Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Good Morning!!

The moon this morning was a jewel in the sky, and then, there was the pink.  How rich this day!!

In working with Jane this morning, I am feeling that my brain is beginning to return.  It is odd to go back through this work for the third time and see how differently I view it and think now.  That is the point of the reflections.   The book contains portions of the blog in present tense, and the poems, and our reflections on how life is now.   Jane is beginning to have a place to bring in her feelings around it all, her anger and fear.  It is a wonderful evolving and I am feeling quite positive on it today.   I see that when it seems a break in writing is taking place, it is because we are adjusting ourselves to carry the new load of the work.

Here is positive news from the Chronicle today to balance all the other.  How wonderful to know what was built for and by the military is now open to a different mode of thought.  I am pleased.

Fort Baker to house new hotel, think tank

Chuck Squatriglia, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


A U.S. Army base that for more than a century protected the Golden Gate with cannons and mines is being remade into a $117.9 million Zen-like retreat where guests will commune with nature and relax at a spa.

The National Park Service announced Tuesday that it has signed a 60-year lease with a San Francisco developer to restore Fort Baker and build a retreat and conference center -- a hotel, really -- called "Cavallo Point -- The Lodge at the Golden Gate."

The eco-friendly lodge at the heart of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area will feature tony amenities like haute cuisine and art classes. The centerpiece of the project is the Fort Baker Institute, a nonprofit that park officials hope will rival the Aspen Institute as a public policy think tank.

Cavallo Point is a radical departure for the old Army base, and park officials said it will be unlike anything within the National Park Service when it opens about one year from now.

"You have history being restored, the habitat being restored and people's spirits being restored by providing them with so beautiful a place with a contemplative mission," said Greg Moore, executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, which is working with the park service and the Fort Baker Retreat Group on the project.

The Retreat Group -- comprising Passport Resorts and Equity Community Builders -- will pay $400,000 annually to rent the site. The park service will earn an increasing share of the net revenue over the life of the lease.

In return, the developer will spend $95 million restoring and renovating Fort Baker. The government will pay $22.9 million for utility and other infrastructure upgrades and habitat improvements for the endangered Mission blue butterfly.

Crews have knocked down 21 tract-style barracks built in the 1950s. A dozen new buildings will be erected where those barracks once stood.

The 11 stately homes and other buildings that ring Fort Baker's 10-acre parade ground will be restored, and an 8,000-square-foot "healing arts center" with a medicinal herb garden will be built. Cars will be largely banished, and guests urged to walk, ride bikes or take a shuttle.

Everyone involved in the project promises that Cavallo Point will be not be any larger, or look any different, than Fort Baker.

"We'll see a very scenic and historic village brought back to life and looking perhaps even more shipshape than it did during its military era," Moore said.

The Defense Department turned Fort Baker over to the National Park Service in 2002.

The park service had long known it was coming, and in 1998 proposed building an upscale retreat with 350 rooms and a conference center. The idea horrified many in Sausalito, who felt that was too big. The city sued to stop the project and won, prompting the park service to scale back. The final plan calls for 142 rooms with an average size of 600 square feet.

The city has endorsed the project, and most people applauded the selection of Passport Resorts and Equity Community Builders to develop it. The firms build environmentally friendly projects and gained broad support with their promise not to radically remake Fort Baker.

"That was music to our ears," said Amy Belser, the vice mayor of Sausalito and one of the most ardent critics of the 350-room proposal. "They're not going to disturb what's there."

Park officials insist the project is more than a resort for the well-heeled, and said the cooking and art classes, health spa and other amenities will be available to all.

"It's a national park," said Mike Freed, a principal at Passport Resorts. "The whole idea is that the community share in it as well."

The centerpiece of the project is the Fort Baker Institute. In addition to hosting researchers and perhaps offering fellowships, park officials said, the institute will host lectures and provide a forum for environmentalists, researchers and policymakers to address environmental issues. Its programs will be open to the public.

The Conservancy is modeling the institute on the Aspen Institute -- which Moore said has joined the Conservation Study Institute in Woodstock, Vt., the Trust for Public Land and others in expressing an interest in hosting such discussions after the Fort Baker Institute opens in 2008.

It is not unusual for the National Park Service to lease buildings to private developers. Maritime Hotel Associates holds a 57-year lease for the Haslett Warehouse in San Francisco's Aquatic Park. The firm spent $37 million renovating the building, which houses the Argonaut Hotel; the lease provides about $1 million annually to preserve six ships displayed at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park across the street.

Park officials have not yet said how they'll spend the money raised through the Cavallo Point retreat.


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