Presidio of San Francisco (September 23, 2010) — The Presidio’s historic Public Health Service District (PHSD), established more than a century ago to provide care to mariners from around the world, has been rehabilitated as a welcoming new gateway to the Presidio. It now features residences, cultural and educational organizations and public trails that link the Presidio’s natural, historic and recreational attractions. The Presidio Trust, along with its development partner Forest City, is celebrating the re-birth of this corner of the park with a “Green” Grand Opening Saturday, September 25 from 11 am to 4 pm.
Visitors to the open house will be among the first to visit the Presidio’s first green neighborhood and explore places long hidden from public view. They will have the opportunity to take self-guided tours of newly rehabilitated buildings and landscapes around the district; explore an EcoVillage showcasing sustainable ideas and products; enjoy local food, art, and live music; and participate in kid-friendly activities courtesy of the Presidio YMCA.
The first hospital was built in the district in 1875 to provide free medical care to merchant seamen from all over the world. As its mission expanded to include the study and prevention of communicable disease, the hospital was renamed the Public Health Service Hospital in 1912.
Twenty years later, the original wood-frame structure was replaced by a 36-acre campus. The new hospital remained in operation until 1981, when the federal government closed all the Public Health Service Hospitals. The district was incorporated into the Presidio in 1994, just before the Presidio became part of the national park system.
Tucked into a corner along the southern edge of the Presidio, the long empty buildings have undergone amazing transformations, preserving their original character while incorporating contemporary sustainable features. In July of 2010, after a meticulous rehabilitation by Forest City Development, the former hospital opened as thePresidio Landmark with 154 apartment units. Presidio Landmark will be the first adaptive reuse project of an historic building to residential use to achieve LEED NC Gold certification in the Bay Area.
To the east, seven historic homes along Wyman Avenue (3 single-family residences and 8 duplex units) that once housed physicians and their families have been carefully rehabilitated. Much of the homes’ original architectural detail€”doors, window frames and trim€” has been preserved along with some fixtures and flooring. As a result, the homes have retained their historic feel, but with modern, energy efficient heating, plumbing and electrical systems and appliances.
On nearby Belles Street, Forest City has built the only newly constructed residential buildings in the Presidio – The Belles Townhomes. The seven 3-story contemporary townhomes boast panoramic views of the Richmond district and Golden Gate Park. They were built to the highest environmental sustainability standards and have achieved LEED Platinum certification.
Also in the district, the rehabilitation of the historic nurses’ dormitory was awarded LEED CS Gold certification. The entire Public Health Service District is expected to become the first Presidio neighborhood to receive theU.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification and it aims to be the first LEED-ND certified neighborhood in the country that is also an historic landmark district.
The neighborhood features drought resistant landscaping, a unique water recharge system that captures rainwater and reduces run-off, and new streetlights with low levels of illumination so that they don’t block out the sky’s natural light.
New and upgraded trails, including the Lobos Creek Trail, Mountain Lake Trail and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, link the PHSD with the rest of the Presidio and to regional trails. To the west, a new scenic overlook opens on to spectacular views across Lobos Creek Valley towards the Pacific.
There is no parking for the event within the district and 15th Avenue Gate will be closed to through traffic. Free parking, along with a free shuttle, is available at the Main Post (from the south end of the Main Parade Ground). Visitors can also walk, or bike to the event. Free bicycle parking provided by the SF Bike Coalition.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.”