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Old U.S. Mint to receive $1 million grant for restoration

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The Old Mint is located at Fifth and Mission streets. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)
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City, state and community leaders on Tuesday announced a $1 million grant to begin rehabilitating the Old U.S. Mint in San Francisco.

The grant will fund a general feasibility study to identify the best way to rehabilitate and utilize the property. A full set of business and financial projections will be developed for the planned renovation and ongoing operation of the facility.

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The grant will be administered by the California State Library through the California Historical Society for the development. The California Historical Society plans to make the Old U.S. Mint the organization’s new home upon completion.

The grant was approved by the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown as part of the state’s 2017 budget. State Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblymember Phil Ting, both D-San Francisco, together with Mayor Ed Lee lobbied for approval of the grant.

“Today marks an important milestone for helping restore the Old Mint,” Leno said. “This $1 million grant provides important resources to ensure a successful venture that will benefit the entire state.”

Jon Lau, project manager for the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, said it would take approximately $100 million to complete the project based on similar buildings and projects in The City. The working vision for the property includes having the California Historical Society as the anchoring organization with use by other nonprofits and neighborhood cultural groups.

Dr. Anthea Hartig, executive director of the California Historical Society, said the organization has ideas of sharing the space with other nonprofits. The historical society envisions the Old Mint becoming a cultural commons where various community groups can showcase exhibits and conduct research in collaboration with the historical society.

Lau also said that part of the grant will be used to craft the best way to engage the philanthropic community to leverage various government sources of funding.

California was only 15 years old when the U.S. Treasury came out to identify a location for the mint. The building is one of the few structures that survived San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire.

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