Presidio Trust strives for self-sufficiency amid funding cuts 

The Presidio Trust is making good on its mission to turn a profit in the Presidio, but with a major cut to its funding next fiscal year, its leaders are expecting to tighten their belts.

The Presidio has covered its operating costs since 2004. But federal appropriations, including $12 million this year, have supplemented the trust’s net operating income, allowing it to invest in costly capital projects in the park.

Click the picture for a graphic on Presidio revenues.

In preparation for an end to federal funding, the trust purposely prioritized projects that would garner the greatest revenue, including residential units and the Letterman Digital Arts Center, said trust spokeswoman Dana Polk.

“We wanted to generate a revenue stream for the park right away,” she said.

The trust still plans additional capital investments, including a visitor center and renovations at Fort Scott, but capital spending will decline once the federal funding ceases.

Capital spending in fiscal 2012, the last year with federal funding, is estimated at $41.95 million, about half the amount spent two years ago, when capital project spending was almost $81 million, budget documents indicate.

“What we’re looking at is the next couple years will be tight,” Polk said. “But we feel very confident the park will continue to thrive.”

The trust is not planning an aggressive fundraising or revenue-building campaign to make up for the loss of federal funds. But it does expect an increase in operating income from $77.42 million in 2011 to $80.09 million in 2012, according to budget documents.

Rental agreements with some newer tenants included reduced rents during their honeymoon phase, to account for historic renovation costs. But over the next few years, those leases will increase in price and will bring in more money. And other recently renovated buildings will soon be available for tenants.

The trust also is looking to attract two or three restaurants to the Main Post, the part of the park Polk described as its Main Street.

“The Main Post, it will never be an intense food scene, but we’d love to welcome some folks interested in enjoying the park and enjoying a delicious meal,” Polk said.

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Sarah Gantz

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Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015


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