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SAN FRANCISCO-San Francisco officials are moving toward selecting a plan that could revitalize the Old U.S. Mint, a vacant federal building just south of Market Street that has been standing unused for years.

“We’re trying to limit the city’s liability,” says Hala Hijazi of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Development today. She says three proposals for reopening the four-story building as a museum and public offices, a mixed-use museum affordable housing project, or a high-end time-share residence, are currently on the table.

The two designated criteria so far for choosing among proposed uses, according to Hijazi, are maintaining the historic character of the building and public benefit.

The most fully shaped plan from the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society would include space for a city museum as well as a new home for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Organized by a former aide to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the team supporting that approach is hoping that a federal commemorative coin may help fund the project.

The 77,000-sf building may also be converted into housing although at least part of the four-story property must be designated for use of the public.

One bit of good news this year, according to Hijazi, is that the price for seismic upgrading may be lower than thought earlier. Instead of $18 million, the cost could be as low as $10 million.

On Dec. 16, the eight-member task force that has been looking into the possibilities is expected to receive a staff recommendation, Hijazi says. By early January, the task force would then take a vote and send its suggested proposal to the mayor and supervisors.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors must vote to take over the property if receiving the federal government’s gift would be fiscally prudent.

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