Letters of Interest & Comments

Letters of Interest

The Department has received the letters listed below from parties interested in the Request for Concept Proposals opportunity.


The Department will continue to accept comments on each of the proposals through August 21, 2015.  The Department will reopen the comment period once the next round of proposals has been submitted.

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Comments on the Arcadium Proposal

Ridiculous, save the ethnic dance performances.

Anything with a proposed market place /hotel/ does not fit the respect of the building or the neighborhood.
I am a very concerned long time resident of the neighborhood.
This proposal had no information on the number of cars/attendees/ etc that would affect the neighborhood, which is already struggling with this issue.
This proposal should not be considered.

My mother grew up in San Francisco where I was born.
I do not approve of private LLC taking over creating exclusive spa.
Public access for the majority of peopless of all economic levels must be maintained.

The Arcadium proposal should clarify any changes, if any, it proposes to make to the theatre.


Comments on the Bay Club Proposal

I hope the BayClubgets this proposal. I love the bay club & the staff

I am a Bay Club Associate but I am also a resident of San Francisco, a tennis player, a lover of the arts, someone who truly values spending time with family and friends, and someone who actively strives to create events for people that bring a community together to create memorable experiences for all generations.
I had the pleasure of attending the public forum and many attendees raised good questions and concerns. There are many great proposals, but from the information and the collateral that has been provided by The Bay Club, this is a new venture we are embarking on, one that hopes to bring the San Francisco community together in more ways than one. We do provide a fitness component to our current members, but we also provide family events, social gathering spaces, and sports facilities where kids and parents have fun while enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company.
How neat would it be to have a space that not only provides it for our members but also provides it for our immediate community? We can help shape the next generation of San Franciscans to learn valuable lessons while playing squash or tennis, acting out their favorite musical, getting singing lessons, taking cooking classes, learning a thing or two about hospitality through our mentorship program so that they can become the well-rounded leaders of tomorrow.
We thrive on building communities and I can’t wait to see the positive impact I believe The Bay Club can have in our community!

Will there be a health club in the area? I would love to have a Bay Club in the neighborhood. Can’t wait!!!

My husband and I are Premier members of Bay Club, which gives us access to San Francisco, Marin, Redwood Shores, and Silicon Valley’s clubs. I am a native of San Francisco, my husband works in San Francisco, and we live in Marin.

My main concern is the financial access to Bay Club’s facilities and public areas and that the visual impact of their vision that will show wealth, which will not be congruent with the beauty Palace of Fine Arts and appeal of San Francisco.

1. Bay Club presents themselves as a resort-like facility and the fees reflect this, which eliminates many from joining. Their fees increase by five percent each year, which allows them to expand, take over clubs, and promote bad feelings to those who were in former clubs. Bay Club recently took over Active or Club One in Santana Row in San Jose. By reading comments in Yelp! (http://www.yelp.com/biz/bay-club-santana-row-san-jose), the rates have doubled and many former members’ dismayed and angered voices were not heard or addressed.

2. Having tennis courts visible near the Palace of Fine Arts will ruin the visual beauty and history of the area. The eyesore will not blend with the grace and charm of the area. We have visitors from around the world visiting the site and San Francisco. Please keep the area alive with its enchantment.

However, if their proposal is accepted, Bay Club will be proud and commit to the restoration of the Palace of Fine Arts Building and Theatre.

With a difficult task to decide among seven proposals, may you choose the best proposal to fit the charm of the area and for the allure of San Francisco for all who visit the Palace of Fine Arts’ neighborhood.

Sabrina Sam

Bay Club could barely handle a remodel at Bay Club Courtside. They ran out of budget so things were left half done. They used shoddy contractors so work is sloppy. I think something this ambitious is well beyond the capabilities of the current bay club staff.

As a current Bay Club member with access to all the Bay Clubs in the SF bay area, the prospect of having one within walking distance of my home (and with tennis courts!) is very exciting and attractive. . . . Its a beautiful location, in an area that is already enjoyed by many active people and would be a nice addition to my neighborhood.

I read all the proposals. The Bay Club makes the most sense from all perspectives. We get the most recreation possible. Indoors and out. You get the most rent. And it would be a much better use than a hotel and a much more likely long term business compared to the rest of the proposals. The Bay Club is the only choice. I’m a member of all their clubs and can’t wait to go to this one at the Palace of Fine Arts.

As a trustee of the Smuin Ballet (currently based in San Francisco), I support any and every effort to maintain the Palace Theater for the use of local performing arts groups. Venues are limited. As is affordable space in San Francisco.

NO. I have been a member of the Bay Club organization for more than 30 years, and I am completely against the proposal to turn the Palace of Fine Arts into a money making scheme for them.
This is an historical site of wonder and beauty which used to typify San Francisco. Please don’t let it be dragged into the contemporary maelstrom of greed, ugliness, consumerism and superficiality.

As an existing Bay Club member who utilizes several of the clubs including the tennis facilities, I have questions that will need to be addressed and learn more about this proposal.
It states that existing parking resources at other clubs will be utilized to minimize traffic/parking at the proposed site. Currently at Gateway there are only 10 spots for club members and a lot of the times people from the ferry building will park there and not be towed. If there is to be parking available at other clubs, how will members get to proposed site? Public transportation to this area is difficult from other areas of the city and Bay Club would need to provide reliable transportation to this site to alleviate parking/traffic.

What is not answered in this proposal is how member dues will be afffected by this massive undertaking? My dues have been increased every year, yet I do not see any additional benefits for my higher dues. It has amounted to $40 over the past few years and yet Gateway facilities are a dump and no improvements have been completed.
Will all the money from Bay Club be dumped into this project and affect Gateway? We have broken door handles on the womens restroom that have gone unfixed for several months. It’s a dive and an embarrassment for members when we have guests there.
Also, other issues need to be resolved at both SFTC and Gateway regarding the homeless/vagrant issues. How will this city wide problem not spread to this new proposed site and have to put up with this at the new location?
It has become such an issue at Gateway that I no longer feel safe exiting the facility and have spent hundreds of dollars taking cabs out of the area. How will this existing city problem not move to this proposed location? If members are to park at other bay club facilities, more people will be exposed to this serious issue.
I would like to understand these answers as part of the community outreach …

As a San Franciscan, born and raised, I strongly oppose the proposal to turn the Palace of Fine Arts and longtime home of The Exploratorium, into just another a fitness center. I grew up going to the Palace of Fine Arts grounds and pond and The Exploratorium. The heritage and history of The Palace of Fine Arts and deserve and require that it becomes the new home of an entity that will offer something important and valuable to contribute to locals and visitors alike in the same way The Exploratorium did for decades. The Bay Club can put another fitness center ANYWHERE in the city, there is simply no justification to hoard an architectural gem like the Palace of Fine Arts. Our young city is extremely lucky that the campaign to save the Palace of Fine Arts succeeded in 1915 and we should protect that legacy and not rent it out so it can be used by a microscopic portion of the city’s population. Please do not approve the Bay Club proposal.

I support it.

The Bay Club proposal provides a great fitness and recreation center for families that are choosing to live in the city. There are limited facilities where both children and adults can enjoy sports and recreation and this facility would be excellent – and walking distance for many of the families in the Marina, Cow Hollow, Pac Heights and Presidio.

I support the Bay Club proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts. It encapsulates a vision for many stake holders, while providing access to the public, and will help restore the grandeur and purpose of the Landmark.

Please please please include 3, 4, 5 , or 6 squash courts…thanks

I enjoyed reviewing the proposal. I would sure like to see additional squash courts added into the proposal to augment the squash courts/program that exists within the SF/Marin bay club structure.
Thank you.

This would be amazing! I live just a few blocks away and have been a Bay Club member for years. A great (and much needed) addition to the neighborhood!

I think it is great. It would be wonderful to have a sports facility in our neighborhood. I would love to have my kids be able to play tennis locally.

My family belongs to this club because it is so accommodating to children of all ages and their parents and caregivers. SF is changing rapidly and we should support organizations like The Bay Club that put families first. There are so many families living nearby The Palace and in the nearby Presidio the percent of families is more than double that of SF as a city so this location is ideal for a Bay Club facility. I hope that their proposal is given high consideration for these reasons and more. Let’s keep SF family friendly and healthy.

Please don’t turn this historic space into a sports facility. It seems a waste of the history and architectural details. There are other proposals that give it a better purpose for all of San Francisco.

The Palace of Fine Arts is beautiful centerpiece of San Francisco culture. The Bay Club will not serve residents of San Francisco in the same way that another museum or non profit would be able to. Given the membership pricing associated with the Bay Club and the cost of living within the neighborhood that the Palace of Fine Arts resides in, the occupation of this beautifully historical building by the Bay Club will not serve the community, especially those who are low income, or even lower middle class (I note that the Bay Club does not have sliding scale pricing, discounts for low income people, or students). I strongly oppose this proposal and hope that other residents will echo my sentiments.

Just awful to even think of putting another gym in our fine city of diverse ethnic performances and venues

Definitely thumbs down

I think it would be an absolute tragedy to see the Palace of Fine Arts, a resource for all people of the city, turned into an elite sports club. The Bay Club is an extremely expensive, exclusive leisure center for people who seek out that type of community. While I appreciate the company’s efforts to open (some) of its resources to the general public, at heart this is not a company that can understand or speak to the needs of all San Franciscans. It would be so disheartening to see another great City resource fall out of reach. If for some reason the Bay Club does seem like the best possible steward of this space, can they at least partner with SF Parks and Rec to ensure that as much of the space as possible is open to the public in ways they can use?? Please don’t let the Palace of Fine Arts become another symbol of the city’s increasingly wealthy and out-of-touch reputation!

Please do not turn over the Palace of Fine arts to a bunch of elitist jocks. The Palace is intended for all the community, for all activities.

I find this proposal offensive. What’s the point in expanding multiple recreational facilities in a building created to exhibit and foster art? Are fitness machines and swimming pools compatible with the surroundings which Bernard Maybeck created? There is a
magnificence of space in the existing Palace of Fine Arts which has nothing to do with membership, tiered access and the slides views provided at the June 23 meeting. And since there is no stated aim to retain the much-needed 1100 seat theatre, the plan clearly denigrates the intent of the name itself.

I believe that this would be a great addition to the community, since they are experts at creating communities. From what I’ve seen from the Bay Club, they truly put a lot of effort into upkeeping their facilities, and that would be everyone’s main priority for the Palace!

When I visit the Palace of Fine Arts, it’s a nice, calm sanctuary in the city, and a reflection of a time past. Putting noisy tennis courts and building a gym for the wealthy of San Francisco would ruin this. Also hidden in the proposal is that the theater would be reduced from approx. 36,000 sq. ft. to only 10,000 sq. ft., meaning that it would no longer be a usable space for most performance groups, essentially making it worthless. I’d be very sad if this proposal were to be selected.

The Bay Club’s proposal is an opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking for our city and the San Francisco community.
Full disclosure: I work for the Bay Club company as a Manager in one of the South Bay clubs, but as a resident of San Francisco I wanted to share a perspective.
I attended the Public Forum on June 23rd, and the reality is, that there are several creative and thoughtful proposals, all of which would provide great value to the community in terms of culture, learning, and growth. The Bay Club’s proposal stands alone, as it is the best way to provide community access to fitness, sports, and family space. The combination of public/private use means that no longer will access to great fitness and sports facilities in San Francisco be only available to individuals and families of great means. I’ve lived in New York City in the past, and what Chelsea Piers has done for that city in engaging a once under-utilized and outdated area of New York, this project can do for San Francisco. The advantage for our city, as someone put it during last night’s forum, is that the Palace is already a beautiful and proud part of the city.
San Francisco has great Opera Houses, it has great theaters, but what we do not have is a place where all San Franciscans can strive to be happier and healthier in a community setting, with family and friends, without having to pay a lot. Overall, this is a no-lose situation for the city: if Art is the direction that we decide to go, it would surely be a great step for the arts and cultural community in our city. However, it’s important to explore new possibilities and futures for our community and help engage the people of San Francisco in what is most important: how to respect and protect their personal health, and to spend time with the people they love!

this proposal does not maintain the vision and beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts – which should be retained for ARTS
We have enough Bay Clubs around
We do not need this at the most visited Historic site in San Francisco

While the presenters say that they’ll be public access, they were uninterested in explaining what they meant by that beyond saying that they’ll be “public areas” and no membership is required because you can get a “day pass”. Huh? That sounds very NOT public, and probably well out of my price range as a San Francisco resident. Turning the Palace of Fine Arts into a spa with unlimited access only for those with money sounds like a very, VERY bad idea.

