San Francisco Announces the California Historical Society as Lead Community Partner for the Old Mint Restoration Project

Group to assist in development of long-term rehabilitation plan for the Old Mint

San Francisco, CA– The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) announced the selection of the California Historical Society (CHS) as the chosen entity from the recently-completed Old Mint Request for Proposals (RFP) process.  The RFP was designed to identify a lead partner for the Old Mint Restoration Project – the City’s efforts to renovate the 140-year old structure and restore it as a publicly-accessible cultural facility.  In collaboration with CHS, the City will develop a comprehensive reuse proposal for the City-owned National Historic Landmark building located at 88 Fifth Street. 

“San Francisco’s Old U.S. Mint represents an important piece of our history, and now it will continue to be an important piece of our City’s future,” said Mayor Ed Lee.  “The collaboration with the California Historical Society will ensure the Old Mint remains a historic and unique civic space that will benefit residents and visitors alike for years to come.”

The City and CHS will embark on a rigorous due diligence period, expected to take up to 18 months, to evaluate key aspects of the Mint’s potential reuse, including construction cost estimates, a cultural viability study, and the development of a financing plan. 

“The California Historical Society is deeply honored to work in partnership with San Francisco towards the restoration of this remarkable community asset,” said Anthea Hartig, Executive Director and CEO of CHS.  “There is a strong public desire to rediscover and experience the Old U.S. Mint.  We are thrilled at the prospect of helping to transform this historic treasure into a center of culture and learning for the people of San Francisco, and for everyone in the Golden State.” 

"I am impressed at the high number of important – and uniquely San Franciscan – cultural organizations that voiced their support of CHS’s submittal to the RFP,” said District Six Supervisor Jane Kim.  “I share their enthusiasm about the prospects of the Old Mint as a new cultural hub in a neighborhood that is rich with the arts and a diverse social history, including Filipino and LGBTQ culture. I am excited to call the California Historical Society partner in helping to revitalize the Old Mint.”

“The restoration of San Francisco’s Old Mint has long-been a top priority for the City’s preservation advocates,” said Mike Buhler, Executive Director of San Francisco Heritage – a local non-profit dedicated to preserving and enhancing San Francisco’s unique architectural and cultural identity.  “I applaud the City’s selection of CHS as lead partner in their revitalization efforts for this incredibly important resource.” 

“We are pleased by the recent progress in re-activating the Old Mint, and now excited to move forward in partnership with the California Historical Society on a long-term plan to permanently return this iconic symbol of local history to the broader community.  A fully restored Mint will continue to add vibrancy and economic vitality to the neighborhood,” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

In December 2015, OEWD announced an agreement with Activate SF to maintain and operate the building as a community meeting space and event facility.  Activate SF will continue to host a wide-range of activities in the building – including community events, neighborhood-focused programming, and third-party rentals – while long-term restoration plans for the Mint are developed.  In collaboration with leading local history organizations, Activate SF hosted San Francisco History Days at the Mint in early March where more than 6,500 people participated in celebration of local history. 

About the California Historical Society

Founded in 1871, the California Historical Society (CHS) is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to make California's richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives – and to promote a more just and informed future. CHS enacts its mission with a wide range of library, exhibition, publication, education, and public outreach programs that explore the complex and continuing history of the State.  CHS is headquartered in San Francisco, and in 2015, the organization lead a citywide effort to celebrate the Centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.  For more information, please visit

About the United States Old Mint

The United States Old Mint was designed by Alfred B. Mullet, Supervising Architect for the U.S Treasury Department and opened in 1874.  One of the official repositories for the United States’ gold reserves, the building held one-third of the nation’s supply of gold in 1934.  It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Because of its historical significance, the City is required to comply with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and the Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings on any alteration or rehabilitation of the Mint.  The building features 100,000 square feet on three floors.

About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development's (OEWD), under direction of Mayor Lee, provides city-wide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning. OEWD’s programs are responsible for strengthening San Francisco’s many diverse neighborhoods and commercial corridors. For more information, go to:


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