A planned research facility at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is expected to have an impact on existing parking. (Mike Koozmin/2015 S.F. Examiner)

UCSF, city finalizing lease agreement for new research facility

A proposal to build a UC San Francisco research facility at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is set to clear a major hurdle next month when the project’s final environmental impact report is released.

While UCSF and The City continue to iron out details of the longest and potentially most complex lease San Francisco has ever entered into, city leaders said last week they have ramped up negotiations between the entities to build the 175,000 square foot research building to replace the space occupied by UCSF employees in seven seismically unsafe buildings.

“We are very far in our conversations, but we still have more to go,” Barbara Garcia, director of The City’s Health Department, said at the Health Commission meeting Tuesday.

The 74-year lease with a 25-year option constitutes what will be San Francisco’s longest lease. It’s more complex than most other leases as well because UCSF and The City are separate sovereign government agencies.

“The key issues again revolve around indemnity provisions [and] certain ‘what if’ scenarios,” said John Updike, The City’s director of real estate. Such scenarios include the possible souring of UCSF’s and San Francisco’s 150-year relationship, he added.

The two entities are also finalizing what Updike called “parking lot issues,” because the research facility is planned atop a parking lot outside the hospital’s former emergency room.

“How we deal with the displacement of parking, replacement of parking and expansion of the garage adjacent to the hospital facility campus … [remains] another issue of concern,” Updike said.

UC Regents are set to approve the ground lease next month, and the Board of Supervisors will review the lease in December. Crews are slated to break ground on the project in 2017, and it’s estimated that UCSF will vacate most of its space on the hospital campus and move into the new facility by 2019.

The $188 million facility is expected to accommodate some 800 UCSF researchers.

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