The Bidding War on $200-Million-Dollar Presidio Development

Fort Scott in the Presidio was built in 1909 and 1912 to defend the Bay Area’s coastline. Coast artillery guns were constructed, and barracks, officers’ quarters, recreational facilities, support buildings, and accommodations for 1,300 soldiers who would man the guns were built in the era of breech loaded, rifled guns and Nike missiles. Fort Scott featured the earliest example of the Mission Revival architectural style with red-tile roofs and stucco covered walls, now seen throughout the Presidio.

Fort Winfield Scott

Photo of Building 1204 in year 1915, courtesy of Oakland Public Library

Antiaircraft unit at Fort Winfield Scott

Photo Courtesy of the Robert W. Bowen Family

It is 10 identical barracks built around a horseshoe-shaped parade ground, now an expansive green landscape hosting an array of native plants, wild herons, and hawks.

Fort Winfield Scott aerial photo from February 25, 1942

Aerial photo of Fort Scott in February 25, 1942, courtesy of San Francisco Public Library

Today, Fort Scott is one of the last large collections of buildings within the Presidio ready for revitalization. Given its expansive 30-acre site, Fort Winfield Scott has great potential for re-development.

The Presidio Trust sought proposals from organizations who:

a) can afford to develop the extensive area, and

b) have respective missions that are aligned with The Presidio Trust’s mission (including preservation, sustainability, biodiversity and enhancing the public visitor experience)

Image result for fort scott presidioPhoto: Presidio Trust


The finalists were narrowed down to these four finalists, including:

  • WeWork
  • Elon Musk’s OpenAI
  • The Epicenter for Climate Solutions (backed by the California Clean Energy Fund and EPIC Institute), and
  • The Campus for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (backed by Equity Community Builders and World Economic Forum)
Image result for OpenAI Elon MuskPhoto: Fossbytes

An update from The Presidio Trust Board members said,

“Adding The We Company’s management platform and business model for facilitating flexible, shared workspace made perfect sense. By September’s public RFCP presentations, the Forum, EPIC and The We Company [WeWork] had already agreed to combine forces for an RFP response. By December, OpenAI decided to join the team as well. During this time, Orton Development and Kilroy Realty decided it was in their best interests, and that of the combined team and project, to withdraw from the bidding process.”

“On the surface, it seems obvious that the Forum, EPIC, OpenAI, and The We Company should combine to create what we’re calling the Fort Winfield Scott Campus for Change. Working out the many details of how each organization will occupy Fort Winfield Scott, however, and how the combined team will develop and manage the historic campus, has taken many months of discussion. We are confident that the effort was well worth the many late nights, having created, jointly, a vision bolder and stronger than any of us could when standing apart. Together as one team, we are pleased to be submitting a cohesive and united proposal before the Presidio Trust.”


Fort Scott in The Presidio can yield over 284,000 square feet of renovated office space; 21,500 square feet of new construction (with lodging, conference space and a 1,500 square foot transit center); up to 4,600 square feet of retail space (including shops, restaurants and cafes); and parking for around 500 cars.

San Francisco, Presidio Trust, Fort Scott, National Park Service, Equity Community Builders, EPIC Institute, Kilroy Realty Corporation, WeWork,

Photo: The Registry

The projected cost of renovating and restoring Fort Winfield Scott’s historic buildings, landscapes and infrastructure, which the winning team will need to foot, has been estimated at around $200 million, which is the reason why companies are teaming up tp afford it.

Sources: The Presidio, SocketSite, San Francisco Business Times

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