Presidio of San Francisco (April 12, 2004) — In what will be the largest historic preservation project to date at the Presidio, the Presidio Trust Board of Directors has named Forest City Development to revitalize and convert the 70 year-old Public Health Service Hospital for residential use.
ForestCity was selected because it is one of the premier development firms with a specialty in historic preservation projects. Based in Cleveland, ForestCity has proposed a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments. The firm has more than 20 years of experience in San Francisco, and is currently a partner in the revitalizing of the old Emporium building site on Market Street.
The main Public Health Service Hospital building borders the 14th and 15th Avenue entrance gates to the Presidio. The historic core of the building is 173,000 square feet; non-historic additions or “wings” that flank the main hospital are another 125,000 square feet.
The district contains approximately 400,000 square feet of buildings, including the hospital, dormitories, offices, residences, and recreational buildings. In addition to the hospital, ForestCity has the opportunity to include the rehabilitation of some or all of the other historic buildings. The project would be developed on a long-term ground lease.
Presidio Trust Executive Director, Craig Middleton, said, “This is a great project for the park. It will revitalize and beautify a corner of the Presidio that has been vacant for too long.”
First constructed in 1875 as the U.S. Marine Hospital, the hospital cared for merchant seamen from around the world for more than 100 years. In 1902, it was renamed the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service.
By the 1930s, however, the original wooden complex that overlooked Mountain Lake was demolished and replaced with a 480-bed, seven-story building, designed in Georgian Revival style. In 1952, two seven-story wings and a lobby were added to the front of what is commonly called Building 1801.
Created by Congress in 1996, the Presidio Trust is charged with preserving the Presidio’s natural, cultural, scenic, and recreational resources for public use while achieving financial self-sufficiency by 2013. Six presidential appointees and the Secretary of the Interior, or her designee, sit on the Board of Directors and oversee the management of 80 percent of the Presidio lands.”