Expansive Community Investments to Accompany Parnassus Heights Campus Plans

Informed By 2-Year Community And City Process, Benefits Include Additional Campus Housing, Transit Improvements, Workforce Training Opportunities

By Nicholas Weiler

UC San Francisco and the City and County of San Francisco have announced an agreement in principle on a set of community benefits to accompany the University’s Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan (CPHP) to modernize its historic campus.

The proposed benefit package provides a national model of investment in campus housing, workforce training opportunities, transit improvements and operations, and other community priorities while improving a critical emergency care facility serving San Francisco’s westside, seismically upgrading the University’s medical facilities, and providing urgently needed expansion of the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center’s capacity over the next decade.

“As we look ahead to our economic recovery, this is an opportunity for us to make significant investments in housing, transportation, jobs, and the long-term health care needs of our City,” said Mayor London Breed. “This pandemic has shown that not only do we need a strong health care system in place to care for our residents, but that these long-term projects with well-paying jobs and affordable housing are essential to keeping our economy going no matter what the future holds. This proposed agreement will benefit San Francisco and our residents for years to come, and we are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with UCSF on this project as it moves forward.”

“As a public university, we are proud of our 150-year partnership with the City, serving the people of San Francisco through every public health crisis and every year in between,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “Parnassus Heights has been our home for more than a century and we look forward to advancing this unique partnership with the City as we re-envision our original campus to meet the health care needs of the 21st Century, improve the daily experience of our neighbors, and stimulate the local economy with thousands of jobs and investments in health and economic equity.”

Two Years of Community Engagement 

UCSF’s plans for Parnassus Heights include a modern hospital designed by renowned architects Herzog & De Meuron – which designed the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park – in partnership with architecture firm HDR. The hospital will integrate the natural setting of the surrounding Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve into the patient experience to promote healing, wellness and recovery.

The new hospital will replace the existing, nearly 70-year-old Moffitt Hospital, which does not meet the state’s seismic code and must be decommissioned for inpatient care by 2030. The new facility, slated to open in 2030, will allow the University to keep pace with the region’s growing health care needs – increasing the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center’s inpatient capacity by 42 percent and the Emergency Department by nearly 80 percent. Other outdated and seismically vulnerable buildings also will be replaced with state-of-the-art facilities to strengthen UCSF’s renowned research and training programs.

Long and Moffitt Hospital buildings

The proposed new UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center, slated to open in 2030, will increase inpatient capacity by 42 percent and the Emergency Department by nearly 80 percent.

“Our new hospital will help us address the capacity limitations that currently prevent us from treating thousands of critically-ill complex care patients each year,” said Mark Laret, president and CEO of UCSF Health. “Our plans for Parnassus Heights will also provide urgently needed modernization of our care facilities, research labs and classrooms, part of the ecosystem of innovation that drives medical breakthroughs and supports our world-renowned patient care right here in San Francisco.”

The CPHP reflects broad input from thousands of external and internal stakeholders in a planning process that began in 2018 – including 28 public meetings, multilingual surveys, UCSF town halls, and many productive conversations with neighbors, community leaders, elected officials, and city partners, as well as UCSF faculty, staff, and trainees. Community input resulted in dozens of actionable ideas for community investment, including investing millions in SFMTA, more than quadrupling housing for trainees and employees, and making the campus more welcoming, including doubling access to campus open space. 

With these ideas in hand, UCSF has worked closely with the City to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure the community benefits envisioned by neighborhood leaders during UCSF’s community engagement process are aligned with City priorities. Through the MOU – which focuses on broad community investments beyond what will be considered in the plan’s Environmental Impact Report – UCSF will work closely with the City to address the needs created by its proposed growth, improve the daily experience of our neighbors, and address local challenges facing our city.

What's Included

Housing

UCSF will double its existing housing inventory (1,257 units), adding 1,263 net new housing units on and off campus over the life of the project. UCSF will add at least 50 percent (632) of these net new units by the projected hospital opening in 2030.

To continue its commitment to affordable campus housing, the University will ensure 40 percent of all new and existing units are available to trainee and employee households earning at or less than 90 percent and 120 percent of San Francisco’s Average Median Income (AMI), split equally between the two levels.

Transportation and Mobility Improvements

To further advance UCSF’s commitment to be a transit-first campus, UCSF will contribute over $20 million to SFMTA to support improvements to transit serving Parnassus Heights. UCSF and the SFMTA are committed to working together to expand alternatives to car travel and reduce car use, accommodate safe and usable access for all travel modes, and to​ expand transit capacity and service, including collaboration towards accommodating three-car trains on the N-Judah.

To promote neighborhood walkability, the project also includes streetscape improvements such as stop upgrades, enhanced lighting, and integrated planning for Parnassus Avenue to accommodate transit, curb management, and pedestrian safety.

​Conservation, Stewardship and Open Space

As part of UCSF’s “park to peak” vision of a neighborhood connected to local open spaces, UCSF will maintain its Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve at no less than its current size of 61 acres, while adding improved wayfinding and continuation of its responsible stewardship plans.

