CFAH

With the detailed proposals for the three finalists competing to redevelop the Presidio’s former Commissary site in hand, here’s the quick summary of how the proposals compare in terms of projected attendance, space, parking, timeline and dollars:
Lucas Cultural Arts Museum
Attendance (projected, annual): 500,000 – 750,000 visitors
Building: 93,000 square feet
Parking: 350 underground spaces
Cost: $300 million
Development Timeline: 3 Years
Funding: George Lucas


The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Presidio Exchange
Attendance (projected, annual): 460,000 Visitors
Building: 97,000 square feet, including re-use of existing Commissary building
Parking: 350 surface spaces
Cost: $119 million
Development Timeline: Two phases over 5.5 Years
Funding: Capital Campaign TBD
The Bridge Institute
Attendance (projected, annual): 550,000 Visitors
Building: 92,000 square feet
Parking: None
Cost: $185 million
Development Timeline: 4 Years
Funding: Capital Campaign TBD
As a point of reference, San Francisco’s old Exploratorium registered roughly 580,000 visitors last year.
The Three Competing Designs For The Presidio’s Commissary Site [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    I still don’t see what the Parks Conservancy proposal adds to existing programming in the Presidio. Everything that’s being proposed already takes place at the Golden Gate Club and the soon to be completed Officers’ Club (undergoing extensive renovation) — not to mention the outdoor events at the Main Post.
    While I prefer the Conservancy’s architectural proposal to Lucas’, its programming strikes me as highly redundant.

  2. Posted by james jr

    This is a no-brainer. Lucas all the way.
    The other two have no financing and a much longer timeline.
    The Bridge provides no parking. How do they expect 550K visitors to get there? Bicycles?

  3. Posted by Invented

    How do they expect 550K visitors to get there? Bicycles?
    Wishing I cold say the extended F line.
    All in time.

  4. Posted by ringus

    Am I the only one who will miss the sports basement? Thousands of people use SB as a base for enjoying outdoor activities in the area, cycling, running, etc. I think all of these proposals will be net negative for me.

  5. Posted by JWS

    Sooooo let’s look at this realistically.
    There is one option that includes parking, has funding ready to go, will be built the quickest, and most importantly HAS A CONCEPT THAT PEOPLE WILL SHOW UP FOR.
    The Bridge Institute is delusional. They wouldn’t get half the number of attendees even if they HAD parking.
    I know the building isn’t forward thinking, but a museum is infinitely more than the building it’s in…it’s the quality of the exhibits and the concept. And conceptually, Lucas’ proposal is going to resonate with the public at large the most BY FAR.
    If any of the other two are chosen purely based on exterior architecture, I may officially give up on this city.

  6. Posted by zzzzzz

    Per ringus:
    “Am I the only one who will miss the sports basement? Thousands of people use SB as a base for enjoying outdoor activities in the area, cycling, running, etc. I think all of these proposals will be net negative for me.”
    Definitely my sentiments. I use the Sports Basement constantly and feel that it’s in effect a cultural facility, highly relevant to contemporary use of the Presidio. My first choice would be to leave the Sports Basement as is and discard the other proposals.

  7. Posted by Futurist

    Sports Basement a “cultural facility”?
    That’s a new one, and a new low. Guess what? it’s a private business, selling mostly over priced crap from China and Taiwan.
    Glad to see the SB go.
    I support the Lucas project, somewhat reluctantly, only because his architectural solution is so uninspiring and cheesy.

  8. Posted by Anon94123

    I also vote Sports Basement. Having Sports Basement and The Presidio/Crissy Field nearby is why I love the north side of the city.

  9. Posted by Geno

    @JWS & @zzzzzz, Sports Basement is going to move down toward Chrissy Field.

  10. Posted by MarinaBoy

    Lucas all the way! I love the building, it might not be very exciting but it creates a sense of old world charm, along with all the parking underground so we won’t see all the cars. It will create more green space and open areas. If SF passes this opportunity up we are a city that can look a gift horse in the mouth and say no. Hopefully this time we say Thank You, and build it!

  11. Posted by Futurist

    Just what we need: FAKE “old world charm”
    Welcome to the Lucas version of Disneyland.
    Terrible design.

  12. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I know the building isn’t forward thinking, but a museum is infinitely more than the building it’s in…it’s the quality of the exhibits and the concept. And conceptually, Lucas’ proposal is going to resonate with the public at large the most BY FAR.

    You sir, are obviously a member of or are speaking about members of the middlebrow masses who need to be “challenged” by a cutting-edge modernist building, as chosen by the members of the cultural elite who really understand what should be built in this city.
    All sarcasm aside, as JWS says here and I alluded to in the previous thread, the other two proposals don’t have any money attached, and only vague ideas about where they’re going to get it, so I hope the Presidio board accepts Lucas’ proposal and it gets built.