No to privatization of public space.
Space should remain with public.
Retain original intention Palace of Fine Arts.

ABSOLUTELY NOT!! To make a gym and rec center out of this historical monument would make Maybeck turn in his grave! Please honor the building you claim to with making it a cultural center, performance space for arts and concerts, etc.

It should be carefully noted that while the Bay Club’s summary and presentation make reference to the retention of the theatre, their presentation reduces the theatre’s size from its current 36,000 square feet to just 10,000 square feet. This 73% reduction is size would make it unusable for the many local and civic groups that currently utilize the theatre.

No on a health club for the 1%’ers!! Yes on the Ethnic Dance

Please DO NOT turn this into a Bay Club.

A fitness center is fine, but to replace the theater is a terrible idea. The theater is a good size for many types of performances. The seats are comfortable. Keep the Theater and put the fitness center next to it?


Comments on the Bladium Proposal

As a San Franciscan, born and raised, I strongly oppose the proposal to turn the Palace of Fine Arts and longtime home of The Exploratorium, into just another a fitness center. I grew up going to the Palace of Fine Arts grounds and pond and The Exploratorium. The heritage and history of The Palace of Fine Arts and deserve and require that it becomes the new home of an entity that will offer something important and valuable to contribute to locals and visitors alike in the same way The Exploratorium did for decades. The Bladium can put another fitness center ANYWHERE in the city, there is simply no justification to hoard an architectural gem like the Palace of Fine Arts. Our young city is extremely lucky that the campaign to save the Palace of Fine Arts succeeded in 1915 and we should protect that legacy and not rent it out so it can be used by a microscopic portion of the city’s population. Please do not approve the Bladium proposal.

Please don’t allow this iconic and not to be recreated classic space used for a sports facility of any kind. They can be placed in less sensitive spaces with good results.

Horrible idea or suggestions to put another workout facility in this city. Keep the cultural arts and dance alive – “palace of fine arts”. Where are the “arts” in a sports facility?

Thumbs down!!,!

These sports recreation proposals are not a good fit with the National Park next door where there are many opportunities for healthy exercise and outdoor recreation, and would exclude a large percentage of the public.

The Palace of Fine Arts is not the proper location for sports activities exclusively. The Palace is intended for all in the community, for all activities, athletic, cultural, historical or educational.

Bladium totally ignores the name of the Building! It also proposes to demolish the Theater! What is it in the minds of men who allows them to ignore history, taste and current usage, to believe that cultural and social history in place for a century can be ignored! I don’t get.

I believe in recreation and sports and what they can provide citizens. But not in a building build to house arts and bearing the name
Palace of Fine Arts.

Turning the theater into an indoor field and converting this space into a gym for the wealthy of San Francisco would be an absolute travesty, and a huge loss to preserving history and the vibrant arts and dance community in the Bay Area.

No. We have enough sports facility
We need to save the Arts and Culture.

UGH! What limited use (and usefulness) to San Francisco’s public, and of even less so to visitors. Their presentation this evening seemed so very narrow-minded… and goodness only knows where they get the idea that they’re going to have enough bodies of the right age to have a *HUNDRED* interns interested in a career in sports and sports management every six months – in the town that San Francisco has become and is becoming. Get real. I myself can find no use for them in what was once a place of a great deal of interested to *other* than sports fanatics. I’d like to see it stay that way. Please do not seriously consider this proposal.

ABSOLUTELY NOT. How dare we allow such a historic and beautiful building to be filled with treadmills and sweaty workouts. YOU HAVE GOT BE INSANE, to allow such a use of this treasure!

The Bladium summary makes no mention of the theatre. In its presentation it mentions retaining space for the theatre as an option with no indication of space allotment and/or use.

Using the word “enthused” knocks you out of the category of taking you guys seriously.


Comments on the Center for Global Arts & Cultures Proposal

I would like to wholeheartedly voice my support of the proposal to establish Center for Global Arts and Cultures at the Palace of Fine Arts location.
I’ve attended the SF Ethnic Dance Festival for more than 30 years. There us nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Its a rare jewel and an artistic gift to it’s diverse audiences.
The Palace of Fine Arts Theater is the perfect venue for this unique festival … and has been its home for many many years before the Doyle Drive renovation started.
The key word here is unique.
San Francisco has always been a unique, culturally diverse, artistically rich city since it’s earliest beginnings.
Its in danger of losing this special character when its absolutely unique cultural institutions are being priced out or displaced by proposals for just another set of shops and offices, or exclusionary concepts such as boutique hotels, or something as a mundane as a gym fitness center or indoor soccer field.
The SF Ethnic Dance Festival is an amazing, professionally run, scholarly, family friendly, resilient, truly joyous world class cultural event with a 35 year track record of success.
I think it’s time for that history to be honored with a permanent home at the Palace of Fine Arts.
The dance festival brings together many of the diverse cultural communities of the Sf bay area in an atmosphere of learning and mutual respect… in the same way the original Panama Pacific Expo did a hundred years ago on this historic site.
It impacts people at every level of society through it’s performers, producers audiences, and educational out reach. Ethnic dance preserves world history and culture and unites families and communities over the generations.
Most of the participating dance companies feature dancers of all ages, sizes, races nationalities, genders and orientations. It doesn’t get any better than this for cultural diversity.
And It especially benefits children teaching them not only dance and movement, but discipline, art, theater production and stagecraft, historical costuming, world culture , world music, positive body image, fitness, team work; and mutual respect for other cultures.
I attended the town meeting in July and listened to each of the business proposals for the future management if the palace of fine arts.
What alarmed me about most of the other proposals was the convoluted arguments used to convince the audience that each plan for the Palace of Fine Arts was was going to be inclusive and beneficial to the people of San Francisco at large.
Most of them sounded like run of the mill development schemes aimed at an elite group of customers, (or, at best, a development scheme that would function just as well in another non historic space. )
The attempt to show how their proposals would benefit the population at large seemed very self serving and tacked on.
I live in the other side of town in the Bayview district. I love the historic Palace of Fine Arts building and it’s magnificent architecture, but we seldom get to experience the beauty of that magic place unless we’re attending a performance at the theater. The Exploritorium was another unique institution which drew city wide support and benefited the city population at large.
(The idea of busing a few Bayview kids over to some private fitness club once a year to create a facade of inclusiveness and diversity is just insulting.)
At the town meeting I talked to several residents of the Marina neighborhood who were quite enthused about the Center for Global Arts and Cultures proposal. They seemed somewhat alarmed about the proposals which involved the loss of the theater or having a new shopping center or hotel in their back yard. (I can’t imagine that a shopping center on that out of the way end of town would bring many shoppers…only parking problems.)
I think the SF Ethnic Dance Festival belongs at the Palace of Fine Arts and their proposal to create a Center for Global Arts and Cultures is a perfect cultural and historic fit for this location.
A dance and world culture center would impact the entire city in a positive way and enhance the reputation of the city as a place of high and unique culture.
And if this rare opportunity to secure this space slips away…it will never come again.
My time on this earth is winding down now and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the cultural layout of the city…. but the SF Ethnic Dance Festival has been one of the great joys in my life and of living in San Francisco.
Seeing generations upon generations of fine dance company’s, master dancers and young dance students move through this festival over the years has been a rich meaningful and amazing experience for me and for SF Bay area audiences.
This is San Francisco. This is California . This is what we do. Isadora Duncan was born in this city. Hawaiian Hula and ukelele was introduced to the USA on this very spot.
Almost all Americans are descended from people who came here from some other country. World culture and dance IS American culture.
I would like to see this amazing dance festival legacy continue, in this city, in this historic space at the Palace of Fine Arts , in the form of a Center for Global Arts and Cultures, run by this worthy organization for generations to come.
Thank you.
” The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit…”
Denise Wilson
1950 Silver Ave.
Sf 94124

This is what is truly needed in San Francisco. There are many places that could house the other proposals. Our grand, historic Palace of Fine Arts should become a community resource rather than another haven for the well-offf. This will benefit our families and children and communities. Please make it so. Please do not bend to the will of those wiith money. Please remember all who live in San Francisco and bring the opportunity for cultural enrichment and arts to the Palace of Fine Arts!

I feel very excited about this proposal, having known many of the Bay Area artists for a lifetime, and feeling that this use would be a triumph for the city, and a tremendous inspiration to the community. Please carefully consider it.

I think this is the best choice as it reflects the spirit of the original building and continues the tradition of a global culture.

Of all of the proposals, this will provide a continuing and improved facility for arts presentation. For many years we have attended performances at the Palace of fine art. This proposal will expand upon that mission and allow the grounds to honor the creative spirit on which they were founded. I found the proposal succinct and clear in purpose and scope, This one would get my vote.

After a thorough review of the proposals I have to say that I’m a little confused by the support shown for this proposal. The developers seem to have rallied their troops very well, and while I support theater and dance in general, the use proposed seems like a very bad use of this historical icon. The biggest concern to me is their need to raise a significant amount of money to make the project happen. I can’t imagine (and the proposal doesn’t explain) how ticket revenue supports the costs associated with this use, which leads me to believe they’ll have to continue to do a lot of fundraising to support the project. The principals involved seem to have raised about $15M (for the renovation of Zellerbach) which seems well short of what is needed here. (the building is like 100,000 sf x $600/sf = $60M) But beyond that, I don’t see much public access to the building other than paying to go to performances, or paying to to to Alice Water’s restaurant. Parking will be exacerbated significantly during performance times, as it has been in the past, and they don’t describe any payments to the City for rent. This cherished building should have a use that can support the development of it, as well as the ongoing operations, and be accessible by all San Francisco residents, not just those paying to go to a show (or those associated with the show). And the City should not just give it away, as it needs the revenue. This project could/should be a win win win for the city, neighborhood, and patrons, but this proposal is definitely not it.

It would be a blessing for San Francisco to support this truly noble proposal and assure us a position as a cultural center of the west. The Palace of Fine Arts will again be a center for the Arts as it was first utilized during the Exposition. To turn it into anything else would be a great object of civic shame as was the demolition of the fabulous Fox Theater. The theater is the best dance theater in our city and has presented many dance companies as well as the prestigious Ethnic Dance Festival.

My husband and I strongly support the Center For Global Arts proposal. We have a hugely diverse population in the bay area and this arts and culture center would greatly benefit San Francisco and the community!

I strongly support the Center for Global Arts and Culture’s proposal for The Palace of Fine Arts. I have attended the Ethnic Dance Festival for many years and nothing better celebrates the diversity and creativity of the Bay Area. What better way to preserve the spirit and intent of Bernard Maybeck and The Pan Pacific Exposition!! The proposal brings together leading cultural figures from the Bay Area, Robert Cole and Alice Waters to name only two. It also expands the mission of Global Arts West to include performers from around the world, international cuisine, and educational space/opportunities.

Unlike some of the other proposals, the Center for Global Arts and Cultures is not an exclusive venture catering to the wealthy, rather it is inclusive and broadbased. It embodies and reinforces the diversity and cultural heritage of the Bay Area.

Over the past nine years, I’ve been both an audience member and a performer at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, which has been historically held at the Palace of Fine Arts. The stage is really one of the most magnificent places for a dancer to perform, which is why it’s been home to some of the premiere dance companies in the Bay Area, as well as visiting artists. Through cultural arts events like the EDF, the Palace has been the melting pot for a melange of cultures — and this has been integral to my experience as a Bay Area citizen. The Center for Global Arts and Cultures Proposal will enable us to share the richness and diversity of the San Francisco community, and I hope it will be considered very seriously.

