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SAN FRANCISCO-A $123 million bond measure to renovate San Francisco’s historic Veterans War Memorial Building will be placed on this week’s ballot but local veterans are fighting the measure, saying it will take away their space.

The Veterans War Memorial Building is a four-story, 180,000-sf building on Van Ness Avenue, directly across from City Hall. The building was built in 1930 in honor of all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Most of the tenants of the War Memorial complex are beneficiaries of the War Memorial Trust Agreement of 1921. These tenants pay small rental fees to the War Memorial department for performance, office, service and storage space in the building. These tenants include the San Francisco Opera; Veteran’s for Peace; the San Francisco Symphony; the San Francisco Ballet; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the San Francisco Arts Commission. The complex also houses the Herbst Theater and the Green Room.

Proposition C would allocate $99 million to strengthen, renovate and retrofit the building. The other $24 million would be used to build an additional museum, a restaurant, two small theaters, two rehearsal rooms and a ticket agency. To pass, it would require a two-thirds vote.

The renovation would take 5,000-sf of space from the veteran beneficiaries, according to a local veteran’s group. As it is, veterans only occupy about 25% of the space, as opposed to the 80% they had when the building first opened. The veterans have been pushing for more space and are appalled that the city would actually take more space away from them.

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