  13. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I like Sports Basement too. They’ve been a solid sponsor of all sorts of progressive ideas and a good corporate citizen. Plus I bought a really nice bike from the Presidio SB at a bargain price and their bike repair staff have been nothing but excellent. But lets not forget that they’re a for profit private business. At any moment new management could be swapped in and decide to trim away their loss leader programs that benefit the community.
    I’m all for the Lucas proposal too. I just hope that the Presidio and Lucas can iron out their differences on the design of the building. The concept and exhibits are far more important and not controversial.
    The building that an institute is housed within is at most a secondary consideration. Lets nor forget that one of the City’s most loved museums, the Exploratorium, just moved from one left over and borrowed building into another. No big egos to interfere.

  14. Posted by Lars

    I am have likes of designs two ur three. Both of them are giving good reasons for my Mor to visit me and they would look good with my EXPEDIT shelving unit and my MALM dresser.
    At least we can be getting rid of Sports Basement used mostly by people who live here and instead create another stops for many travelling Mainland Chinese tourists to be learning about Western Kultur.

  15. Posted by johntrev

    Agree that the proposed Lucas building looks like a grandiose shopping mall building, with little that invokes the Pan Pacific Expo buildings it is said to be inspired by.
    The Sports Basement is hoping to rehabilitate and move to the warehouses along Mason street near the Marina gate, east of the current location.
    [Editor’s Note: The Sports Basement’s New Presidio Home.]

  16. Posted by tj

    At this point I almost feel sorry for George.
    If his attendance numbers are lower than anticipated, the Presidio will be saddled with an underused monumental structure, another Palace of Fine Arts but lacking its romantic quality of a ruin. (Regardless of the historicist form of the structure by which they are surrounded, it is hard to develop a romantic association from a building with large expanses of stock aluminum framed, insulated reflective glass). If they are accurate, the recreation-oriented users of this portion of the park will be displaced by tourists and tour busses, and the Presidio will have defaulted on its mission as a National Park – to respect and preserve a place of outstanding natural beauty – becoming instead just another piece of real estate for outside interests to develop for their personal agrandisement.

  17. Posted by tj

    Further comparisons:
    Crystal Bridges, Bentonville (Alice Walton) 565,000 visitors
    Sumaya, Mexico City (Carlos Slim): 833,000 visitors
    Neither is located within a national park, but at least Mexico City got a good building from the deal.

  18. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Question for Futurist (“FAKE ‘old world charm'”) and/or tj (“…a building with large expanses of stock aluminum framed, insulated reflective glass”), how do you know what materials the building is going to be built from by looking at a rendering? Are you pulling information from some other, more detailed document?
    Granted, Futurist might be using the word ‘FAKE’ in the sense that the precious architectural illuminati think that every building that isn’t modernist is somehow ‘FAKE’ because it doesn’t reflect the prevailing style of the time it was built (in thise case, modernism). And I understand that this is the conventional wisdom, and that’s why aesthetic elitists like to deride folks who don’t share that point of view, people like Lucas.
    My own view is that the epithets “Fake” and the ever-popular “Disneyland” would be appropriate if the building were built using materials that mimicked, but only in a superficial way, those that would be used to build a more traditional style, but in a cheaper manner. Because that’s why you see at Disneyland.
    But of course, we only have a rendering at the moment, and so we can’t tell whether or not the completed building will be ‘Fake’ in this sense or not.

  19. Posted by wiger toods

    Tune in to NPR tomorrow at 9am or rebroadcast at 10am for a discussion on the PCC proposals.

  20. Posted by Futurist

    Brahma, you need to relax your distaste for what you call the “architectural illuminati”. It’s wearing and it just shows your insecurity to have a conversation about architectural design.
    I call the Lucas building “fake” because it lacks authenticity, and integrity. It simply mimics a past architectural style (and not too well) only because he, the man with the money LIKES and PREFERS nostalgic and historicist architecture. Nothing more than that. His reasoning is not terrible deep. That’s his call.
    The buildings designed and built during the Pan Pacific Exposition were truly authentic, because they reflected the prevailing design aesthetic at that time. I don’t call the Palace of Fine Arts Fake, because it really is of an earlier period, expressing to us what many, but not all, architects and the public preferred at that period.
    And no, I’m not an “aesthetic elitist”. Why continue to use terms like that? how does it advance the conversation?

  21. Posted by Philip

    I don’t suppose they would consider anything that is actually needed in the Presidio, something that would make money and pay good rents, like maybe a…supermarket?
    No let’s build a half-assed monument to something that sounds nice. Well, at lease Lucas has the cash and a plan. The other two ideas are typical pie in the sky. What an embarrassment.

  22. Posted by Alai

    The buildings designed and built during the Pan Pacific Exposition were truly authentic, because they reflected the prevailing design aesthetic at that time. I don’t call the Palace of Fine Arts Fake, because it really is of an earlier period, expressing to us what many, but not all, architects and the public preferred at that period.
    Oh COME ON. The thing was crumbling, and had to be restored, because it was literally built from fake stone. It was an nostalgic imitation of Greek and Roman architecture. I mean, it’s nice, but you don’t get much more fake than that.
    Your argument is “it was authentic because people authentically preferred fake architecture.”

  23. Posted by Alai

    …and a supermarket? Of all the places to build a supermarket, you’d choose the one place that’s half a mile from any housing whatsoever?

  24. Posted by Spencer

    i will miss sports basement. it is a hub for active people across SF. I prefer it over any of these proposals

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