Presidio of San Francisco (August 28, 2003) — Three firms have been selected by the Presidio Trust to submit detailed proposals to revitalize and convert the historic, 70-year old Public Health Service Hospital for residential use. It is the largest preservation project to date at the Presidio.
The firms, AvalonBay Communities Inc., Forest City Development, and a team made up of the John Stewart Company and the Related Companies of California, have two months to propose their plans to rehabilitate the former hospital, which sits on the southwestern edge of the Presidio and has been unoccupied since 1981.
The main hospital building, which borders the 14th and 15th Avenue entrance gates, is an historic structure of about 173,000 square feet. Non-historic additions or “wings” total about 125,000 square feet and flank the main hospital.
AvalonBay Communities, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading residential real estate companies. They have partnered with Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest senior housing providers in the nation. Forest City Development is one the nation’s most experienced real estate development companies, with extensive experience in the rehabilitation of historic buildings into residential uses. John Stewart Company currently manages approximately 1,000 Presidio residential units, and the Related Companies of California is a very active developer of market rate and affordable housing projects.
The hospital district contains a total of 400,000 square feet of buildings, including the hospital, dormitories, offices, residences and recreational buildings. In addition to the hospital, the firms have the opportunity to include the rehabilitation of some or all of the other historic buildings in their proposals.
Rehabilitating the hospital building for residential use and maintaining the character of the historic complex are the key goals for the site. The three finalists will make a formal presentation of the detailed project proposals to the Presidio Trust board at a public meeting in October.
The public health hospital had been the U.S. Marine Hospital, and for a century cared for merchant seaman from around the world. It was first built in 1875, overlooking Mountain Lake. In 1902 it was renamed the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service.
By the 1930s, however, the original wooden complex 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 while achieving financially 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.”