San Francisco supervisors advance terms of CPMC hospital deal

After months of intense negotiations, the new terms of California Pacific Medical Center’s planned development of two earthquake-safe hospitals in San Francisco were approved Tuesday amid much fanfare.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the basic terms of the project, bringing closer to reality CPMC’s rebuild of the existing St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission district and construction of a new facility at Cathedral Hill at Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue. The project includes a package of $70 million in community benefits for transportation, workforce training, affordable housing and neighborhood improvements.

The project is now slated to return to the Planning Commission for review in May, and the board is expected to take a final vote on the development in early July when more changes can be made.

Some supervisors expressed concerns about the level of community benefits, such as whether $4 million was an adequate investment in workforce training for hiring local residents for construction and hospital jobs. And there were other questions about dispersing funds.

“I have reservations about shifting money into the Mayor’s Office of Housing without a clear plan on how the money will be used,” Supervisor London Breed said.

Supervisor Scott Wiener praised the agreement, but said he was disappointed the renegotiated terms eliminated funding for down-payment assistance for homebuyers and reduced transit funding from about $20 million to $14 million.

“Once again, colleagues, transit comes out on the short end,” Wiener said.

The agreement, which Wiener said was “pulled back from the brink,” was celebrated Tuesday. Kudos went to board President David Chiu and supervisors David Campos and Mark Farrell, who helped renegotiate the terms during the past several months in talks headed by outside mediator Lou Girardo, who co-owns Boudin Bakery.

Longtime affordable-housing advocate Calvin Welch, who was part of the negotiations, called the project the most significant the board has considered.

“Health care stands at the very center of the economic future of San Francisco for San Franciscans,” Welch said. “More San Franciscans will work in the health care sector than will ever work in the high-tech sector.

“We have an opportunity here to make employment opportunities available at a level that has never surrounded a major development before.”

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