My 12-year-old daughter and I look forward to the SF Ethnic Dance Festival every year. I heartily endorse their involvement with making the Palace of Fine Arts a Center for Global Arts and Cultures. If you’ve ever been to the dance festival, you’ll recognize that it is a wonderful way to bring together diverse communities in a celebration of each community’s strengths and uniqueness. I can imagine that the Center for Global Arts and Cultures would bring vitality and much interest from locals and tourists alike to the Palace of Fine Arts.

The Palace of Fine Arts should remain a center for the arts. Please respect the original intent for the Palace by supporting the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. It would be a shame to transform such a beautiful arts center into a fitness club, hotel, or other non-arts related venue. This city has enough fitness clubs, hotels, food courts, etc. It needs more arts and culture!

As a member of the theatrical community who has worked in theaters around the world, and as one who has visited San Francisco innumerable times over the years, I welcome this proposal. Whatever merits the other proposals may have, none of them can offer the depth and breadth to the local, national and international community like an Arts and Culture Center. Time and again I have witnessed the growth of an area due, in large part, to the anchor that a venue like the one proposed. I fully support this proposal and I believe you should also. Thank you.

As a lover of history and the arts, I believe there is really only one proposal here that makes sense at all for this space. Rarely does a governing body have such a historical mandate to do the right thing and preserve and expand upon the original intent of the space. The Center for Global Arts and Cultures proposal would meld the best of the historical intent with the utmost care to preserve it for the future. Their Board and Advisors are top notch, known far and wide for their expertise and giving back to the community. As a longtime fan of John Meyer and his work, I’m extremely excited to see his name attached to this project. Likewise, Mark Heiser’s reputation precedes him, both professionally and personally. A truly top tier group of like-minded people who will surely make this project one that the entire nation can be proud of!

I strongly support this proposal. A Center for Global Arts and Cultures would be invaluable to locals and visitors to the City alike. Such a center would celebrate the Bay Area’s diverse cultures and lead to greater cultural awareness, respect, and understanding between various ethnic groups. I have attended the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival for many years, and the organization has shown its commitment to bringing ethnic arts to the people of San Francisco despite hard times. The board and staff are a dedicated and hard-working group, and can rise to any challenge. I urge you to give serious consideration to this proposal.

Must must keep our diversity and cultures alive ! This is a facility for fine arts not for another health club or gym

Thumbs up!

I fully support this proposal presented by the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. It has the best vision for the site in keeping with the history and culture of San Francisco as well as the strong leadership team that is necessary to realize it.

As a manager of a 2900 seat performing arts center in Seattle, I was asked to review the Global Arts And Cultures Proposal by several industry colleagues. To assist, I took some time to briefly review the other proposals for the Palace of Fine Arts. I believe the Global Arts and Cultures Proposal is the best conceived of the various proposals, and offers the greatest potential community value for reuse of this historic structure. It will serve a very broad cross-section of the Bay Area’s population and arts community, and present exciting world-class arts programming that currently has limited opportunity to be seen in San Francisco.
I am familiar with several of the principal management team, and have great respect for their extensive knowledge and expertise in managing performing arts venues and arts program development and presentation.
I urge the selection committee to favorably consider the Global Arts and Cultures Proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts.
Thank you,

Chris Miller
General Manager
McCaw Hall at Seattle Center

To Whom It May Concern,

I can’t say enough about the excitement of the presentation given by the Center for Global Arts and Cultures Proposal!!
The Palace of Fine Arts is for the ARTS! I have been supporting the Arts & Culture for the past 22 years since moving back
to San Francisco from Argentina. Music, Dance and the Arts…the people who attend these events, the visitors/tourists who
relive the glory of this wonderful city blessed by beauty, grace and deep love for the ARTS.
This is NOT a sport field.
This is NOT a bunch of Hotel rooms, shops, market place restaurants, and kitschy, cheap tourist thrills.
We have enough of that in this city in all shapes and sizes.
A Global Center for the ARTS is what we need, it’s time we nurtured our spirit and our souls. Keep the ARTS alive!!
It’s what makes our golden city by the Bay be so unique.


As a former San Franciscan who revisits frequently, I feel that this proposal best reflects the Palace of Fine Arts’ historic place in San Francisco life and culture, and offers unparalleled opportunities for residents and visitors to experience this grand old building and the cultural melting-pot that makes the City unique.

I am a native San Franciscan and believe that the Palace is located in a very special place in this city and is best served as a place where global arts and cultures continue to be shared with the public. Thank you

An ideal setting and easily accessible for visitors from all directions . The Palace of Fine Arts has been a home for cultural events from all over the world. More than 20 years ago I was an Usher for a a short time at the Palace and remember Music, Dance and Theatrical performances staged by Artists from all over the world. On only very few occasions was the House not full. Keeping Global Arts and Cultures in the Palace would not be a re-inventing of the wheel but the continuation of a proven, successful and VERY NEEDED Tradition!

The Palace of the Arts is my favorite park in the city and what better way to commemorate its centennial and mission than to link it with a company dedicated to multi-culturalism and the arts. I see magic and beauty here.

This is the most important and worthy proposal. It is difficult to measure the cultural value of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and Word Arts West. We have been attending the festival for more than four decades. I hope you will give this proposal top priority as it will greatly enhance and expand San Francisco as a world cultural center. Thank you for your attention in this regard.

They connect Bay Area artists and audiences with global arts and cultures through the performing arts, arts education, and community engagement in the Palace of Fine Arts.

I think is the best proposal and makes the most sense for the glorious space that is the Palace of Fine Arts. They have a proven track record of using the space as a community resource for many many dance organizations as well as already providing San Francisco with an internationally recognized world class dance festival that promotes cross cultural exchange and understanding. For 37 years they have been supporting many people’s efforts to to save their cultural heritage of dance, providing rehearsal space and performance space. None of the other proposals come even close to The Ethnic Dance Festival! We do not need another hotel or gym!!!! I give this proposal the highest possible grade!

The Center For Global Arts And Cultures is vital to preserving the rich history of the many cultures that inhabit SF and the great Bay Area today. This proposal will allow for the community at large to witness, partake, and celebrate the many cultures our vibrant city has to offer. Please keep the arts where they belong. Thank you!

Having read through the proposals, I think this is the best possible use for the Palace of Fine Arts. It is global, representing San Francisco’s cosmopolitan nature, and focused on the arts. This would make the PoFA an arts center we can be truly proud of, anchoring the city’s cultural life just as the Yerba Buena Gardens has done across town.

I urge San Francisco Recreation Parks Department to host World Arts West as the new tenant for the Palace of Fine Arts. World Arts West provides diverse artistic service through performance and and critical discussion that no other entity in the Bay Area provides. At this crucial time in San Francisco, when the vast majority of artists are forced to depart their home city because of losing their creative spaces, World Arts West in the Palace of Fine Arts will continue to provide strong creative, artistic leadership for the city.

I have worked in the community-based non-profit arts sector for the past 30 years, including 8 years as the co-director of Asian American Dance Performances in San Francisco, where I presented the work of traditional and contemporary artists. The SFBA attracts leading global artists who find a home here. The Center for Global Arts and Cultures will be a unique “gem” in this city and it is fitting that this center will be housed in a location that hosted an international expo. It is vital that SF continue to remain a city where non-profit arts can thrive. SF does not need a another fitness facility or cultural center that is managed by a corporate entity.

Great idea! Yes!

What a fabulous use of an historical setting! To continue promoting culture from 1915 to as we know it today and for future generations…an excellent teaching tool and way to spread the cultural diversity of our unique city, coupled with cuisine from our global ethnic tribes. It is truly a center to be proud of.

I support the proposal for the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. For the last 6 years I have been going to The Hula Show at the Palace of Fine Arts every October sometimes multiple times. It is unimaginable not being able to go to the Palace of Fine Arts to see dance or other art performances. The theater is the perfect venue for all of the arts. And the space previously used by the Exploratorium will give added room for all sorts of art-related events. My understanding is that food representing the diverse cultures of the Bay Area will also be offered and vendor space is part of the plan as well. That would be the complete package for me: to be able to go to a performance or event and purchase a meal or snack right there on site as well, to perhaps be enjoyed on the scenic grounds.

I have attended the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival for over 25 years! Trained as a dancer both at Julliard in NYC and ethnic dance in the Bay Area I appreciate the many ways The Center For Global Arts And Cultures can uniquely contribute to a bright future at a dangerously polarizing time in the world.

Please consider what a unifying presence The Center for Global Arts and Cultures can offer to our Bay Area residents as global citizens and to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to San Francisco each year looking to experience the beacon of hope that is our city’s hallmark. We have a powerful and rich opportunity in the center’s creation. Please recognize the importance of this wonderful proposal and make it a reality!

The team is impressive — first-rate actually. And the goal is worthy: Robert Cole had great success with Cal performances, turning a university arts and lectures series into the major presenter on the west coast. THe Palace Theater is important, expecially since SF Opera and Ballet have successfully expanded their offerings so greatly that the opera house in rarely available for tours by major international companies. And the Palace Theater has become the home of our unique Ethnic Dance Festival, which has been serving constituencies of color for 40 years, to national acclaim, would be severely damaged to lose its home at the Palace, which it has become identified with in the community’s mind and throughout the world– in India, Indonesia, Korea, West Africa, Hawaii, China, I urge you to vote in favor of this project — it will benefit the entire Bay Area, and keep our beacon shining bright to the rest of the world.

Of all the proposals submitted, this one is most solid and reputable. This is the only non-profit in the bunch. As a resident of the Bay Area and a former property taxpayer in the city, I firmly support Global Arts’ commitment to develop this public space for the continued use of the public. I applaud their aim to provide more stages and rehearsal areas that will expand opportunities for citizens, local and from around the world to see music and dance without having to pay Civic Center prices. The board of directors is reason enough to trust that Global Arts has the know how to make this property sparkle and thrive. These are sturdy people whose service to the public is a matter of record. Singling one of them out seems appropriate here, as this is the only proposal that takes a stand on providing visitors sustainable and healthful food, which is synonymous with the name of board member Alice Waters, the mother of California Cuisine. Global Arts’ entire proposal is couched in terms that say “public good”. The Palace of Fine Arts deserves the best and will have that in Global Arts’ public-spirited non-profit development and management.

This is the one proposal with history and gravitas, because the Ethnic Dance Festival has been held at the Palace for so many years. The Festival has been reviewed glowingly in the NY Times many times, with the reviewer saying he would come see all the shows if he lived here. The Festival is uniquely San Francisco and shows off our incredible diversity. Food and local crafts could easily be added using the space previously occupied by the Exploratorium. SF is the birthplace of the United Nations. How fitting for it to be the birthplace of the Center for Global Arts and Cultures as well!

Please keep this beautiful space for the diverse cultures of the Bay Area and their beautiful arts. Art is what unites us as human beings. We have more than enough corporate venues and control. They tend to be divisive. Our souls need to breathe and this is the perfect place for celebrating our diversity and unity with the “Center for Global Arts and Cultures”. Thank you!

I sincerely hope the department will support the establishment of a Center for Global Arts and Cultures at the Palace of Fine Arts site.

This is my favorite proposal and the proposal that most closely honors the original intention of the Palace of Fine Arts in the 1915 Worlds Fair. I also strongly favor preserving rather than demolishing and destroying historic structures. The preservation and respect for history and the presence and honor of diversity within our city are two things that make San Francisco a great place. I believe that the proposed Center for Global Arts and Cultures is true to that spirit more than any of the other proposals put forward.

The best use for the Palace of Fine Art is to continue to house The Ethnic Dance Festival and expand into the vision of World Arts West as the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. Help promote world peace and community by providing a home where people can celebrate the commonalities and similarities of their culture through the medium of dance and the arts. The experience at the end of the performances with all the various performers from diverse cultures dancing together, with audience members joining in the lobby, is unique and powerful. It’s the essence of the San Francisco Bay Area and deserves this home.

