Presidio of San Francisco Adaptive Reuse of Historic Structures, National Park Service and Presidio Trust

Dornbusch Associates was the prime contractor responsible for leading a series of projects, beginning with overall planning of the Presidio’s conversion from management by Department of the Army to the National Park Service and, in a subsequent stage, to the newly formed Presidio Trust. The consulting team included 14 staff from 10 firms. Dornbusch Associates was also responsible for the primary economic and social impact analyses.

The Presidio of San Francisco, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge, occupies an area of 1,480 acres, containing hundreds of historic structures, historic forests, native and exotic plant species, and an abundance of wildlife. It had been an important Army base since the 1840’s.

Strategic Planning: The strategic planning addressed all components of the Presidio’s facilities, including especially envisioning the potentials and constraints of adaptive reuse of the many historic structures for commercial and residential uses. The effort included:

  •  Forecasting the market demand for the wide range of potential uses of the various facilities and the cultivation of prospective lessees, including office/institutional, retail, residential, hospitality services, biomedical research, conference center, and a variety of recreation activities;
  • Estimating the capital improvement costs and the methods and timing to fund those costs, recognizing the allocations of financial responsibility among the Department of the Army, National Park Service, Presidio Trust and the various public agencies and private tenants that would lease the buildings;
  • Development of a financial model to assist in planning and implementing decision-making; and
  • Preparation of a transition implementation strategy and action plan, including marketing, preparation of tenant solicitation packages, and evaluation/selection procedures.

Dornbusch Associates was responsible for technical oversight for all tasks and had particular responsibility for the concession and lease contracting analysis, prospectus design, and proposal solicitation and evaluation.

  • Economic Impact of the Use Conversions: The Park Service retained the firm to evaluate the economic and social impacts of the four adaptive use alternatives. The work included:A technical review of the adaptive use alternatives;
  • Adaptation of a computerized financial model to relate the costs of converting the building uses with the estimated operating revenues and costs associated with leasing the buildings under each alternative;
  • Assessment of overall plan’s feasibility, recognizing impacts on the government’s costs and revenues, local tax generation, employment, social impacts, housing, provision of health care services, and impacts on city services;
  • Identification of measures to mitigate the negative impacts and the associated costs;

Evaluation of public safety services, including an assessment of present operations, potential changes in existing operations involved in reassignment of responsibility to the National Park Service, the City of San Francisco, and/or a private contractor; analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of alternative responsibilities; and the associated capital requirements.

Lease Implementation: Dornbusch Associated provided advice and assistance in implementing the leasing plan. This entailed refining the leasing strategy to meet the changing program objectives, estimating the costs and revenues associated with leasing various sectors of the Presidio, and assisting with specific leases, including preparing requests for proposals to solicit tenants, select tenants, and negotiate the leases.

The project and leases were initially administered by the National Park Service, then later by the Presidio Trust.