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SAN FRANCISCO-Publicly held Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland has signed an agreement to redevelop the main hospital complex within the Presidio, an historic former army base at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. The estimated $100-million project calls for the historic buildings in the complex to be rehabilitated and for the non-historic wings of the main hospital building to be removed in favor of new construction.

The main hospital was closed in 1981. The redevelopment will result in a total of 161 apartments. Forest City says it intends to use sustainable practices and materials for the project and will seek certification from the US Green Building Council.

The Presidio was transferred to the National Park Service and made part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1994. In so doing, Congress mandated a funding model for the Presidio that requires it achieve economic self-sufficiency by 2013 or face being liquidated. The Presidio Trust was established in 1996 to achieve said self-sufficiency.

Prior to the main hospital project, as part of the self-sufficiency effort, the Trust selected the 23-acre site of the Letterman Army Medical Center to be redeveloped and leased. Following a design competition in 1997, a team led by Lucasfilm Ltd. was selected to replace the hospital with the Letterman Digital Arts Center.

Letterman Digital Arts Ltd., a George Lucas company, officially completed the $350-million redevelopment in June 2005. The 23-acre campus now comprises 843,000 sf in four five-story office buildings surrounded by a 17-acre park. The company and its affiliates Industrial Light & Magic and LucasArts occupy three of the four buildings.

The fourth building remained in shell condition until last month, when tenant improvements began for Babcock & Brown, an Australia-based investment advisory that signed a long-term lease for 155,000 sf. Located a 2 Harrison St. on the San Francisco waterfront for the past 16 years, the firm will relocate to One Letterman Dr. in the first quarter of 2008.

Three other projects are in the works at the Presidio. This spring, the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a Presidio tenant since 2001, will begin rehabilitating the barracks in the Presidio’s Main Post for use as the Walt Disney Family Museum and Library. The project will include a children’s learning center with hands-on art programs, an extensive collection of artifacts and archival material, exhibits on animation and motion pictures, a research center for scholars, exhibits of art works influenced by Disney, a book store/gift shop, and a small café. The museum is expected to open to visitors in August 2009.

The Trust also is working toward the creation of a lodge at the Main Post. In fall 2006 the trust released a request for expressions of interest in the project and received approximately 12 responses. Responses to the subsequent request for proposals is due later this month. Next week, respondents to the will offer their preliminary ideas and designs for the project. The Trust expects to begin negotiations with a project team this summer.

The Trust also is evaluating four responses to its March 30, 2007 request for proposals to lease and rehabilitate 12 historic buildings totaling 144,000 sf. The buildings are located west of the Letterman Digital Arts Center.

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