A Center for Global Arts and Cultures would perpetuate the identity of San Francisco as a world class center for arts and culture and one of the few cities in the US that holds traditional and ethnic art forms in such high regard. The Ethnic Dance Festival is an incredible event, and there is nothing like it in the US. As a five time festival performer and former member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand how extraordinary the festival is. Offering an opportunity for expansion of its programs would truly enrich the arts landscape of San Francisco and be a wonderful educational resource for our children!

This is the only concept that fits the Palace of Fine Arts and protects and maintains the facility for future generations to enjoy. The Palace of Fine Arts should not be destroyed by having any Hotel attached to the project or downgraded by any sports facility.

The neighborhood cannot handle a Market place similar to the Ferry Building. The Palace of Fine Arts should be a Global Arts and Cultural Center and supported by the City in any way they can, including a better bus route to the Palace.

I fully support the proposal to repurpose the Palace of Fine Arts into the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. Many of my fondest memories revolve around this beautiful location: romantic strolls around the lake, sitting on the grass with friends and family, leisurely appreciating the majestic beauty of the dome. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed the theater both as an attendee and as a performer for the past 5 years. I’ve performed with two different hula halau on the Palace of Fine Arts stage and I’ve seen inspiring dance performances from Na Lei Hulu and the Ethnic Dance festival. When I think of the Palace of Fine Arts, I think of all the wonderful and beautiful things I’ve seen, done, and learned there. The grounds are infused with beautiful creativity. The Center for Global Arts and Cultures belongs there. Tearing down the Palace or otherwise repurposing it for any other use besides advancing cultural art would be a very sad shame.

San Francisco is a city of the world, known to express the most forward thinking and expressive ideas of our time. I may live in Redwood City, but I go to San Francisco for the art and culture. When I visit San Francisco for this, I eat, I shop, and I park. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it. This proposal will reinforce my desire to continue to patronize San Francisco for years to come, which serves us all.

I strongly support this proposal. It is gratifying to see a number of prominent Bay Area residents agree, and are offering their names to preserve a vital performance center here in San Francisco. The City will always be a hub for change; continuing this important venue as a place where our artists, dancers and other performers can express their reflections will strengthen our connections within and across communities.

This is exactly what San Francisco needs. How fabulous it would be to have a world class center of this kind celebrating global arts and cultures. The educational possibilities are exciting. The Palace of Fine Arts Theater is a perfect venue for World Arts West’s annual Ethnic Dance Festival, and it can provide San Francisco with the opportunity to showcase visiting and local dance/cultural performances. It would be a tragedy if we lose this venue.

This historical site should be preserved as a venue for arts and culture, not sports! Having read the other proposals, I feel that the Center for Global Arts & Culture is the strongest and will serve to honor the legacy of this treasure.

San Francisco it well known as a truly diverse, culturally rich city. The SF Recreation and Parks Department has an extraordinary opportunity to cement the city’s identity as a “Mecca” for work cultural arts in a way that is truly unique. Please take that opportunity by establishing the Center for Global Arts and Cultures at the Palace of Fines Arts.

I’ve been coming to the annual Ethnic Dance Festival for years. I’ve enjoyed it as much or more than the others who are commenting on the proposal for the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. I’ve also visited many cities in the US and abroad and attended cultural arts performances there. However, in no city have I seen a venue that recognized that all of the ethnic groups of the world have “arts” traditions that rank as “fine arts”. I am profoundly excited by the prospect that San Francisco will do so by establishing the Center for Global Arts and Cultures at the Palace of Fine Arts. Please make it a reality.

As a regular visitor to San Francisco, I was knocked over by a recent opportunity to attend the Ethnic Dance Festival. Where else could one find a program of such diversity? What a wonderful location for the Center for Global Arts and Culture. Let San Francisco retain its claim as the Heart of the Golden West!

The Palace of Fine Arts is a San Francisco icon and the last remaining symbol of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition which took place in the City in 1915, showcasing innovations of the era and the City itself. It would be fitting to turn this majestic building into a center for dance, culture and art which would attract people from all over the world, as well as the Bay Area. I have enjoyed attending the Ethnic Dance Festival for several years now, and I am always struck by the beauty and camaraderie among the dancers. My favorite part of every program is when all of the dancers come on stage at the end to dance and rejoice in their art together. Art is the soul of humanity. It is the language we all have in common. It is a bridge to other cultures. San Francisco has always been an open, innovative and welcoming place, and this venue in this city would be the perfect embodiment of art and humanity. Please preserve the Palace of Fine Arts and let it live on to become an even more powerful symbol in the centuries to come.

The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre has a long history of usage by dance groups. Writing professionally on dance in the last fifty years, I can attest to the value of its theatre, though I know its back stage facilities need approving.

First off, let me remind the Department that the original intent of the building was to display art – not sport – but art. The reason that sentimental San Franciscans wanted to maintain the building was because of its architectural splendor and the comment Bernard Maybeck made that Gary Kamiya quoted in The Cool Grey City of Love.

During my 50 years of writing on dance I have seen the world famous artists from India appear at the Palace: T. Balasaraswati; Alik Akbhar Khan; Birju Maharaj; Zakir Hussein. San Francisco Ballet appeared there when directed by Lew Christensen and later under Helgi Tomasson; Carlos Carvajal’s Dance Spectrum premiered many of its works there and appeared jointly with Pacific Ballet; xoregos Dance and Oakland Ballet. Eifman’s Ballet from St. Petersburg appeared there at least two, possibly three seasons, and Nederlans Dance Theatre sold out with the aid of the Internet justl ast October. In addition to the Ethnic Dance Festival, Micaya has brought her Hip-Hop Festival to the Palace of fine Arts for at least a decade, with guest artists from England, the European Continent, Japan and South Korea. Smuin Ballet has presented its fall season there on a regular basis, to say nothing of organizations like Nei Lai Hula.

With the established support of solid professional guidance like Robert Cole, Alice Waters and Julie Mushet, and the prospective support of the San Francisco Foundation, Recreation and Park will have ,determined, dedicated professionals presenting the best in local and visiting performing and visual arts, fulfilling Maybeck’s vision and that of Mr. Johnson whose millions inspired the first salvation and restoration of The Palace of Fine Arts.

While my residence is Manhattan, San Francisco is the home of my heart. During mypost-doc year in Berkeley, I fell in love with SF. For me it was all about the art and culture. I attended the opera and theatre, visited museums and art galleries, and soaked in the diversity of the city.

As a former university professor (23 years at Vassar), I truly understand and appreciate the importance of art, culture and diversity in the life of a city. New York is the East Coast mecca for art and culture. San Francisco is the artistic touchstone of the West, and a truly international city, like New York.

Having carefully reviewed all of the proposals for the Palace of Fine Arts, the proposal for the “Center for Global Arts & Cultures” is the only plan that aligns with Bernard Maybeck’s original vision and plan for the Palace, and creates a center in keeping with San Francisco’s reputation as an international city, one where diversity of art, culture and cuisine is celebrated. San Francisco is one of the top 10 destination cities in the U.S. What better way to solidify its stellar tourist reputation than by creating a center for art and culture that will become a destination in itself? At the same time, the Exhibition Pavilion, Studios, Classrooms, and Arts Technology Lab will provide much-needed resources for the local and regional community.

The phrase “world-class” is often used, and overused at times, in describing a city’s artistic culture that is above and beyond other cities of comparable size. No one dares use “world-class” to describe Manhattan, for that is redundant, superfluous, and gilding the lily. New York is in a class by itself. When the Center for Global Arts & Cultures becomes a reality, San Francisco will be, like New York, a city above and beyond world-class – a city that other cities strive to emulate, a city in a class by itself.

One hundred years ago this great exhibition hall was built to share culture and innovations from all over the globe. World Arts West’s proposal will maintain that vision and enhance the community surrounding this historic space. It would be a shame for this iconic building to fall into the hands of a privatized organization. To often the arts are overlooked but this is San Francisco, a city that prides itself on community and culture. The Center for Global Arts and Cultures must become a reality. It will insure greater access to the arts by all, as well foster an understanding and sorely needed appreciation of the world’s cultures and it’s people.

This is by far the best proposal. We do not need more sports centers in this area. There is a walking and bicycle trail from the Embarcadero to the GG Bridge….real fresh air exercise….and the Y in the Presidio. Most of the old movie theatres in this city have been turned into gyms. We need arts, crafts dancing and theatre. No more hotels, hostels, restaurants or leasing to movie or IT companies. Show some respect for the history of this area and also preserve the lagoon and surrounding area for children to enjoy nature.

I strongly support the Center for Global Arts And Cultures Proposal. This proposal brings the most visionary but also practical plan for the future of the Palace of Fine; headed by an excellent group of highly experienced and knowledgeable persons, the Center for Global Arts and Cultures will provide and preserve a much loved and needed venue for the arts . At the public meeting the proposal was the most enthusiastically received of all the proposals – a good reflection perhaps, of how the general public will also receive it.

San Francisco needs a beautiful venue for Cultural Dance Groups, the Palace of Fine Arts (the name, itself, states it!) is the perfect setting! There are enough gyms, muscle emporiums, yoga studios, etc. in S.F. already.

As another San Francisco native, I put my vote for this Proposal. It seems to be the best for the city and the culture. Do not want private business moving in. Let’s step back a bit – and honor this amazing structure and it’s history.

The Palace of Fine Arts is one of my favorite places to visit when I come to San Francisco. As a dancer and audience member in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, I think it’s great that this proposal keeps the Palace of Fine Arts for its original purpose to support the arts. I have seen several dance performances at the Palace of Fine Arts, and there are so few theaters in the Bay Area that offer such an intimate experience. I hope that you will select the World Arts West proposal and preserve this historic part of San Francisco, and save this space for the wonderful dance, arts, and cultures we have in the Bay Area. Please don’t let big money and corporate interests get in the way of doing what’s right.

The Palace of Fine Arts has symbolized an Bay Area wide investment into the cultural diversity of the Bay Area. Countless dance groups are proud to say they have performed on the beautiful and historic stage. Creating a Center for Arts and Culture would further celebrate the inherent diversity of the Bay Area and create a year-round stage for celebrating various cultural events. These events would naturally bring in people from all over the bay area and one would argue, all over the state and the nation. Consider the cherry blossom festival in DC – why shouldn’t the Bay Area have a large diwali festival, or cinco de mayo – festivals that would be engagement for local communities and for tourists who frequent the Bay. The historic SF Ethnic Dance Festival is just one of the many events that would be engaging people from all over. This is an amazing venture that will be appreciated world wide. Arts and Culture is just the beginning – can you imagine it growing into a place where researchers could also come and do residencies to study various topics? The potential for this is endless. Please make the Palace of Fine Arts the new Palace of Fine Arts – Center for Global Arts and Cultures! – Best regards, Nadhi Thekkek, Artistic Director, Nava Dance Theatre, a bharatanatyam dance company (performed in the Ethnic Dance Festival in 2014 as Nava Dance Theatre, and 3 other times in the Palace of Fine Arts as a student for a different dance company – Kala Vandana)

Although I am not a San Francisco resident I heartily endorse the proposal to make the Palace of Fine Arts a new center for global arts. It is a wonderful and fitting venue for a variety of dance, theater and cultural performances. SF would be wise to seriously consider this option as the best possible choice. Thank you.

The Center for Global Arts and Cultures offers a wonderful opportunity for San Francisco residents and visitors from all over the world to experience the cultural diversity that distinguishes our city and is very much part of our identity. It would provide an opportunity for people to be entertained and educated. It offers a “home” to many of the small dance and performing arts organizations that struggle to find affordable space in which to perform and share their unique artistic skills. PLEASE NO GYMS, HOTELS, OR RESTAURANT COMPLEXES. San Francisco has plenty of these, and too few performing arts venues. The Center for Global Arts and Culture would be a valued and truly unique addition to the city’s artistic offerings.

