Three Bay Area Companies are vying to redevelop the waterfront space

The future of one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks, the Palace of Fine Arts, is up in the air.

The historic building, which sits on the waterfront near the Golden Gate Bridge, was initially built as a part of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Over the years, the palace has housed everything from tennis courts to a telephone book distribution center. Most recently, the landmark was home to the Exploratorium – a popular science museum that moved out of the space in 2013.

As the palace celebrates its centennial, SF city officials have finally solidified the top three proposed plans for the space. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission, which manages the property, has been vetting prospective tenants ever since the Exploratorium left three years ago. 

Two of the top bidders want to turn the property into a hotel, while the other hopes to transform the space into an upscale restaurant and educational museum. Prospective tenants must invest almost $20 million in building upgrades and are required to include a space for the performing arts in their proposals.

Although city officials have encouraged the commercial redevelopment of the palace, the three top proposals being considered by the commission have been met with some criticism by the San Francisco community. An online petition on, which has already amassed 10,000 signatures, demands that the commission keep the palace as a “multi-Cultural Arts and education center.”

Leave a comment below with your favorite proposal or whether or not you agree with the commercial redevelopment of the palace.