We'd heard back in March that local theater outfit SHN had possibly leased the Old Mint at 5th and Mission, leading me to speculate that the space could get used for some sort of immersive theater piece like the popular Sleep No More in New York. But, alas, that won't be the case, and apparently that deal must have fallen through, because the Business Times now tells me that a temporary operator will be running it as an event venue for the near future, and the city has issued yet another request for proposals for potential uses of the historic building, which famously survived the 1906 earthquake and fire along with all its valuable gold contents.
Built in 1874 as a repository for the wealth of the Gold Rush, the Old Mint originally went out for an RFP after it was transferred to city control from the federal government in 2003. From 2004 until this year it's been controlled by a non-profit, the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, which had been charged with both activating the space and with raising the money to perform necessary seismic upgrades to the building, which in 11 years' time they were not able to do though they did claim to have raised and spent $14 million on the building in those years. An additional $60 million will apparently be necessary to bring it up to code.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation actually has it listed as one of the country's 11 most endangered historic structures, as the Chron reports.
If you haven't been inside, it is pretty cool, with a vault you can explore in the basement and a huge outdoor courtyard on the main level. It's been used for occasional one-off events in the past few years, but has been looking pretty unsightly from the street this year, with dead trees, weeds, and homeless camped in front.
For now, as the Chronicle notes, an event production outfit called Activate San Francisco Events, Inc. is taking over and hosting a community open house at the Mint on the weekend of March 4.
After making some physical improvements to the space and the landscaping, and hosting events rent-free, they will ultimately bow out after the RFP process is complete, with (hopefully) some organization that steps forward with a feasible and interesting long-term plan for the property that is not a museum.