UCSF Seeks Development Ideas for Laurel Heights Campus

UCSF is initiating a process to identify real estate opportunities for its Laurel Heights campus, part of a strategy to reduce the University’s operating costs by consolidating campus work sites. UCSF seeks a developer to help create a compelling vision for the Laurel Heights site that will benefit the neighborhood, the City and County of San Francisco and UCSF.

The Laurel Heights campus encompasses 363,000 square feet of desktop research and administration space, a child care center, a café and 543 parking spaces. Approximately 1,200 UCSF employees work at the site.

The Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet on Dec. 18 approved the issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP), to identify qualified developers interested in the 10-acre campus site at 3333 California Street.

Over the next year, UCSF will explore options for relocating its Laurel Heights employees elsewhere in San Francisco. Should UCSF identify a suitable development option, it would be several years before employees would be relocated. This effort in no way implies plans for a reduction in the staff or programs currently housed at Laurel Heights.

The decision to identify development opportunities for Laurel Heights was informed by a six-month feasibility study conducted by UCSF Real Estate Services with assistance from an outside team of construction, economic, real estate and legal advisors. 

An earlier study found that in the next four to 10 years, the University would need to make substantial investments in the Laurel Heights campus to maintain it as an efficient and effective facility. The University decided to explore whether its financial resources would be better spent at another location.

Community participation is essential to helping UCSF move forward. The University will form a neighbor advisory committee to provide a community perspective during this exploratory phase, and will provide more information about this process in January.

The RFQ for Laurel Heights is scheduled to be issued on Dec. 21. The University seeks developers that have demonstrated:

  • Successful development of complex sites in an urban setting;
  • A history of actively engaging the San Francisco community;
  • Expertise in obtaining local entitlements;
  • Successful development of creative, compelling, well-designed projects.

The Laurel Heights campus includes the University Child Care Center, which is operated for UCSF by Marin Day School/Bright Horizons. No change in child care support at Laurel Heights is expected in the near term. UCSF will examine how best to provide child care as part of a comprehensive campus-wide child care plan. 

RFQ submissions are due Jan. 31, 2013, after which UCSF will issue an RFP. If the University decides to move forward with development plans, an agreement with a developer could be finalized later in the year.

The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company developed Laurel Heights in 1955, and UCSF acquired the campus in 1985. 

Photo by Susan Merrell