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SAN FRANCISCO-Local baseball fan Gabriel Avila plans to build a Hispanic baseball museum in San Francisco and is eyeing the empty space surrounding Pacific Bell Park as a potential site.

Avila’s Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum would include a baseball Hall of Fame, exhibition and meeting space and a small retail center. Avila is looking for a long-term lease of up to 50,000-sf in the South Beach area.

The museum plan will be supported by retired Latino ballplayers, including Juan Marichal and Tito Fuentes. The Giants baseball team also shown its support by donating bats, jerseys and other baseball memorabilia for museum fund-raising auctions.

The museum building itself is still in the planning stages while the money is raised for construction. Corporate sponsors, individuals, and fund raising activities have made donations. Once built, the museum plans to sustain itself through the sale of museum artifacts, merchandising on the Internet, entrance fees, snack bar and concession stands, memberships and auctions.

Avila is trying to keep development costs at a minimum by looking for space in highly vacant areas, such as South Beach, which is home to Pacific Bell Park. Rents in South Beach currently range from $13 per sf to $26 per sf.

The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum was established in 1999 by Avila as a nonprofit organization in San Francisco.

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