Historic Designation Pushes Back Big Development in North SF

The Laurel Heights neighborhood is lovely, leafy and now embroiled in a battle between the Laurel Heights Improvement Association (LHIA) and developers Prado Group and SKS. The developers are wanting to tear down part of the UCSF Laurel Heights campus at 3333 California Street and turn the property into 558 new homes, 54,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of office space and a child care center. UCSF is moving out of the 10.2 acre, 550,000-square foot office building.

But the LHIA is attempting to have the development more closely examined in line with neighborhood looks and tastes by seeking a historic designation for the UCSF building, nominating it for the National Register of Historic Places. John Rothman, who heads the LHIA, said, “The neighborhood is trying to get clarity. Our goal is to try to do the right thing for the neighborhood and builders. We’re trying to come to a resolution.”

The developers are opposing the designation. SF city staff are for the designation, stating the building is, “The first major office building to be built outside of downtown in a suburban setting” and “reflecting mid-twentieth-century modernist design principles.”