Fisher Releases Amended Museum Design Renderings
Ahead of Presidio Trust EIR

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News

Published on February 26, 2009 with 9 Comments


Republican billionaire and Gap Founder Don Fisher.
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

February 26, 2009, 2:00 pm

Architectural renderings depicting an amended conceptual design of Gap Founder Don Fisher’s art museum proposal have been released exclusively to the San Francisco Chronicle, a Fog City Journal inquiry has revealed.

The renderings will become part of a much-anticipated Presidio Trust environmental impact report (EIR), due to be released to the public as early as next week.

“We promised the renderings to John King at the Chronicle several months ago,” confirmed Ground Floor Public Affairs consultant Alex Tourk, who is representing Fisher, 81, in his quest to erect a contemporary art museum in his name, despite vociferous opposition from San Francisco residents and preservation groups.

That opposition was expressed in July when as many 800 residents attended a public hearing held by the Presidio Trust on the merits of Fisher’s proposal.

The Presidio Trust is also interested in erecting a movie theater complex and a hotel in the historic national park.

The timing of Fisher’s release of the renderings to the Chronicle suggests Fisher is attempting to win over early support for his amended proposal ahead of the release of the EIR. King, who has written “gushing” articles in support of Fisher’s proposal, according to a source, is considered an advocate for the project’s development in the Presidio.

Though the San Francisco Board of Supervisors does not have jurisdiction on matters related to federal land use, it passed a resolution in January supporting the development of Fisher’s museum within the City and County of San Francisco.

“The Fisher Art collection would be a valuable public addition to the civic well-being of San Francisco,” the resolution authored by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier states, and urges the city to “work with the Fisher family to evaluate alternative locations for the museum within the City.”

But despite San Francisco’s expressed opposition to the commercialization of public land for private self-interest, Fisher remains ardently committed to developing his museum in the Presidio where land costs would be a fraction of comparable costs to develop the project in downtown San Francisco.

Update, 5:19 pm: According to a reliable source, the Presidio Trust will release the EIR documents to the public later today on its website.  Earlier today, the Presidio Trust said the report was not ready to be released.

“The documents have not been released,” Presidio Trust spokesperson Andrea Parker told FCJ. “I don’t have an exact ETA. They’re not at the printer yet.”

The EIR documents available here.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/profiles/profile_h_brown.shtml Harold Brown

    Yeah,

    While he takes over every soccer field and playing surface in the City’s parks for his sons under the aegis of the Fields Foundation.

    First, his art is crap. There is nothing more dangerous in the art world than a billionaire with no taste.

    Second, his art already has a home. It’s across the Embarcadero from his ‘Bow and Arrow’ sculpture. Is it in one of Schwab’s buildings? Whatever, the entire collection is there and can easily be accessed by the public.

    But wait! Fisher does not want the public to have access to his collection (he just wants them to subsidize his treasure vault of expensive garbage in the Presidio) … SF Weakly did a piece on this last year. Google it. Fisher’s whole reason for this art museum in the Presidio is because he doesn’t want to pay rent to store them where they are already properly mounted.

    No puns,

    h.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/patmonkrn/ Patrick Monk

    OOOOH BABY.
    Me ‘n h, together again, or to quote Peaches and Herb, “Reunited and it feels so good”.
    Couldn’t agree more h. A significant portion of this fellow’s fortune derives from exploiting child labor in third world countries and the rape and pillage of our redwoods and other timber resources. Now he wants to desecrate land preserved in memory of those who gave their lives to fight against such abuses. There was another creature of his ilk who had similar plans to erect a monument in which to display the spoils of his rampages. Committed suicide Oct 15. 1946.
    We should not allow this travesty, especially not at our expense. Ironically a solution to this situation can be found in the pages of the SF EXecrable of Nov 17. 2008. There is an article relating to Fisher’s attempts to locate in the Presidio. There is another report on a piece of City owned property, The Lay House, which is apparently in need of significant work but for which there are no funds available. Kill two birds with one stone. Let him put some of his ill-gotten gains into preserving and restoring this house and hanging his loot there.

  • bk2000

    u2 are ridiculous.

    Don Fisher is trying to give this City one of the best collections of modern art in existence. Great art effects us in a positive way and Mr. Fisher has shared the art that he owns within the halls of his company and the streets and museums of The City in order to let people experience it in our every day lives.
    You might be too hip to appreciate modern or post-modern art, but the fact is that it’s had a huge impact on the world and we are lucky to have an enormously important collection and collector right here in San Francisco. This body of art deserves a world class building in a world class setting. It’s no accident that Don Fisher has also had a large hand in shepherding The Presidio into what it is today and the museum will by a nice final touch to the gently positive impact the man has had on The City.

  • alternative johnny

    Don Fisher is a native-born San Franciscan who has dedicated his whole life to the service of the poor, the vulnerable and the under-privileged in the developing world. If he wants to erect a cathedral to his philanthrophy in SF, he is entitled to do so. I for one will wear my GAP shirt to the inauguration with pride and strongly suggest that workers be flown in from the Philippines to witness the fruits of their labor.

    BTW does anyone know where I can buy a gasket for a 67 Ford Thunderbird?

    AJ

  • marcb

    Build a lovely museum somewhere in SF outside the Presidio and we have a winning idea.

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/profiles/profile_h_brown.shtml Harold Brown

    AJ,

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, if you really want to bring some of Fisher’s child slave labor from the Far East, first you’ll have to unchain them from their sewing machines. Your rant on Fisher being all about helping the “poor, the vulnerable” is the most duplicitous comment I have ever seen in my life and I’ve seen lots. He’s been busted repeatedly for using child slave labor (most recently within the last 18 months). But, then, he did give them jobs didn’t he?

    h.

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/profiles/profile_luke_thomas.shtml Luke Thomas

    h, erm, AJ’s being satirical.

  • SpunkySF

    marcb,

    Just want to bring up a point. In 2013 if the Presidio Trust isn’t able to fully fund from land developed in the Presidio, the Federal Government is going to begin selling off parts of the Presidio to private development. Currently the Presidio is only about 50% funded from current development.

    While many may disagree with Fischer, his art and his business dealings, this is a good thing for the Presidio. Unless you want the Presidio to be turned into high rises.

    -S

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/profiles/profile_h_brown.shtml Harold Brown

    Nope,

    That was the point though, Spunky. The Trust agreement says that if the Presidio isn’t fully self-sustaining financially by 2013, the interior 90% of the land will be open to Shorenstein and John Stewart.

    From the beginning the Trust spent like drunken sailors to insure they wouldn’t meet this deadline (although an Obama administration would certainly extend it). They built insane (but expensive) things like that 20 million dollar tidal pool (what you need that far when you have the Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other?).

    Same kind of scams going on all over City run by same crowd. Last year Feinstein’s husband (Dick Blum) acted as agent (no bid contract) for SFUSD to sell 10 of their prime properties for 100 million.

    Neither their greed nor their arrogance have boundaries.

    h.