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SAN FRANCISCO-San Francisco leaders plan to reopen Union Square today (Thursday) with performances to highlight new facilities and a spruced-up image for the historic park, which officials are hopeful will spark commercial leasing in the surrounding buildings.

Set in the heart of the city’s shopping district and dating back to the Civil War era, Union Square has been well used but also run down by residents and visitors over the years. For the past 18 months, the square has been boarded up while crews worked at transforming it into an Italian-style piazza complete with outdoor cafe, a new underground parking garage, light sculptures and an outdoor performance space.

With the $25 million makeover complete the Historic Dewey monument and signature palm trees have been retained. According to city officials the remodeled plaza pays tribute to Union Square’s distinctive history and captures the unique character and beauty of San Francisco. It is expected that the new Union Square will attract a new group of retail and office tenants to replace those lost in the dot-com bust.

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