Re-Dedication of the historic War Memorial Veterans Building
On September 16, 2015, San Francisco dignitaries and Veterans gathered in the newly renovated Herbst Theater for the Re-Dedication of the historic War Memorial Veterans Building. The State Landmark was built in 1932. President Harry S. Truman and other heads of state signed the United Nations Charter on the stage of the Veterans Auditorium, which is now the Herbst Theatre in 1945. The Japanese Peace Treaty was drawn up in the Veterans Building in 1951. This building has served as a major American performing arts center ever since.
For 25 years, the safety condition of the War Memorial Veterans Building was a primary concern of the City of San Francisco—earthquakes and other emergencies posed significant threats to the building and to the safety of its occupants.
In July 2013, Pankow Builders began to restore the once vital historic civic asset into a vibrant stage and venue for The Arts and Veterans Organizations- a site of veterans' gathering/meeting places, as well as the Green Room, 916-seat Herbst Theatre, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and future theaters spaces, including a rehearsal hall and a San Francisco Opera performance space.
The Re-Dedication marks another historic day for the War Memorial Veterans Building. Restoring this old building was in many ways more complicated than building a new one. Great care was required to ensure that all work on the project complies with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties including the Department of Public Work's commitment to the stewardship of the historic resources within the Civic Center Historic District. Mayor Edwin Lee commended the construction team on the well-executed and detailed work, remarking that "Every one of those construction workers were not construction workers, but they are artists in this building," as he expressed appreciation for the remarkable restoration of the iconic Beaux Arts building.
This $129 Million seismic upgrade and improvements project contributes to the vitality of the Civic Center District reflecting the values of San Francisco's residents and the City's leadership. The project exceeded its goal of local business participation by over 9% and "27% local talent, and local people who love this building have been the great piece of restoring this building to the standard in which we are all proud of," stated Mayor Lee.
The energy and appreciation at the Veterans Building War Memorial Re-Dedication was palatable as hundreds of people came to witness the historic event. If you are in San Francisco, come visit the War Memorial Veterans Building and Memorial Court. It highlights San Francisco's leadership in preservation and sustainability and contributes to the revitalization of San Francisco Civic Center.
Congrats to the Team!
Read more on this project in this recent article in the SF Chronicle by John King.