UCSF has re-committed to the 2018 Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve Vegetation Management Plan to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of the Reserve for all of the community to enjoy.

Community Workforce and Equity

UCSF projects over 4,000 permanent UCSF jobs will be created over the lifetime of the CPHP, as well as approximately 1,000 unionized construction jobs for the new hospital alone. UCSF has committed to a 30 percent local hire goal for project construction jobs. UCSF is also committed to first source hiring for available entry-level positions. UCSF will expand its construction and administrative workforce programs in partnership with the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development programs.

UCSF will expand its EXCEL workforce training program and its CCOP/CityBuild partnership by a combined $5 million over the next 10 years.

UCSF will leverage its commitment as an Anchor Institution to advance economic security and opportunity in under-resourced communities to improve health equity, including increasing spending with small, local and diverse businesses by at least 50 percent by 2024.

Equity and Educational Opportunities

UCSF will strengthen its partnerships with San Francisco Unified School District – such as the Science Education Partnership and Center for Science Education and Outreach – to support STEM curriculum, internship opportunities, pipeline programs and providing increased exposure to career opportunities in health care and mental health care professions for underrepresented and minority youth.

UCSF also will look to expand its High School Intern Program where SFUSD high school students participate in an eight-week paid summer internship and to expand its partnership with SFUSD to explore establishing comprehensive career pathway programs at high schools for students.

Behavioral Health Service Needs

To support the City’s mental health care needs, UCSF will continue to maintain inpatient psychiatric beds at UCSF's facilities throughout the City, in addition to exploring partnerships and collaborations to increase the number of adult inpatient psychiatric beds for Medi-Cal patients, providing mental health care services, and continued collaborations with the Department of Public Health.

Support from Neighbors, Business Leaders, Affordable Housing Advocates

UCSF has received letters of support for the CPHP from more than 20 community organizations, including SPUR, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Inner Sunset Park Neighborhood Association (ISPN) Board of Directors, Westside Transportation and Accessibility Coalition, Bay Area Council, local Chambers of Commerce, and elected officials, such as Congresswoman Jackie Speier, State Senator Scott Wiener, and Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Kevin Mullin. San Francisco residents have submitted hundreds of letters of support and hundreds more have signed a petition of support for the University’s plans for Parnassus Heights

“Over the past two years, ISPN board members have been engaged in developing the Parnassus Heights plan through the thoughtful process UCSF created to embed neighbor voice in the plan,” Martha Ehrenfeld, president of the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, wrote in a letter of support from the association to the UC Regents. “ISPN is encouraged by UCSF’s collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco to develop a MOU and discuss the feasibility of these ideas that range from building more housing, increasing capacity of Muni lines that serve our neighborhood, and connecting Golden Gate Park and Mount Sutro through our neighborhood streets. ... The ISPN looks forward to continuing to work with UCSF to bring these community investments to fruition and ensure neighbor voice continues to be part of the process.”

“As a top job creator and the second largest employer in the City and County, UCSF contributes to San Francisco’s energy and ‘innovation ecosystem,’ attracting world-class talent to live, work, and study here in our city,” said Dr. Matthew Ajiake, president of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce. “As San Francisco recovers from the economic toll of COVID-19, UCSF’s plan for a reinvigorated Parnassus Heights would strengthen the neighborhood’s economic and cultural vitality, and will be a key economic driver in rebuilding our workforce. The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce looks forward to collaborating with UCSF and the City on this transformative effort.”

“UCSF's proposed Parnassus Heights Campus Plan is a win-win-win for San Francisco,” said Corey Smith, the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition’s Deputy Director of Outreach, Organizing and Campaigns. “Creating new jobs and serving more patients, improving public transportation, and building more than one thousand new affordable homes will enormously benefit the neighborhood and the city as a whole."

“UCSF engaged in a thoughtful, two-year, collaborative process with neighbors to develop a list of proposed community investments to be made throughout the life of the plan,” SF Bicycle Coalition Senior Community Organizer Kristen Lesckie wrote in a letter of support from the organization to the UC Regents. “Their proposed mobility investments include expanding bicycle routes to and through the campus, working with the City to increase capacity and reliability of Muni lines serving the Parnassus Heights campus, and connecting Golden Gate Park and Mount Sutro with greater access paths, all of which will lead to a safer and more livable community for the surrounding neighbors and staff.”

“California's unprecedented housing shortage is devastating our cities and communities and degrading quality of life for all of San Francisco, pushing out long-time residents and future generations,” said Matt Regan, Senior Vice President of the Bay Area Council. “UCSF’s plans to expand medical and research capacity with new state-of-the-art facilities at its Parnassus Heights campus will help address the City’s urgent housing shortage by drastically increasing the amount of housing on-site and promoting alternative transportation strategies and pedestrian safety improvements, alongside a wide range of other community benefits the University has incorporated into the plan to offset impacts to the existing community. The Bay Area Council strongly supports this proposed project.”