Exploratorium nears approval of new waterfront home

Construction of a new waterfront home for the Exploratorium could begin as soon as April.

The popular hands-on science museum has outgrown the Palace of Fine Arts building in the Marina district, where it is based, and plans to convert a pair of old sheds along the Embarcadero to use as its new home.

The museum plans to move into one of the buildings as soon as 2012 — a planned 2011 opening was delayed — and then expand into the second shed in future years.

The waterfront sheds are on piers 15 and 17 near the intersection of Green Street.

Port of San Francisco and Exploratorium officials recently finalized a 66-year lease agreement for the piers.

“This was a major milestone,” Port project director Jennifer Sobol said. “Now we go to the Board of Supervisors for approval.”

Legislation authorizing the lease agreement is expected to be introduced early next month and a full board vote on the proposal is possible by the end of October, according to Sobol.

“We hope to close escrow by the end of March and then start construction,” she said.
 

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