It was so great to be back home at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater this festival season. As a former performer and audience member of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, I see the Palace of Fine Arts Theater as the center for ethnic dance and music of the Bay Area. Having been an anchor presenting institution for nearly 40 years, the SF Ethnic Dance Festival is due for a stable physical space which serves the ethnic artist community of the Bay Area and enriches the lives of the local residents of San Francisco and those visitors who come from afar. There’s no where in the world that is enriched with culture like the Bay Area, and the Palace of Fine Arts would be the perfect location for a hub of Global Arts and Culture to preserve tradition and facilitate the evolution of tradition. Please keep our home.

This is the BEST proposal of all!

This proposal is perfectly aligned with the original purpose of the Palace of Fine Arts. It not only would reflect the diversity of our city, but would encourage more cultural understanding among peoples of different backgrounds. We have a duty to move the world towards peace and acceptance of others and this is one critical tool. Please don not consider completely commercial venture such as Bay Club which will mar the cultural landscape by not using the facility, which is centrally located to tourists and residents alike, to better our community. Further, the team assembled is of the highest caliber and understands well what the city needs.

As a fourth generation San Franciscan, I would like to express my support for the Palace of Fine Arts Foundation/World Arts West proposal for the future use of the Palace site. This proposal would best serve the diverse communities of the City. Such use would be consistent with the historic purpose of the building.

The Global Arts and Cultures proposal is the most appropriate for this historic site, as it celebrates the unique cultural diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area. The City needs an important landmark space as its cultural arts hub and the Palace of Fine Arts is the perfect venue. I have attended several Ethnic Dance Festivals here and the energy at these events is palpable, encouraged by the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Please do not turn this space into a commercialized or fitness-oriented arena. Those enterprises serve a niche, high-income producing clientele, while a cultural arts space serves everybody.

As I true native of San Francisco being born and raised here, having a Center for Global Arts and Cultures for our beloved City is extremely important. This center will help educate and promote the many diverse cultures and communities that we are so lucky to have in this great city of ours. As evident in last Friday, June 19, 2015, U.S. Conference of Mayors, people throughout the U.S. and the world are impressed with how we cherish our many races and cultures from the Latinos, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Filipinos, the Vietnamese, other Asian groups, the Italians, the Irish, the French, the Russians, the Greeks, the Scottish, the Middle Eastern people, the LGBT, and many other groups that reside in our city. Please kindly consider in having a venue where all the various races and cultures that will be able to present, used and educated the public and the many visitors from around the world. I have grew up in the 1950’s visiting this gorgeous Maybeck artistic Panana-Pacific 1915 World Exposition building which would befitting to have the worlds’ cultures and races showcased here. Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

“The Palace of Fine Arts Theater has been a valuable home for performing arts and a treasure for San Francisco. The city is overflowing with fitness centers and sports facilities, yet performing arts venues of this size are severely limited. A global arts center such as this has the potential to benefit families throughout the Bay Area. It is known that children with performing arts education do better in school and that exposure to other cultures helps them throughout life.

In the past, San Francisco has been a beacon of light that celebrated diversity. The continuing decline in support for the arts is helping to create another homogenized city like so many others across the United States. There is no other event with the scope of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, which we have enjoyed for 37 years. Let us keep our priorities straight and give much needed support to the Center for Global Arts and Cultures and continue to offer the world a home for art and diversity.

Lynda Roti

We need this! This proposal offers our bay area community a venue for sharing and introducing the cultures of the world. In these narrow times, we need the beauty and inspiration of the arts. We don’t need another sports venue. I support this proposal and would drive from the east bay to be a regular patron. Thank you for your time.

Please allow the SF Ethnic Dance Festival to remain at the Palace of Fine Arts

I have been a patron and participant of the Ethnic Dance Festival since itʻs inception, as a performing member of Gamelan Sekar Jaya (gsj.org). Our group of musicians and dancers is celebrating 35 years of success in the Bay Area. We must acknowledge the role played by the EDF in supporting our group and the many other performing arts groups in the region. The diverse cultures that make up our Bay Area are one of our greatest assets and must be supported in order to flourish. The many performing arts groups of this region need access to this great theatre! Our family also supports the Na Lei Hulu I Kawekiu (Patrick Makuakaneʻs Hula group) and annually attend their performances in the Palace of Fine Arts. This proposal is the best use of this valuable resource as a theatre. Please, not another sports complex, movie theater or restaurant!

I think that the Center for Global Arts and Culture proposal is perfect for the Palace of Fine Arts venue considering the site’s history as part of the Panama Pacific Exhibition and the fact that it’s already home to many cultural performances. It would be a great permanent home for San Francisco’s prestigious Ethnic Dance Festival. And the credentials of its Board of Directors would ensure that the project is done right.

As the director of the Bay Area Flamenco Festival, I would like to express my organization’s full support of this proposal for a much needed Center for Global Arts and Cultures. The team that has gathered to back this proposal is of the highest level of capacity and perfectly situated to bring such a project to fruition and take it into the future.

I support the proposal for the Center for Global Arts and Cultures at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

I have enjoyed attending and volunteering at concerts and performances at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater for over a decade. This theater is one of the best in the City and, in my experience, the Bay Area. Everyone I have talked to about the theater agrees that it is the best, or one of the best,venues in which to enjoy performances of all kinds with great acoustics and site lines no matter where you sit. I support retaining, renovating and upgrading the theater no matter what other aspects a project includes. Specifically, I only support the projects that preserve the theater, rotunda, lagoon and associated features of the current site.

I find the most suitable proposal to be the Center for Global/World Arts and Cultures because it uses the theater and setting as the foundation for the developments to accompany them. Space for educating in the theater arts would fill a void and develop new talent for the lively theater scene in SF. Adding the rehearsal and class spaces, again, further enlarges the scope of related activities.

Two serious issues with the current site are parking and restrooms. These must be addressed realistically in the new project. The loss of most Palace parking to the Doyle Drive project has severely impacted potential audience members.  Although we want to move toward fewer cars, the current reality requires a certain level of parking in order for the site to work.

Restrooms in the park area are sorely needed. Thousands of people come through the area and there are no “human need” facilities for them. They resort to pleading with the theater staff to be allowed to use the theater restroom.

I like the idea of opening up the lagoonside of the building somehow with glass and an entrance from the Rotunda with cafe and so on. It would be a lovely place to sit and visit with a view of the beautiful grounds outside.

Above all, preserve the theater! Thank you.

San Francisco has long been a city with broad cultural diversity. Though there have been some dark moments in that history, there have also been many positive episodes. San Francisco was even the location for the initiation of the United Nations.

These days one hears both a call for assimilation of new immigrants into the American culture and voices asking that global roots be kept alive. We think nothing better supports keeping those roots alive in a productive and positive way than through ethnic dance and music. Programs like the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival exhibit the amazing diversity of the peoples in the Bay Area.

From the very first time we saw a performance of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, we were convinced that this event celebrates diversity while bringing all these peoples together in a way that encourages positive cross­cultural communication and assimilation into our multi­culture that is America.

Because this incorporation of cultures is very important to us as a country, we think the proposal titled the “Center for Global Arts and Cultures” should be chosen as the best option for redevelopment of the Palace of Fine Arts. It is the only proposal that goes beyond a local focus and takes on broader, worldwide artistic endeavors. The Palace of Fine Arts located here in San Francisco in the Bay Area is the best venue for this to take place.

Dr. Stephen Bicknese and Corinne Spingarn

Personally I feel this is the absolute best use of this beautiful space. It was named the Palace of Fine Arts for a good reason. As the only remaining building (I believe) from the 1915 Pan Pacific games, and the first landmark you see as you arrive in SF after crossing the GG bridge, this is a building that reminds everyone how important the “fine arts” are to the Bay Area. From it’s glorious architecture to it’s wonderful theater it is a wonderful treasure for San Francisco. Please help it remain a venue for global arts and culture as it was originally intended.

It should be duly noted that I, Michael Luckoff, President of the Board of Directors of the Palace of Fine Arts League, do not endorse this or any other applicant. As indicated in the presentation by the Center for Global Arts & Culture, my name was used in reference to their Leadership Team without my permission. The Board of Directors voted to remain neutral during the RFP process and any applicant who sought our endorsement was sent the identical letter stating the Board’s intent to remain neutral.

Finally, a plan that truly reflects our City and fulfills Maybeck’s original vision! There are few individuals with the skills and experience to fill this venue with world class performances and public experience. The roster of leaders for this proposal truly impresses! I hope this vision is shared by Parks and Rec! This purpose serves and reflects the broadest spectrum of San Franciscans!

This is the best place to represent the Global Arts and Culture. Please keep it that way and let the world know about it.

With the rise of Tech industries in the Bay Area, I believe the world needs to be reminded of what makes San Francisco so lovable and worldly unique: it’s people. San Francisco is not defined by the fancy gyms, restaurants, hotels, or architecture, it is defined by the unique and loving people that fill it. Every person who left their heart in San Francisco did so because they felt like they belonged and that they could still be themselves among many. The Center for Global Arts & Culture creates the conditions for belonging to occur in San Francisco. They allow cultural exchange, dialogue, and learning to occur so that we are better able to see our similarities rather than our differences. They are able to bring world cultures and its people closer to together to make a smaller world. The core of this smaller world can be in San Francisco City, through the Center for Global Arts & Culture.

We travel to the bay, rent hotel rooms, eat in your restaurants as a result of the efforts of world arts west. The palace of the fine arts should remain just that a palace for the fine arts. Historically this is a global center for the arts and this is why we travel north to come here. Please keep and grow this 35, ney, 100 year tradition in the arts here in the palace of the fine arts.

Dr. Carolee T. Bull

what a beautiful space for the center for arts and culture and NOT A SOCCER STADIUM!!!! OR A GYM!!! there are plenty of gyms and park space for kids to place outside(fresh air!!!) and save the space for dancing and cultural events to honor this former pan pacific site

This proposal, in my opinion, presents by far the best and most worthy use of the Palace of Fine Arts. It would maintain the theme of celebrating world cultures consistent with the 1915 International Exhibition and serve as a performance venue for the unique San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival as well as expand opportunities for large-venue productions. The proposal also recognizes the value of the venue for wedding parties and other special event bookings. It is a beautiful, treasured location for the public that should not be turned into a sports complex or hotel. I fully support the Center for Global Arts & Culture Proposal and believe it will flourish as a performance venue and visitor landmark.

This is the only proposal that truly fits and continues the place and traditions of the palace of fine arts.

The Center for Global Arts & Culture is a project well worthy of our international city and its world-renowned arts community. This project would fill an important gap in the current San Francisco arts landscape – both as much-needed physical space to house significant arts projects that cannot find adequate venues in SF, and as a permanent home for World Arts West – a venerated Bay Area treasure showcasing the best of world cultures right here at home. Equally compelling is the opportunity to attract “leading-edge” performances and installations, and major touring artistic projects for which no current venue is adequate. The inclusion of international cuisines, architectural and historical components makes this proposal for a Center for Global Arts & Culture uniquely compelling for San Francisco at this time! The leadership team is uniquely qualifies and inspires the confidence that once undertaken, this project will be brilliantly executed and managed.

International arts & culture projects have risen and fallen over the years in San Francisco due to a lack of sustainable patronage. By establishing a center for public culture that honors the diverse performance genres that now make their home here, the city can inspire creative placemaking on a scale that inspires. The worlds of both high tech transnationalism and economically- driven migration can be honored in a city that has always stood for human rights. Do the right thing: let these stellar arts and culture leaders assembled around this Center for Global Arts and Culture charge run with the ball. They will attract innovators and new patronage that will help to keep the city human-sized while cutting edge.

For a number of years I’ve attended the World Arts dance performances and loved them. I was also one of the original members of the Exploratorium. I’ve seen some theatrical performances as well. The Palace of Fine Arts is a SF treasure that should remain as such with as little physical change as possible. Experiencing the entire location has been such a rewarding adventure for my friends and family over the years. Our society has become ever so more diverse and to have a Center that highlights that diversity is crucial to our understanding of our community.

I support this proposal wholeheartedly! San Francisco needs this, and the location couldn’t be better. No more hotels, or fitness centers please.

