The team behind the most prominent of those proposals, a museum featuring filmmaker George Lucas’ vast art collection, immediately indicated that it was seeking alternate sites for its project.
Other rejected ideas included the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Presidio Exchange cultural institution and event center, and a sustainability-themed ecological center proposed by the Bridge/Sustainability Institute.
In the roughly two years since the Trust asked for proposals for the site, the debate has morphed into something beyond a discussion about what type of building is best for the site. It has drawn into its orbit national figures -- U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Ed Lee, Steve Jobs’ widow and even MC Hammer -- who all backed the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. Others have said any decision should be postponed until the completion of work on Doyle Drive.
In many ways, the arguments over the Presidio have appeared to carry water for larger issues: conservation and tradition vs. change and innovation, big private money vs. publicly respected nonprofits.
The very two-sided debate has pitted “Star Wars” creator Lucas, and his hopes to build the museum for his art collection, against longtime Trust partner the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and its plan to build the multiuse cultural center.
Previous attempts by Gap founder Donald Fisher to open a private art museum in the Presidio were rebuffed. The art collection was eventually donated to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The Presidio Trust requested proposals in November 2012 to take advantage of the eventual linking of Crissy Field to the former military base’s center, the Parade Ground. The Trust’s criteria for the site where the Sports Basement store now sits were that the proposals had to fit in with the national park’s aesthetics, serve as a cultural institution and recognize the area’s history.
The three finalists unveiled their proposals in November, but were all rejected by the Trust for being too big or not suitable for the setting.
Final designs were submitted Jan. 17.