High-end housing replacing medical institutions

In a city where space is at a critical low, every square inch counts. That’s why the movement of medical institutions toward downtown San Francisco is creating new opportunities for posh housing in some of the city’s highest-rent districts. That’s according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which reports that rare housing-development opportunities are opening up in Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights.

For example, the University of the Pacific’s Dugoni School of Dentistry has moved from its eight-story concrete building at 2121 Webster Street in Pacific Heights; in March, it relocated to 155 Fifth Street. Now the old building is getting ripped out and renovated as high-end condominiums. The 76-unit, 222,000-square-foot project, known as The Pacific and developed by Trumark Urban, is slated for completion in 2016 – and the condos are expected to sell for more than $2,000 per square foot.

“This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often – you take a medical building from the 1960s and turn it into luxury housing,” Handel Architects designer Glenn Rescalvo, who is working on the project, told the Chron. “I think of this project as a well-made handbag, a finely tailored suit.”

Look eight blocks west and you’ll find 3333 California Street in Laurel Heights. UCSF has long occupied this 10-acre space, but the 1,200 workers who are now there are eventually relocating to Mission Bay. Local developers The Prado Group and SKS envision a mixed-use project that would encompass housing, retail and open space. In addition, the California Pacific Medical Center will be vacating its quarters at 3700 California Street in Pacific Heights and the buildings on the nearly 5-acre parcel will subsequently be taken down. This is at least a few years away, though, since CPMC has yet to begin the development process of its new hospital on Van Ness Avenue.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com