In my opinion this proposal for a Center for Global Arts & Culture is by far the most appropriate use for the PoFA and surrounding facilities. A true investment in the astounding creativity that ultimately drives the most prolific economic engines of our region. Be it the creativity that launches high tech start ups, runs the entertainment industry, tourism or finance… the arts are where it all begins. AND the amazing ethnic diversity in the Bay Area deserves a fabulous dedicated venue… just as supportive as the SF Opera House and Symphony Hall have been to the tourism and livability quotient for the SF Bay Area. An arts venue dedicated to this specific use is much needed and long overdue.
Thank you!

I’ve attended the Ethnic Dance Festival for over a decade and totally support the possibility of a Center for Global Arts and Culture. As a parent of a dancing daughter who performs, choreographs, produces (such as The Jewish Nutcracker) and teaches over 30 different cultural dance forms, I have experienced first hand the need for more support for cultural/ethnic dance. Cultural dance should be viewed, supported and respected as professional dance at least as much and maybe more than is dance in the ballet and modern dance world.

I fully support the efforts of World Arts West and the Palace of Fine Arts Foundation to preserve and enrich this historic landmark’s legacy while supporting the thousands of artists in the Bay Area who have struggled for years to preserve the diverse global cultural legacies of the Bay Area without consistent, reliable access to affordable, world-class performance facilities and event staff. This site deserves its next chapter to honor the purpose for which it was created while supporting the next generation’s cultural milieu.

This seems to be the only worthy proposal in the list. It would be a travesty to turn PFA into a fitness club.

Please continue to keep the Palace of Fine Arts as a center for arts and culture. Please keep the theater. Please do not allow it to become a sports complex. It is an important historical and cultural icon in our city. Thank you!
Lori Sanders

What a great idea for the Bay Area. The Center for Global Arts and Culture will attract a wide variety of events and presentations for the diverse population of the greater Bay Area . The Palace of Fine Arts is a SF and Bay Area landmark, it should be used for something that is open to all of the people, not something for a select few.

I was treated to a ticket to the Ethnic Dance Festival this weekend and was in awe of the richness and diversity presented through music and dance. I was also struck how these many different styles and rhythms are woven together into one wonderful performance. I think the possibility of presenting this wonderful blend of arts and culture through the Center for Global Arts and Culture. I hope that you will choose this future for the site.

I have enjoyed attending and volunteering at concerts and performances at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater for over a decade. This theater is one of the best in the City and, in my experience, the Bay Area. Everyone I have talked to about the theater agrees that it is the best, or one of the best,venues in which to enjoy performances of all kinds with great acoustics and site lines no matter where you sit. I support retaining, renovating and upgrading the theater no matter what other aspects a project includes. Specifically, I only support the projects that preserve the theater, rotunda, lagoon and associated features of the current site.

I find the most suitable proposal to be the Center for Global/World Arts and Cultures because it uses the theater and setting as the foundation for the developments to accompany them. Space for educating in the theater arts would fill a void and develop new talent for the lively theater scene in SF. Adding the rehearsal and class spaces, again, further enlarges the scope of related activities.

Two serious issues with the current site are parking and restrooms. These must be addressed realistically in the new project. The loss of most Palace parking to the Doyle Drive project has severely impacted potential audience members. Although we want to move toward fewer cars, the current reality requires a certain level of parking in order for the site to work.

Restrooms in the park area are sorely needed. Thousands of people come through the area and there are no “human need” facilities for them. They resort to pleading with the theater staff to be allowed to use the theater restroom.

I like the idea of opening up the lagoon-side of the building somehow with glass and an entrance from the Rotunda with cafe and so on. It would be a lovely place to sit and visit with a view of the beautiful grounds outside.

Above all, preserve the theater! Thank you.

I have attended several dance performances in the past at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, by the Palace of Fine Arts Foundation / World Arts West Organization and I have to point out through my observation, that they really do represent the heart and soul of the diversity and culture of San Francisco. The gathering of local community groups, friends, family and local or visiting audience members all bring together a vibrant and enriching experience for San Francisco. Their proposal would allow them to continue this wonderful heritage for many more generations and let our children know, celebrate and honor the depth and beauty of San Francisco. With utmost sincerity, I wholeheartedly support their proposal, work, intentions and vision for the Palace of Fine Arts. And I look forward to its growth and fruition.

As a San Francisco native and a former Exploratorium staff member, I would be proud to see the Palace of Fine Arts space become the Center for Global Arts and Cultures. This project will celebrate the diversity of San Francisco and will be a lightning rod for creative and intellectual energy. This vital project will rejuvenate the creative spark in the city and bring new and exciting talent and interests from all over the world. Let us celebrate our history as San Franciscans and create a shared space where cultures meet and new ideas thrive. Growing up I spent much of my young life at the Palace of Fine Arts, visiting and later working at the Exploratorium, and watching transformative performances at the Ethnic Dance Festival. This space was meant to host art, inspire new audiences, and celebrate diversity and ideas. Let it remain so.

This concept strikes me as a potentially excellent balance of a community-based/altruistic endeavor and a revenue generating enterprise (which is a must have). The performance component is unique enough to be additive to the mix of entertainment available in the area.

The central question for this landmark is what concept provides the most benefit to the most people — a non-negotiable prerequisite — with a practical and realistic basis for operational sustainability. The Center for Global Arts & Culture is a strong candidate in this regard.

I think this a great proposal as it creates a destination for anyone living in, around or visiting San Francisco. Compared to the other options, is to me is a destination for all. This could be SF’s version of the Sydney Opera House.

I am a 45 year homeowner in San Francisco and enjoy all our beautiful park spaces and historical.cultural treasures. The Palace of Fine Arts combines both.

After reviewing all the proposals for future use of this space, it is clear to me that the proposal to make this a Global Center for Arts and Culture is far and away the most desirable use of this treasure. It continues the original intent of the Expo and it gives us something a world class city needs to make available for the world. It will be a major tourist attraction, performance space and educational resource. The arts help us to appreciate and learn from other cultures in a way that nothing else can do.

I urge you to select this proposal and then to give it full support. I am confident funding will be forthcoming from many sources ranging from individuals (count me in) to public funds to large corporations and foundations.

Sincerely, Rev. Dr. Glenda Hope

This is the strongest proposal for the use of the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. As a child growing up in SF, the ethnic dance festival was a highlight in the summertime. It was an opportunity to not only witness the vibrant arts and culture of our global and local community, but it was also a chance to visit a beautiful site, and to see your own culture reflected back in a big way that normally doesn’t happen in mainstream cultural entertainment. The Palace of Fine Arts, having lost the Exploratorium, should maintain its firm hold as a cultural and educational space that is open and accessible to all. I cannot think of a better use for it than as the home of World Arts West and the permanent home for the annual ethnic dance festival.


Comments on the Equity Community Builders Proposal

Having been to the Palace of Fine Arts several times over the years, I think that the Palace could benefit from being more open and accessible to the community and visitors. I also appreciate that the parking is limited there and how overflow parking to the site impacts the surrounding neighborhood. For these reasons, I believe that the Equity Community Builders proposal does a good job at allowing for free and continuous public access to the Palace at the main level Grand Concourse, and generates a lower demand for parking than the other proposals would generate. I also like that the hotel use in ECB’s proposal provides a round-the-clock presence at the Palace along with the public concourse and provide a safer eyes-on-the-ground presence for the neighborhood, without being invasive. I also like the public concourse’s openness for the full height and length of the Palace and its bright and open environment.

I am pleased to provide support for the ECB/LMS proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts. As the Founder and President of a national organization that hosts multi-day training and education programs for professionals that visit from all across the country, one of our greatest challenges is finding lodging that is appropriate and within reasonable proximity to our building on the Main Post of the Presidio. As a result, we are often forced to lodge guests at hotels that are further from the Presidio, which not only prevents visitors from fully enjoying and utilizing all that the Presidio and surrounding area has to offer, but also requires that our nonprofit organization spend more of our resources on providing transportation to and from the park area (which also contribute to the air pollution problems that are associated with such transportation). The development of a multi-use facility that contains lodging and other amenities that can be enjoyed by both visitors to San Francisco, as well as residents, is particularly appealing and we are confident that this type of development, which will also preserve the natural beauty and attraction of the Palace of Fine Arts will have a positive impact on the entire surrounding area.

In addition, I remain impressed and inspired by the stellar work of ECB and their partners throughout the area, particularly with respect to the development of Cavallo Point as a place for lodging, retreat, and restoration. This is a group that has a record of accomplishment, and a reputation for getting major projects done with integrity and thoughtful consideration and involvement from the local community. I am confident that they will apply the same practices to the development of this project and that it will quickly become as an asset and an attraction to the entire city.

ECB’s proposal is without question the best plan for the Palace of Fine Arts. As a resident of the neighborhood I would be delighted to witness ECB’s plans materialize. It would make the Palace of Fine Arts all the more special. Cavallo Point is a perfect example of ECB’s ability to respect the beautiful historical treasures of our beautiful surroundings and at the same time be forward-thinking. I would not trust anyone else with this project.

Thank you,
-Cecilia Freund

This team has the appropriate and necessary experience and capitalization to complete the project when compared to the other groups. It has demonstrated success in the past by working with the community and the National Park Service to restore Fort Baker and create the beautiful Cavallo Point Lodge. This has served the public interests and the government well by providing income to the government, restoring a landmark property to its historic splendor, and creating a successful hotel which is not only a great amenity for the local community and visitors alike.
This team has worked with great sensitivity to the community in the past and they will do so again in restoring and enhancing the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, one of San Francisco’s important and beautiful landmarks.

ECB has a proven track record with adapting historic buildings to new uses in a thoughtful and meaningful way. This proposal builds on their experience creating great places and will allow the Palace of Fine Arts to once again be an exciting place for locals and visitors as it was in the Panama Pacific International Exposition.

Rel The Palace of Fine Arts

Dear San Francisco Recreation & Parks:

We live one block from the Palace of Fine Arts at the corner of Beach and Broderick and have been owners here since 2008 and have been aware of the proposal process for the alternative uses of this wonderful, and historic property. In our frequent walks to and through the Palace grounds, we have met a great many visitors, both local, from other US cities and a great many from around the world. This is a beloved and very beautiful San Francisco landmark.
After reviewing a number of the proposals, we believe that the ECB proposal makes a lot of sense and represents a balanced and protective use and one that will provide long-term financial support for the maintenance and improvement of the historic building and grounds.

We are also aware of ECB’s exceptional Cavallo Point Lodge property. This exceptional project demonstrates the company’s unique ability to preserve and protect the historic Fort Baker property. We are frequent visits and send many friends to stay at the hotel. It is, like the Palace of Fine Arts, a very rare and exceptional landmark property. It is accessible both to visitors for their daily enjoyment and a very low impact hotel use for local residents and visitors. With ECB’s involvement and as local Marina residents, we are very comfortable with the hotel use for the Palace and the other uses suggested by ECB, and we encourage the City to seriously consider ECB’s proposal.

I would like to be on your list of email contacts for the ongoing review of this very important San Francisco landmark project.

Also, please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.

Paul Eveloff
Pokonobe Associates/JENGA®
Chef’s Press, LLC.
Managing Trustee – The Joseph R. Parker Foundation
2200 Beach #202
San Francisco, CA 94123
c. 415.518.5454
e. peveloff@gmail.com

Urging you to select the ECB proposal because:

This is an extraordinary opportunity for San Francisco. Our City desperately needs more public access/participation/recreation spaces. In early January, 2013, after reading about the Exploratorium space in the Marina Times, I wrote the following to a friend involved with SPUR and sent it to supervisor Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org and staff Catherine Stefani, Margaux Kelly, Jess Montejano (though I did not receive a response from the SF staff).

“I read the article with great interest. Here is my idea in case it has not yet been suggested and it might capture someone’s imagination:
The Ferry Bldg renovation and development as a marketplace for farmers of organic items, cafes, restaurants and indoor vendors of good goods and tasty foods is wildly successful. It is also wildly crowded at most times. I have long thought that we need a second such place for both San Franciscans and visitors to use and enjoy. The Palace of Fine Arts could be that second special location. Art and theater could certainly have a place along side the food related activities. Both are major assets of SF and figure prominently in our well being and quality of life.”

