West Letterman Development Study | San Francisco, CA

Envisioning a new gateway to the Presidio


Working with TransAct, VMWP was charged to identify and evaluate potential development alternatives to enrich the historic Letterman and Thornburgh Districts of the Presidio through suitable adaptive reuse, enhanced retail amenities, “third place” spaces for social interaction, transportation management, and sustainable infrastructure, to define critical issues and elements in preparation of the Presidio releasing a development RFP.


The Thornburgh and West Letterman site will become a primary gateway to the Presidio when Doyle Drive reopens in 2016, and can be a highly visible and vibrant place that offers a compelling natural setting not found in Silicon Valley or SoMa or Emeryville. The site offers an opportunity to become a place of interaction where creativity, innovation and civic engagement thrive in café’s, entertainment venues, and innovative workspaces housed in 15 re-purposed historic structures, 160,000sf of state-of-the-art contemporary buildings, and outdoor meeting places organized along two distinctive streets. The study included portions of Girard Entry and connections major landscape habitat corridors.



  • Urban plazas provide focal points and space for dining, markets, special events, etc
  • Pavilion buildings flank the western end of Thornburgh Road to create a grand entrance to the Presidio
  • New Girard building prototypes are designed to conform to the planning and design guidelines prescribed by the Trust


  • Thornbaugh road is envisioned as a pedestrian-friendly “shared street” gathering space
  • Multiple scenarios account for different parking options and phased development over time

Project Information

  • Client: William Fleissig / Communitas Development LLC for The Presidio Trust
  • Building size/acres: 23 acres

Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP