We don’t know art, but we know what we like: we like it when our house doesn’t burn down.
Fire protection and modern art don’t often go hand in hand — it’s hard to slide down a deconstructionist fire pole, and cubists hoses are a bitch to use — but this is the City That Knows How to get its Museum of Modern Art to pay for a new firehouse.
In exchange for the property rights to historic Station 1, located at 676 Howard Street, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will give the San Francisco Fire Department $10 million and build the SFFD a brand-new fire SoMa fire station at 935 Folsom Street, the Mayor’s Office announced on Monday morning.
In all, it seems like a fairly sweet deal: the museum gets the rights to the station, located across the street from its main location, and thereby gets to continue a $400 million-plus expansion (perhaps we can give the MOMA the rights to the Academy of Art, as well). In return, the cash-strapped Fire Department gets to sit back and oversee the MOMA buy the land, dig the hole and build a “state-of-the-art” fire station from scratch to “its specifications.”
The Fire Department puts the tally of the new station at a grand total for $14 million, and a department spokeswoman hasn’t yet responded to a phone call and e-mail asking where the rest of the money will come from.
The new fire station would be at 935 Folsom Street, which currently plays host to a parking lot. It was not disclosed whether the lot’s Oregon-based owners would sell the lot for its $4 million assessed value, or more, or less.
What is clear is that the SFFD’s current Station 1 is no good. The building is about 100 years old, hasn’t been remodeled since the 1950s, and is, in sum, a museum piece by itself. Maybe the MOMA will leave it as is, and add it to the collection: “Untitled, San Francisco Fire Department.” If not, we bet there’s a grant someone can get to cover it with plastic wrap or furniture or something.
Because: “art — you just don’t get it! Ok?!”
The Fire Commission will discuss the plan in all of its fine nuance un-appreciable to philistines like us at its February 25 meeting, after which time the plan will head to the Board of Supervisors for approval.