Creating a new, badly needed, broad and enriched public access space – a market place for ideas, learning, the arts, culture and entertainment as ECB/LMS has proposed, is what is needed. I am an artist and a UCD Professor Emeritus (art & design), so the well thought through and planned art and cultural aspects of ECB’s proposal I find are an excellent aspect of what could be done at the Palace. Their proposal would be a major contribution to the community and visitors alike.

Respecting and enhancing the entire building and connecting with other public entities is a strength of this proposal as is the team’s extensive experience doing similar projects in other important historical structures. Noteworthy examples are The Thoreau Center and their successful transformation of historic Fort Baker into Cavallo Point Lodge. The team is excellent. Importantly, they have sensitivity to historic buildings and sustainability and how to give them new life while preserving their cultural and community character. This proposal, acknowledging the significance of site, also envisions the interaction and connection of the project with its spectacular surroundings far more than any of the other proposals.

I appreciate the care and understanding with which the team plans to address sustainability and public accessibility as well as to mitigate noise, traffic and parking. Their approaches are thoughtfully in-tune with the existing issues San Francisco faces in these regards.

The ECB/LMS team has what is, perhaps, most relevant – experience. Their assembled team brings together impressive background and knowledge in creative design, historic rehabilitation, financing, operations, and the curating of art programs.

Funding a project of this scope will not be easy. ECB has the experience proving that they can manage the financing of a project of this magnitude and importance while maintaining the quality of the design and plan. The proposed ECB hotel addresses a crucial concern given ever-present budget issues. iI provides a continuous stream revenue source to support ongoing operations and maintenance of the Palace of Fine Arts ensuring the financial viability of the public experience of the Concourse maximizing public use. Unlike several of the other proposals, ECB’s hotel component provides a key contribution – round-the-clock, on-site management (possibly also a safety/security benefit at night for the neighborhood). This directly addresses the public access question regarding admission fees which are a necessary aspect of some of the other proposals. The restaurants, art/gallery/ exhibition/event spaces and facilities for the hotel are envisioned to be available to the public. In addition, a major public benefit is that the hotel is the built-in management overseeing all of the ground floor necessary to allow for free and continuous public access. The lodging element is also the cornerstone of this project’s ability to provide tax/income to the City, Recreation and Parks Department and to the many individuals and groups benefiting from businesses and jobs created.

Beyond my concern that some of the other proposals require the establishment of a yet-non-existing, or loosely suggested, organization or operating entity and the need to finance the projects through fund-raising campaigns, the question arises, “Why here?” It seems that several of the projects have no reason to be located in this spectacularly beautiful environment – near the Presidio, adjacent to Crissy Field, the Marina Green – within a stone’s throw of the GG Bridge and gorgeous National GG Recreational Area.

In addition, sports, theater and performing arts venues require more parking, especially as, surely, some events will be planned for evenings… let’s not even imagine what happens to traffic at rush hour when such occasions will be taking place Friday, nights and/or during weekend heavy usage days.

Finally, the ECB design with its full height openness bringing in daylight, the inviting large entry, the Rotunda, the renewed use of the restored grand doors – all of this connecting the building, once again, with its surroundings. The project proposal also suggests the possible richness of engaging with the surrounding cultural amenities. I envision Fort Mason Center as it partner with the Center’s many artistic, cultural and educational organizations and events.

When I wrote my brief thoughts/ideas in my January, 2013, email I imagined a name something like “SF Picnic” (for the mind and the body). The ECB proposal goes beyond my wildest dreams. I know that I, my husband, Tom, and friends and family and our guests would all use it constantly. ECB’s dream would be a great contribution to the life of the City.

Gyöngy Laky, Professor Emeritus, UCD
Thomas C. Layton

The following comments are addressed to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Dept. (RPD) in support of the Equity Community Builders’ (ECB) Proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts.

By way of brief context, I’m familiar with the principals of ECB. I’ve worked with them for many years and can personally attest to their competence and integrity. They bring to the table a uniquely relevant experience from their work at Fort Baker and the Cavallo Point Lodge. This adaptive re-use development was a success in so many ways, reflecting a unique public/private venture, combining the National Park Service, a restauranteur and a private developer, namely ECB. Not coincidentally, the Fort Baker Cavallo Point project themes carry over ECB’s proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts, viz: food, retail and upscale lodging in a unique park setting.

This proposal distinguishes itself from the others by its predictable, sustainable revenue source under-girded by the 160 rooms (as opposed to other uses which are paid for through intermittent admission fees). From a public policy perspective, the benefits of the tax increment from property tax, plus hotel tax revenues, should be welcomed by a city that has an ongoing annual operating deficit. Additionally, a deceptively under-appreciated benefit of the ECB proposal is that it has low impact on the neighborhood traffic grid. The lodging included in ECB’s proposal generates much lower demand for parking because most visitors don’t have a car and employees can use public transit. Although not pointed out in ECB’s proposal, proximity to the Presidio allows joint use of the park’s transit loop between that base and the central business district.

Lastly, kudos for ECB’s inclusion of the historic showcasing of the Pan Pacific Exposition and the work of Bernard Maybeck.

I strongly recommend your selection of ECB and its highly experienced development team.

Thank you for your attention.

John K. Stewart
The John Stewart Company

This is the most thoughtful of the proposals, with a highly regarded and experienced team. ECB has the direct experience necessary to conceive and execute the vision that is contained in the proposal. The lodging use seems to be an innovate way to bring visitors to a place of interest and at the same time, subsidize the cost of ongoing operations and maintenance of the Palace of Fine Arts. This also creates long term jobs for local residents. The other proposals will require more parking and increase congestion in this location. This is a win win offer for the City of San Francisco.

I like the idea of bringing hotel tax revenue and jobs to help support the initial investment to restore and beautify the existing structure. The only issue that needs to be carefully planned and considered is parking and traffic (both to the Marina/Lombard and within the residential neighborhood across the street). If it is well planned, than I could see this being another Ferry building type destination for locals and an historic lodging option for travelers.

As a San Francisco native, I’m excited that the Palace of Fine Arts will be revitalized and become a destination. This beautiful spot is currently underutilized in its current state and in need of some TLC. I would hate to see this turned into a sports/fitness center, especially something that warrants membership dues. Other proposals come close with their focus on arts and culture, but they lack experience and financial viability.

ECB and their team have the most relevant experience (Cavallo Point) to make this a viable space for the long term. Residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy this space (similar to the Ferry Building). The ECB proposal is the most balanced in concept and the most fiscally prudent for long term success.

I fully support this concept.

Here’s what I love about this proposal:
– There’s actual free public access to the building at all times of the day
-The use is centered around the Arts, which should be a focus and central theme of anything the City does, and which SF has truly dropped the ball on supporting, despite plenty of lip service. Its also what the building was used for originally. (not athletic facilities, performing arts, or whatever that Arcadium proposal is about).
– There are NO hotels any where near the north end of SF other than the shlock that is on Lombard Street. If anyone that wants more than a noisy motel room, they have to stay downtown or in Fisherman’s Wharf. This proposal solves that and allows tourist dollars to flow into the surrounding neighborhoods. How many of those tourists going to the GG Bridge will want to stay here instead?
– I LOVE Cavallo Point, which this team developed. It’s a truly classy rehabilitation of an historic set of buildings. They obviously get it. They’ve also rehabbed a number of buildings in the Presidio and elsewhere. This building needs some serious TLC.
-The Ferry Building is awesome. Having something similar at the Palace of Fine Arts would serve not only all those tourists that now visit in their buses but also the locals, like me.
Please support this concept and team.

I’ve reviewed all the project proposals for the Palace of Fine Arts and find the ECB proposal to be the most compelling. As a long time resident of the neighborhood, I appreciate the idea of free public access to arts and event spaces at the Palace of Fine Arts. I also like the hotel use of the property as it will bring visitors to the neighborhood and revenue to the park. Finally, I’ve been to and have hosted events at Cavallo Point and have been very impressed with the thoughtful execution of that project by ECB.

As a San Francisco resident, I fully support the efforts of Equity Community Builders in their proposal for the reinvigoration of the Palace of Fine Arts. As a pioneer developer of public/private projects at the Presidio and throughout the Bay Area, they have a proven track record of creative and viable developments. Headquartered nearby at the Presidio, I could not think a better entity to provide services to Park and Recreation for the renovation and re-imagination of the Palace of Fine Arts.

The Equity Community Builders Proposal seems like the most balanced approach for the Palace of Fine Arts project. The combination of lodging and the arts installations, galleries and exhibits combined with a restaurant, cafe, fitness and event spaces will make for a well-rounded and lively place for San Franciscans and visitors alike to enjoy. Unlike several of the other proposals, it will generate, through the lodging component, revenue, while offering the neighborhood the arts related activities. This revenue generation will assure the long-term viability of this architectural treasure. The ECB team also seems extremely qualified to make this project successful with expertise in similar developments, like Cavallo Point, and the capability to bring together the financing.

I can imagine what an incredible public space this could become: the public concourse open the full height
and length of the Palace, the grand central entry across from the Rotunda, the restoration and opening of
the historic doors to the walkway along the lagoon. I have always thought of the Palace of Fine Arts as being
kind of dark and inaccessible but I can see how ECB’s vision for the Grand Concourse for the Arts could
transform this wonderful building into a bright, open and accessible place for the community.

As a San Francisco resident for over 35 years, and as a local business owner, I strongly support the ECB proposal to develop the Palace of Fine Arts.

I am very impressed by this proposal. There has been great thought given to preservation of an iconic building, community impact, revenue generation, and making a wonderful place to enjoy the waterfront. I am familiar with other work done by ECB and the team they have assembled. Quality and follow through are evident in past projects. I have lived in San Francisco for nearly 40 years and hope to enjoy this project in the future.

Absolutely fantastic idea! Believe this sums it up best by ECB:

We envision a lively, interactive public experience throughout the ground floor as a complementary and natural extension of the recreational experience of the adjacent park and the broader northern waterfront from the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field and the Presidio to the Marina and Fort Mason. Based on our experience at Cavallo Point Lodge, we believe a hospitality use can be the economic engine that supports the restoration and ongoing operations, minimizes neighborhood impacts and provides meaningful revenue to the City, while not overpowering the essential public purpose and access to the Palace of Fine Arts.

Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing in support of the ECB proposal. I have known ECB and most of their consultants for many years. As a co-founding Trustee of the Bay School with Mr. Clawson, we worked closely with the Presidio Trust in a variety of complex matters to balance the needs of the School with the goals of the Trust. Mr. Clawson and ECB took the lead in dealing with the development and the results speak for themselves. Most significantly, despite the economic, meltdown and a variety of complexities associated with funding a non profit school while meeting the economic goals of the Trust, Mr. Clawson never compromised our mission or our goals. Leddy, Maytum, Stacy was the Architect for the project and they were a terrific firm to work with and produced an outstanding result for the School. I have worked with most of the lead consultants and contractors on ECB’s team and they are all first rate. Most importantly, I think the vision that is articulated in the presentation, both as to the innovative program, the public benefits and the character of the design is befitting of this magnificent structure.
As a fellow devotee of adaptive re-use of historic structures, I would hope that ECB is entrusted with this project.
Simon W.R. Snellgrove

I would like to submit my comments in support of Equity Community Builder’s Proposal for the Palace of Fine Arts. The developer and the consultant team have a successful track record in historic preservation and the creation of compelling public spaces. The hotel component provides a creative way to pay for and allow for maximized public access on the ground floor. It also provides significant revenue to the Rec Parks Department as well as to the City. It is in my opinion, this proposal is the most viable proposal to ensuring that the Palace of Fine Arts remains a valuable and active resource to all San Franciscan’s and its visitors.

