with the National Park Service and Presidio Trust since 1994 to advocate for preserving the integrity of the Presidio’s National Historic Landmark District, located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).  PHA created a museum for the Army when it was based at the Presidio.  Earlier, PHA helped restore historic Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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5 Responses to “The Presidio Historical Association, Once Again, Says No No No to Everything – Trust Meeting December 8th, 2010”

  1. Terry Graham says:

    Hi: I am involved in this from the historical side, and wonder if anyone has considered that the Presidio apparently is a relatively tax-free zone for businesses who want to locate near SF on the Presidio’s *Federal* land, but want to avoid high SF taxes that support many local services? It is my understanding that by locating on the Presidio, a business pays NO SF payroll taxes, NO SF hotel tax, and avoids paying various fees that are required by the City/County of San Francisco. Real estate agents are talking about this sweet deal…wonder what SF Sups, pro-tax folks, and business owners in SF think about the Presidio Trust’s creating ever more commercial space within the Presidio for businesses. restaurants and hotels that compete with — but are not subject to the same taxes/fees as nearby competitors within SF? What is the total revenue lost to SF coffers? Does SF need yet another commercial hub, or is preserving the Presidio’s open space and recreational opportunities a better option? See you at the Dec. 8th meeting, 6:30 pm, Golden Gate Club, Presidio.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I vote for another commercial hub…

  3. mattymatt says:

    So, what’s the alternative if they don’t build a hotel? What do they put there instead?

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I’m not really up to speed on the latest. It’s possible just nothing happens, as per usual. There are some banal buildings there now, I guess they would stick around longer.

    This meeting would occur with or without the lodge issue.

    The NIMBYs affected the prior proposal so much that it prob couldn’t have made all that much money. I don’t think anyone’s lining up to take this task on, to fight the NIMBYs and operate a lodge in the Presidio.

  5. Elena Giacoman says:

    The Presidio Main Post is the birthplace of San Francisco, and has a rich history which tells the story of the Bay Area, California, the US and the world. The Presidio Trust, together with the National Park Service is charged with restoring the national landmark district and telling the fascinating stories and their meaning for us and our community. Instead, they are burying the history in a shopping mall-like development…maybe with a few brass plates up to commemorate what used to be there.