SF Rec and Park Announce Free Elevator Rides for Coit Tower Opening Celebration
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today complimentary elevator rides will be offered to the public on Wednesday, May 14th in celebration of the Coit Tower grand opening after its recent $1.7 million renovation and mural restoration. The rides will begin at 1PM. The old-fashion elevator, located in the middle of the Coit Tower, transports visitors to the top of the Tower’s observation deck for a 360-degree view of the City and the San Francisco Bay. Parking at Coit Tower will be restricted throughout the opening day, and the public is asked to take SFMTA Bus 39-Coit to visit Coit Tower.
“Our City’s treasured Coit Tower provides residents and visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about San Francisco’s unique history through its iconic architecture and art murals commissioned during the Great Depression that put our residents back to work,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “Today we celebrate this successfully restored San Francisco landmark and iconic art projects for the entire world to enjoy.”
“My office worked closely with Mayor Lee, SF Rec and Park, the Arts Commissions, and many dedicated neighbors to champion these crucial improvements to Coit Tower and its historic murals,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, whose district includes the landmark. “Future generations of residents and visitors will continue to enjoy this iconic sight on San Francisco’s skyline.”
The Coit Tower Elevator is now operated by the new Tower operation, Coit Tower LLC, an entity formed by Mr. Terry Grim, and manages the museum shop, and elevator operation concessions at Coit Tower. In addition, Coit Tower, LLC has invested a total of $75,000 in capital improvement in and around the Tower, which will elevate the atmosphere and ambience of the Tower to a museum status. Today, Coit Tower LLC has opened up a Coit Tower Bookstore with a robust docent program that incorporated the elevator operation, and docent and audio tours.
In October of 2011, SF Rec and Park issued a Request for Proposal for the elevator and concessions at Coit Tower. The Department included input from years of discussion with surrounding neighborhood groups such as the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (THD) and the Pioneer Park Project (PPP) and incorporated the overwhelming majority of the neighborhood groups’ goals and objectives in the RFP. In June, 2012, the SF Rec and Park Commission unanimously selected Coit Tower, LLC as the preferred operator for Coit Tower, and again in March 2014, the SF Board of Supervisors also unanimously approved the contract. This new contact has included an ongoing maintenance fund for the preservation and protection of the murals at Coit Tower.
“Coit Tower is an international landmark and one of the City’s top destinations with incredible views of the Cityas well as unique and priceless WPA-era mural,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “We are proud to share with the public of what we have accomplished in restoring the glory of Coit Tower.”
According to Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny, “Thanks to the support of our City partners and Bank of America as well as a dynamite team of conservators led by Architectural Resources Group and Anne Rosenthal Fine Art Conservation, the murals have been restored to their original splendor. We are thrilled with the outcome of this project and we can’t wait for the public to experience these wonderful treasures in all their glory.”
“Coit Tower is an iconic piece of San Francisco History and is very near and dear to the hearts of many San Francisco Firefighters”, said Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
The Recreation and Park Department funded the $1.7 million renovation and mural restoration with funds from its capital improvement project savings. The mural restoration was also supported by approximately $150,000 in capital funding from the San Francisco Arts Commission and a $100,000 grant from Bank of America. The San Francisco Arts Commission also contributed $150,000 towards the mural restoration. Since October 2013, the Tower has been closed to the public as it underwent the most extensive restoration in its history. During this time, many improvements were made, including replacing the roof; repainting the lobby ceiling and fixtures to bring it as close to its original state as possible; renovating the bathrooms; and performing various ADA upgrades in order to make the space more accessible. Anvil Builders, a San Francisco-based general engineering and construction company, performed the work. The mural restoration was led by Architectural Resources Group (ARG) in partnership with Anne Rosenthal Fine Art Conservation.
“Architectural Resources Group and ARG Conservation Services is proud to have played a major role in the conservation of this iconic San Francisco project. Our architects and conservators worked collaboratively with the San Francisco Park and Recreation Department and the Arts Commission to restore the building and manage the conservation of these treasured murals to their radiant original condition.” Said, David P. Wessel, AIC, FAPT, Principal, Conservator.
Anvil Builders CEO Hein Mein Tran is a decorated military veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and founder of Anvil Builders. “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with SF Rec and Park to renovate the amazing Coit Tower,” said Tran. “Led by our project executive and San Francisco resident Alan Guy, our entire Coit Tower team is proud to have applied effective construction solutions to this iconic structure.”
“We’ve reached new heights with the renovation of this iconic San Francisco monument,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “It’s now safer, accessible, better lit and ready for generations of new visitors.”
Coit Tower, a majestic fluted white column rising from the top of Telegraph Hill, was built in honor of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a true San Francisco character and devoted patron of the city’s firefighters. Since its completion in 1933, the Tower has become one of the city’s most beloved and iconic landmarks, welcoming visitors and residents to marvel at the 360-degree views of the City and the Bay offered by the Tower’s observation deck. In addition, the 27 murals that decorate the interior of the Tower represent one of the City’s most important cultural treasures. Painted in 1934 by a diverse group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the frescos provide a snapshot of life in California during the Great Depression and are rich with themes and imagery that continue to resonate today.
“The renovated Coit Tower will continue to be a compelling attraction for San Francisco residents and visitors,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “This jewel of San Francisco’s skyline is served by Muni’s 39 Coit bus route, which is a vital part of the Telegraph Hill neighborhood.”
The 39 Coit is an essential bus route that connects residents and visitors to key landmarks like Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. It also serves as a local bus service for residents of Telegraph Hill and North beach to connect with the Financial District. The 39 Coit serves 450 customers on weekdays and 500 on weekends.