As a destination brand and marketing expert, I have worked with development teams throughout the world to create properties that tell a story about the place, the history, the culture, and offer one-of-a-kind experiences. There is nothing cookie-cutter or formulaic about the approach and sensitivity that goes into each destination. Coates Consulting had the honor to work with ECB in the development of Cavallo Point – The Lodge at the Golden Gate. Without hesitancy or exaggeration, I can say that ECB is the most well rounded development team I have ever worked with since I founded my business 17 years ago. ECB offers a rare combination of design and technical know-how combined with creativity and connection to place and culture. Their care for a place, its residents, visitors, and the long term sustainability of their work is palpable. They are thorough in their project management and attentive to every line of the budget. They value timeliness and contributing to a collaborative and joyful work environment.

What also makes ECB such a great fit for the new Palace of Fine Arts project is their commitment to the Bay Area. Their firm was built on helping San Francisco be the best city in the U.S. These are my words, not theirs. What I learned in working with them is that they care about people, all kinds of people. They are committed to creating places that add to the value of life no matter what your circumstances are. They are committed to creating beauty and providing access to beautiful places. They are devoted to sustainability, not because it is trendy, but because it is the right thing to do. They believe that creating places that celebrate beauty, creativity, sustainability, residents and visitors alike will take pride in San Francisco for being a truly exceptional city in the U.S. and abroad.

While I know you are considering many reputable and creative proposals, I will say, as a resident of SF and a destination branding expert, the Palace of Fine Arts would be in the best of hands with ECB.

We live in the neighborhood and were sorry to see the Exploratorium go. We’re delighted to see SF Park and Rec putting energy into finding an appropriate use fthat will revitalize this iconic SF building as well as its grounds and provide an anchor of activity around the Marina and Crissy Field area.

We love the idea of an art-focused project which will enhance the neighborhood and be accessible to the people of San Francisco and its many visitors. The ECB proposal seems right on point in providing access, restoring the building to a renaissance of its former glory and doing so with a business that will provide for its sustainability. This is the team that made a success of transforming the Coast Guard station at Cavallo Point and we feel their track record, acumen as well as proven ability to complete this type of project are very exciting.
This proposal has:
The team with the most relevant experience
Hotel proposal works to effectively minimize parking, traffic and noise impacts
The lodging use is able to support the cost of rehabilitation and ongoing operations
Lodging provides significant income to the City and create many new jobs for local residents.
Allows for free and continuous public access to the Palace at the main level Grand Concourse
The proposed many uses will be a big draw for the neighborhood as well as visitors
ECB team can deliver the same quality that they did at Cavallo Point
Hotel use provides a round the clock presence at the Palace of Fine Arts
Proposal compliments the adjacent park and the other uses along the Marina Green and Crissy Field.
ECB’s vision transforms this wonderful building into a bright and accessible place for the community.
A great and appropriate plan to highlight all the best that San Francisco has to offer

We love the focus on San Francisco arts, products and creativity in ECB’s proposal. What a great and appropriate place to highlight all the best that San Francisco has to offer: authentic and in keeping with the history of the Palace and the Pan Pacific Exposition, free and accessible to the community and visitors.

Tragedy to see this public space and venue for dance and cultural diversity turned into a glorified eatery and food truck

Preserve our long history of multiethnic culture and keep this space for global arts and culture

I favor this particular proposal. It addressess the rich diversity of San Francisco and supports the community and the arts.

No Hotel/ Not Marketplace. These concepts would ruin the site and possibly the neighborhood which struggles with parking and transportation now.

Bay area native born in SF, mom grew up here.
This concept is too varied and too commercial, far from original intent which should be preserved.

It should be noted this presentation from ECB explicitly recommends removal of the existing theatre from the Palace of Fine Arts.

Strongly support appropriate expansion of the performing arts spaces as well as meeting rooms available to and shared by community groups.

Whatever is developed at the Palace of Fine Arts, however, it should include adequate parking and restroom facilities, especially for women. It is truly embarrassing to always endure the discrimination of having to stand in long lines in the lobby to meet an urgent personal need.

We have right now a lovely place where people congregate to celebrate music and the arts, relax, walk, jog, run. Let’s keep it that way.

Strongly support appropriate expansion of the performing arts spaces as well as meeting rooms available to and shared by community groups.

Whatever is developed at the Palace of Fine Arts, however, it should include adequate parking and restroom facilities, especially for women. It is truly embarrassing to always endure the discrimination of having to stand in long lines in the lobby to meet an urgent personal need.


Comments on the Maybeck Center Proposal

As a 15 year resident of the marina district and with family roots in the Marina dating back over 60 years, I am a strong supporter of the Maybeck proposal. The Maybeck proposal is a thoughtful redevelopment which takes into account the long history of the property and the current needs of the community. The proposal seemingly appears to generate the least amount of traffic and provides a much needed higher end hotel which is absent for visitors. The restoration of the onsite theatre also provides a wonderful community benefit. Once again, I think this proposal represents a responsible development which will protect the long history of the property while also preserving the rich culture of the neighborhood.

Having grown up and gone to high school in Pacific Heights, the Palace of Fine Arts has played a major role in my community and personal development. It is a place where I go for walks, it is a place where I go to celebrate jewish holidays, it is a place where I attend amazing shows, and it is the place where I graduated high school. Additionally, I am working with the SF Parks Alliance to help raise money to support the local parks around the city. I have read the summary proposals for the groups completing to develop the Palace of Fine Arts and I live in the neighborhood of the theater. I support the Maybeck Center proposal because it saves the existing theater for the community and seems like a good fit for the neighborhood and the space.


Harrison Watkins

As Marina residents, we strongly support the Maybeck Center Proposal. A boutique hotel would be a great addition to the neighborhood. There isn’t anything like it in the neighborhood and it will generate less traffic than uses like food halls or some of the other proposed uses. The fact that the proposal incorporates the Historical Society exhibits from the Pan Pacific and exhibits from the Exploratorium shows incredible respect for the buildings historic relationship to the neighborhood. And they save the theater. This is a great proposal!

We are huge fans of the Exploratorium. This is the only proposal that brings Exploratorium exhibits back to the Palace of Fine Arts. They also keep the theater and have the most experience with historic renovations. This seems like the best proposal.

I live just down the street from the Palace of Fine Arts and my wife and I have been bringing my daughter there to feed the ducks, go for walks and enjoy the serenity of the area since she was born (3 years ago). We love the Palace and the gorgeous park. Of all of the proposals, we like the Maybeck Center proposal best. We like that they plan to sell picnic baskets for people to enjoy, something I can see us doing on the weekends for sure. We also like that they are partnering with the California Historical Society and the Exploratorium. Having an exhibit telling the history of the World’s Fair makes sense since that is why it was built. Exploratorium Exhibits also make sense since they were there for so long, and that would be fun for my daughter and the kids in the neighborhood. Having a small hotel at the Palace would be great as well. The hotel options in Marina currently are a bunch of rundown roadside motels. I know our relatives and friends would absolutely love to stay in such a beautiful place when they come to visit. There are a lot of good features of this proposal. Strongly support.

I am a SF resident and strongly support the Maybeck proposal. I have known the principals of TMG and Flynn for 20 years and cannot think of anyone more qualified to undertake a development of this type. They are extremely experienced and talented in dealing with historic rehabs and their proposal works perfectly for the site and neighborhood. Thanks for your consideration.

No Hotel/ No Marketplace. The neighborhood can not handle this. The effect has not been thought out.
The Palace would become another Ferry Building. We have plenty of hotels on Lombard and loads of restaurants that need the support.
This addition would adversely affect the peace and beauty that the palace now has.

Love there proposal so far.
Need more details.

No privatization of out public space.

Again, this proposal while sounding better than a full gym and rec center(PLEASE DON’T DO THAT) still includes recreational facilities. No, this is a historic building that should be honored for what it was designed for, to display and educate the public about art. It should have galleries, performance spaces, dining, a cafe, etc. BUT FORGET THE GYM PART PLEASE. WHAT A TRAVESTY THAT WOULD BE.!!!

It should be noted that while TMG Partners and Flynn Properties give mention to “restoration of on-site theater” in their summary, there is no further mention in their presentation of any theater, and any design and/or space allotment as such.


Comments on the SFMAP Consortium Proposal

The San Francisco Museum at the Palace is the only proposal to offer an educational benefit to City residents and visitors. The Palace of Fine Arts is such an iconic historical venue that it deserves to be the showcase for San Francisco’s legacy. Further, this proposal preserves the theater, facilitates access to the Presidio and offers a dining experience by one of The City’s foremost restaurateurs. We do not need more sports facilities — nor a hotel — in the sector of the Marina. Please give full consideration to the SF MAP proposal. Thank you.

After looking at all the proposals, I was shocked to see that most of them suggest turning the Palace of Fine Arts into a hotel or spa or gym or any number of other private, mostly-for-profit concepts. San Francisco certainly has more than enough venues that put money into the pockets of the very rich. I support the SFMAP proposal because its aim appears to be maintaining this beautiful PUBLIC building and PUBLIC park as a MUSEUM open to ALL. Something along the lines of the Legion of Honor would be wonderful.

I fully support the SFMAP Consortium proposal. It is fully in keeping with the heritage of the site and the Palace of Fine Arts, which is to celebrate the city. The Pan-Pacific Expo was born to celebrate the future and a San Francisco Museum at the Palace will celebrate the city’s past. San Francisco is one of the most fascinating cities in the world and yet has never had a proper museum to tell its story. I am a born and raised San Franciscan and a lover of San Francisciana as well as long-time lover of the Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploratorium. I was heartbroken when my favorite place was relocated to the Embarcadero and the SFMAP would restore my heart and my faith in the city. While the Maybeck Center has some good ideas, I am very resistant to the plans to add hotel space which I fear would just turn the Palace into an exclusive convention hall site. The SFMAP proposal is the only proposal that accomplishes many things – preserving SF history, heritage and architecture, while maintaining public access and providing an educational and cultural experience for both residents and visitors. This proposal is the clear winning choice. Thank you.

Please use the Palace to celebrate culture and history of the Bay Area! This iconic building should be a place to celebrate history and innovation, which is the original purpose of Maybeck’s design. The SFMAP Consortium will boost the number of visitors to what is already a must-see landmark, bringing in tourists and revenue as well as being a local resource and gathering place!

This is a great proposal that would make the palace accessible and educational to the community at large. It gets my vote!

The best fit!!

I appreciated the proposal by the SFMAP Consortium and am in favor of its implementation. It addresses the sore need for a locally-run San Francisco History Museum. Such a museum would be an appropriate use of the hangar-like space in the Palace of Fine Arts. By providing for a large restaurant area, it also provides for a destination with exciting potential that everyone in San Francisco will want to visit multiple times. Finally, I’m glad to support a proposal that retains the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, an important resource for our local arts community. I think that SFMAP gets the balance right.

As an active member of multiple historic preservation organizations in The City, including The Victorian Alliance, the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society and the San Francisco History Association, I support the San Francisco Museum at the Palace. Of all the proposals submitted, theirs is the only one that both meets SFRPD’s criteria and incorporates historic education.

Thank you for your consideration.

The Palace of  Fine Arts is a living testament to San Francisco’s history. SFMAP (San Francisco Museum at the Palace) is a story telling museum that will evoke the City’s past, present and future in galleries that will welcome visitors from San Francisco, the Bay Area and the world. There is no better place for these stories, these experiences, these visions than within the walls of a building whose original purpose was to educate, enlighten and entertain.  This treasured landmark marvels at the stories it could tell if only it could speak.  Now, SFMAP, the San Francisco Museum at the Palace, will speak for it in a plan that is fully accessible to all, that creates historical galleries, retains the theater, establishes a learning center for children, and the only one that makes the most sense for the Palace and its neighbors.  Turn the Palace into a San Francisco history museum and the weeping maidens will weep for joy.

The SFMAP Consortium plan seems to best implement the varied activities required to serve diverse communities. Preserving the theater and avoiding crowding in a hotel are important.

Are we to duplicating the Exploratorium?

Best proposed use so far.
Keeping with original intent. Not run by profit-making private corporation.
I would however like to see public transportation addressed.
I do not approve of creating additional parking spaces or food services.
Public restrooms and maximum free public access please.