News Briefs

Crissy Field Falls Fallow

If you’ve been following the story of a future mid-Crissy Field development at the Presidio, you know that from 18 proposals, the Presidio Trust narrowed the finalists to three: the George Lucas Cultural Arts Museum; the Conservancy, and Bridge. You also may know that after receiving the plans in December, the Trust returned them to the finalists and requested a second round of submissions which, in the Trust’s view, adhered more closely to the Presidio’s standards. A public meeting drawing more than 500 interested community members was held in January, with 96 audience members taking the microphone to express opinions and preferences.

Finally D-Day — Decision Day — arrived. In a hastily-called February news conference, Nancy Bechtle, president of the Trust’s Board of Directors, announced that the Trust’s choice was: no one.

No one? In a project that had been in the planning stages since 2011, the Trust had decided to postpone all development activity for the area. According to the Trust, “The Presidio Trust Board of Directors has unanimously decided not to pursue any of the proposals to build a cultural institution in the historical Presidio along Crissy Field.”

The finalists were as surprised as the community. Representatives of all three wrote formal, pleasant responses expressing the honor of being asked and their continued support of the Presidio. However, in at least one carefully worded statement, David Perry of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum indicated that there had been no indication of the outcome.

“The reasons the Trust rejected our proposal — or the other two — are known, specifically, only to the Trust board and staff,” Perry said. At this point, none of the three teams has publicly announced future intentions.

“All three proposals are excellent expressions of generosity and vision for this iconic location,” said Bechtle. “After much deliberation, however, we have determined that none are right for this landmark site at this time. We thank all three finalists, their supporters, the public, our neighbors, and the citizens of San Francisco for their input.” Stay tuned.

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– Marilyn Damon Diamond