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Statement from the Presidio Trust Board of Directors
NOVEMBER 21, 2013
The Presidio Trust Board of Directors has met to reaffirm its strong commitment to accomplishing an outcome in the Mid-Crissy area that will protect the park and bring long-term benefit to the Presidio and its visitors. There is no question that the Crissy Field area is one of the most spectacular sites in the world, and the Board appreciates the public outpouring of interest regarding its future.
The Board believes that there is tremendous thought, creativity, and potential in the proposals offered by the three finalists. The Board also understands that it holds the option of not necessarily selecting any team at this point. Such is the importance of the site that we take seriously our duty to do right by it, even if that means waiting. That said, we are very enthusiastic about the proposals, and appreciate the wonderful work that has gone into them, the generosity behind them, and the promise they hold for enhancing the Presidio.
We have sought to engage in a fair and open public process – from the development of the Mid-Crissy design guidelines, to the release, in November 2012, of the Request for Concept Proposals and the subsequent Request for Proposals. In the interest of transparency, the Board would like to share its observations at this point in the process.
The Board would like to officially offer each team an additional opportunity to revise its proposal in response to feedback received from the public, the Board, and others.
As we near a decision on the future of the Mid-Crissy site, the Board is focused on three key areas:  achieving program clarity; ensuring the building’s compatibility with the Presidio; and understanding how economic viability will be assured.
  • The Bridge/Sustainability Institute: An amazing architectural group has teamed up with a compelling programmatic visionary around the issues of sustainability.  We agree with the proponents that sustainability is “perhaps the defining issue of our time,” and appreciate the blending of the physical building and the program in an effort to advance a holistic understanding of sustainability.  We also see a clear connection between the sustainability issue and our work at the Presidio – in environmental restoration, historic preservation, environmental education, and financial sustainability.  We are concerned, however, about the institutional capacity of the team to, without significant funds or fundraising help from the Trust, deliver and sustain the project financially.  We encourage the WRNS/Chora team to bring more clarity to the question of who might fund the building and early programming, and what institution will be created to operate and sustain the Bridge.  While the building is “light on the land,” it is also too large and we urge some consolidation of the building program.
  • Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (LCAM):  The Board recognizes and appreciates both the generosity and opportunity represented in George Lucas’s offer to build a cultural arts museum in the Presidio.  We are enthusiastic about the state-of-the-art exhibits, strong community programming, and notable art collection that is offered in the proposal.  The Trust is particularly excited about the potential of exceptional educational programming to draw diverse audiences to the museum and the greater Presidio.  Despite this, we have significant issues with the proposed building – its massing and height, and its architectural style – and believe it should be redesigned to be more compatible with the Presidio.  We would also like to understand more fully the potential role of the Trust in partnership with LCAM, particularly in creating programmatic connections that would add value to other park programs throughout the Presidio.
  • Presidio Exchange (PX):  There is no question about the level of expertise, design excellence and community engagement that the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy brings to each project it undertakes.  The Presidio, and the broader Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is replete with examples of the Conservancy’s good work and of its ethos of partnership in the public interest.  The Conservancy’s approach to programming at the PX – intended to be varied, flexible and relevant over time to park audiences – is fascinating.  Yet, these attributes also make it harder to understand what the PX is truly striving for programmatically.  What is the master narrative?  Is there an overall theme, or focus, that can be better articulated so that the Trust will understand how PX programming will differ from/complement existing or planned programs, such as the Presidio Visitor Center, Heritage Center, and Crissy Field Center?
We will continue our conversations with each of the teams, and have asked them to come back to us with revisions to their proposals by January 17, 2014. At that time, we will post any revisions on the Trust website and will hold a public meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board will not make a decision about the future direction for the Mid-Crissy site until after the public meeting. Throughout this time period, we welcome public comments via email, mail, or in person at the public meeting.
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​​The Presidio Trust is considering three proposals for the mid-Crissy Field site. We invite you to share your comments >>