Review under way for Presidio redevelopment

Several high-end hotel buildings in the Presidio, reminiscent of barracks, are one step closer to construction among many other projects blanketing the Main Post.

In an effort to attract action to the heart of the Presidio, the trust plans to add hotels with 100 rooms, rehabilitate a 1930s-era theater and build an archeology lab adjacent to a reception building that will also be upgraded. It’s all part of the Main Post Final Update that was approved last month by the Presidio Trust and several other stakeholders.

The trust board is reviewing the 667-page impact report on the renovations for the old military base — the final requirement before it can start construction — and the report will likely be approved in January.

Even though the hotel plans were scaled back from 95,000 square feet of development to 70,000 square feet, preservationists say it will spoil one of the most historic spots in The City, with several nearby hotels already available. Critics have charged that building a hotel on a historical military site is inappropriate.

The Presidio, founded in 1776, is one of the nation’s oldest military posts. The hotel centers around the former parade ground.

“That’s why they updated the plan,” said Presidio Historical Association President Gary Widman, who has been following the design closely for years. “[The original] wouldn’t have allowed them to build a hotel that size.”

The 2002 Presidio Trust Management Plan only allowed for 26,830 square feet of lodging development at the Main Post, but the most recent plan allows for 91,830 square feet.

Park Trust spokeswoman Dana Polk said the enlarged capacity is because the new plan divides 260,000 square feet of potential lodging development among three neighborhoods on the historic site, concentrating them at the Main Post. She also said the trust does not have any specific plans to move forward with the hotel, and that the century-old officers’ quarter that rents for receptions has the first priority for renovation.

The historical association plans to raise its concerns again at the park’s board of directors meeting Dec. 8.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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