SAN FRANCISCO — The century old Palace of Fine Arts Center, one of San Francisco’s most iconic structures, is up for lease and looking for a new long-term tenant. The city’s Rec and Park department held a meeting Tuesday night to inform the public the options they were considering, including a sports complex, a hotel, and a marketplace.
Seven competing developers have advanced proposals that would turn the space into restaurants, hotels, or even a planned 150,000 square foot public and private gym. San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell has said that any development must be open to the public and not worsen the neighborhood traffic.
The winning bidder for the lease will have to spend millions to upgrade the Palace. Rec and Park officials say they need a stable partner who will be able to invest in the building that will be around for another hundred years.
Originally constructed in 1915 as part of an art exhibition center for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts has long been a cultural icon for San Francisco.
According to the Rec and Park Department, a decision will be made at some point next year. Right now, the biggest critic to the seven proposed plans is the public. Area residents have been vocal about not wanting fitness centers or hospitality suites, and wish that it remain arts- and culture-oriented, as it has long been for them.