LATEST: US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling was published Jan 27, 2016. The ruling was not in our favor. PHA is reviewing the ruling and will post a statement soon. 2016-01-27 Presidio Opinion
The Presidio Historical Association takes seriously its duty to protect, preserve and promote the Presidio of San Francisco, one of America’s most significant historic sites. Unfortunately in recent years, PHA has been forced to file a lawsuit against the Presidio Trust in an effort to block the Trust’s plans to alter the historic nature of the park.
BACKGROUND: The Presidio Historical Association and Sierra Club (Plaintiffs and Appellants) v. Presidio Trust (Defendant and Appellee), is now pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Case No. 13-16554
In 2007, the Presidio Trust, the federal agency charged with managing much of the Presidio of San Francisco, invited proposals to build a large hotel in the Presidio’s historic core, the Main Post, and chose that of the Larkspur Group. The proposed hotel would obstruct a view corridor to the Bay from the 1776 El Presidio fort and residence (part of which remains today as the Officers’ Club), Pershing Square, and the 19th century Montgomery St. barracks. Construction of a large hotel also means the Main Post with its adjoining National Cemetery, would no longer be, feel, or look like the historic place it is today. The PHA spoke out. It advised the Trust that the hotel would violate the spirit of at least two laws: It would require major new construction in a National Historic Landmark District (America’s most important historic sites) and would violate the Presidio Trust’s duty to protect the Presidio from “development”.
The Trust then initiated administrative proceedings concluding with Trust action raising prior restrictions on new construction high enough to accommodate the 14-building hotel proposed for the Main Post. When negotiations failed to change the Trust’s decision, the PHA saw no choice but to file legal action. We were joined by the Sierra Club — equally concerned by this threat to a national historic treasure. The National Trust for Historic Preservation filed amicus briefs.
These two groups supporting us in court together represent roughly 1,000,000 members.