San Francisco, CA (June 06, 2017) – The Margaret E. Haas Fund in partnership with the Presidio Trust today announced plans to rehabilitate the Presidio Theatre, located in the heart of the national park site on the Presidio’s Main Post. Vacant since 1995, the building will be rehabilitated into a high quality and affordable multipurpose space for live theatre, film, dance, music, lectures, educational programming and special events. The two-year rehabilitation will commence this summer, and is expected to be completed in mid-2019.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to create a modern and accessible performing space for artists in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said Margaret “Peggy” Haas, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Margaret E. Haas Fund. “There is a dearth of high quality theatres for live performances – and many of the available spaces are not accessible to smaller performing arts organizations. The Presidio Theatre will offer a place for these groups to showcase their work to a wide range of audiences.”
Located near the historic Presidio Officers’ Club and the expansive green Main Parade Ground, the Presidio Theatre is among the last buildings on the Main Post to be rehabilitated. Originally built in 1939 as a movie theatre for the officers and enlisted men at the post, during World War Two, in 1942, both Jack Benny and Bob Hope brought full casts to perform and record their hugely popular radio shows in the theatre. The theatre was renovated by the Army in 1962, and the last movie was shown in 1994.
The rehabilitation will breathe new life into the historic building while adding great benefit for the Bay Area arts community. When completed, the state-of-the-art theatre will reflect its original 1939 Spanish Colonial Revival design, with approximately 650 seats, a functionally expanded stage, new accessible seating, and code-compliant restrooms. A new pavilion will be created in the open area to the west of the existing theatre that opens onto a new courtyard. The project architect is Hornberger + Worstell and the historic preservation consultant is Knapp Architects, both of San Francisco.
“We are pleased to move forward with this new partnership to bring back a beloved space,” said Francene Gonek, Chief of Business Operations for the Presidio Trust. “This mutually beneficial relationship serves the mandate of the Presidio Trust to be financially self-sufficient while, at the same time, creating new opportunities for public use and enjoyment.”
The Presidio Theatre will be operated and managed by a new non-profit organization set up expressly to support the theatre. It will be host to a mix of theatre, film, dance and music performances as well as lectures, educational programming and special events. Theatre operations will be funded through a mixture of facility rental fees, ticket sales and fundraising.
About the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio and employ a partnership approach to transform it into a new kind of national park. Spanning 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio now operates without federal appropriations, is home to a community of residents and commercial tenants, and offers unique recreation, hospitality, and educational opportunities to people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the world. To learn more please visit
Grier McCurdy Mathews
What is the Presidio Theatre Project?
The Margaret E. Haas Fund, in partnership with the Presidio Trust, is working to rehabilitate the Presidio Theatre (Building 99). Vacant since 1995, it will be repurposed as a high quality and affordable multipurpose space for live theatre, film, dance, music, lectures, educational programs and special events.
What are the features of the Presidio Theatre?
The state-of-the-art theatre will reflect its original 1939 Spanish Colonial Revival exterior design, with approximately 650 seats, a functionally expanded stage, new accessible seating, and code-compliant restrooms. Two new pavilions will be created in the open area to the west of the existing theatre buildings that open onto a new courtyard.
Who will run the Presidio Theatre?
The Presidio Theatre will be run by Presidio Theatre, a new nonprofit organization set up expressly to support the Presidio Theatre operations and management.
What will be offered at the theatre?
The new Presidio Theatre will host a mix of theatre, film, dance, and music performances, along with lectures, educational programs and special events. The venue will also be available for rental by organizations and businesses in the Presidio and beyond for meetings and celebrations.
How will the project be funded?
Full funding for the rehabilitation and re-opening of the Theatre is being provided by the Margaret E. Haas Fund, a Bay Area nonprofit entity. Ongoing operations will be managed by Presidio Theatre, a new nonprofit entity that will fund operations through a combination of facility rental fees, ticket sales and fundraising.
What is the construction timeline?
Summer 2017 – Summer 2019
Will there be an impact on residents concerning parking and traffic?
This project fits in with the Main Post’s overall plan to accommodate parking and traffic. The Main Post Update Plan completed by the Presidio Trust included extensive analysis of future demand for parking in the Main Post—the parking demand anticipated for this project is well within the amount of available parking in the Main Post.
What is the purpose of the project?
There is an unmet need for affordable, mid-size performing arts spaces in San Francisco and the Bay Area. The vision for the Presidio Theatre is to create a place for affordable performance, cultural activities, and educational programs – a place for groups to share their programming with audiences from San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.
Why here in the Presidio?
This project supports the Trust’s vision for the Presidio’s Main Post. The Main Post is the cultural heart of the park and offers diverse destinations, amenities, and events to welcome visitors. The Presidio Theatre is one of the last buildings on the Main Post to be rehabilitated. When complete it will complement the range of activities already available and will bring a beloved historic structure back into public use.
Will it meet standards of historic preservation?
The project is overseen by experienced architects and preservation consultants to ensure that the renovation meets the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The project has been reviewed by the National Park Service and the California Office of Historic Preservation to ensure conformance with applicable Standards under the federal tax historic preservation credit program; approvals are required at both the design phase and after construction is complete.
Presidio Theatre Project Team
HORNBERGER + WORSTELL
PACIFIC UNION DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
PLANT CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
FORELL/ELSESSER ENGINEERS, INC.
GUTTMANN & BLAEVOET CONSULTING ENGINEERS
Theatre Design Consultant
AUERBACH POLLOCK FRIEDLANDER/APF
Historic Preservation Consultant
SHERWOOD DESIGN ENGINEERS
O’MAHONY & MYER/OMM
LANGAN, TREADWELL & ROLLO
AUERBACH GLASOW FRENCH