Housing development in District 2: A community approach to new development
San Francisco is in the midst of a serious housing shortage and crisis. For years, as a city, we simply have not produced enough housing to keep up with the growing demand. As a result, we have seen housing prices skyrocket over the past couple years, making San Francisco one of the most expensive cities for housing in the country. While the market is showing early signs of cooling, a basic fact remains: We need more new housing that meets the needs of all income levels to keep San Francisco diverse and strong.
For the first time in a long while, District 2 is slated to contribute a significant amount of new housing to the market with two upcoming housing developments proposed for the bookends of Laurel Village: the UCSF campus in Laurel Heights, and the California Pacific Medical Center’s campus in the middle of Jordan Park and Presidio Heights.
I thought it was important to introduce everyone to both of these projects, and also to field questions and solicit any input. I firmly believe in a community approach and process to new development. Thus far, I have been encouraged by the two development teams’ efforts on their respective projects to make community outreach and input a sincere and important component of their overall efforts, and I look forward to these continuing efforts.
3800 CALIFORNIA: CPMC CALIFORNIA CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT
During the negotiations between CPMC and the city for its two new hospitals (including the one near District 2 going up on Van Ness Avenue), CPMC made clear its intentions to sell its current hospital at 3800 California Street, where approximately 40 percent of the babies in San Francisco are born (including our family’s three children). As part of the negotiations, I secured a deal that ensured CPMC would host a lengthy community process regarding its California Campus development to guarantee that residents have a say in the ultimate outcome. CPMC has chosen to tap San Francisco-based developer TMG Partners to lead the development and community process, and they have a strong track record in San Francisco in working closely with the community to produce projects that reflect community concerns and input to earn wide support.
The California Campus is in the early stages of the development process. TMG has been working with a Visioning Advisory Committee and neighborhood groups since early 2015 and will host a neighborhood open house in April 2016 at which they will present a concept plan for the redevelopment of the property. TMG will continue to refine the plan with additional neighborhood input this year. TMG will not be able to officially begin work on the site until they obtain city approvals and the new CPMC hospital on Van Ness opens, which will be in early 2019 at the soonest. If you live in the neighborhood and would like to reach the developers about the plan, you can contact the project development leads at TMG Partners, either Matt Field or Denise Pinkston, at 415–772–5900.
3333 CALIFORNIA: UCSF LAUREL HEIGHTS DEVELOPMENT
The 3333 California development at the UCSF Laurel Heights campus can hold hundreds of housing units on the 10.3-acre site, will likely include new commercial and open space, and would represent the largest pending housing project in the northwestern part of the city. SKS Partners and Prado Group are the two joint developers leading the project and have been hosting community meetings since the middle of last year to gain input on the proposal.
The development team just recently presented its initial conceptual design for the project that included landscape and site design, architectural drawings, and proposed building uses. This was just the first proposal, and the development team is using that as a starting point with the community that will continue to change over time to reflect resident input and feedback as more community meetings are held. The development team has created a website for the project at 3333calsf.com, where you can view the initial proposal, learn more about the development timeline, and when the next community meetings will be. You can also contact the team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUNITY APPROACH TO NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
From my perspective, the undisputable need to build more new housing does not have to come at the cost of completely changing San Francisco and our neighborhoods as we know them. I see the need to build more housing as an opportunity, and these two projects as a chance to bring our communities and neighborhoods together by advocating for specifics in these projects that will add to the fabric of the neighborhood.
Both of these projects represent some of the largest land-use developments in District 2 over the past few decades. While change and new development can create anxiety, I believe we should see these two projects as an opportunity — an opportunity we can and should all embrace as a chance to help San Francisco grow appropriately and responsibly while retaining the neighborhood character we all value. It will take years for both of these projects to get through the approval process and put shovels in the ground, but the chance for community input is now, and I look forward to working with everyone in our neighborhoods to make sure our voices are heard.