Champions of housing beat out tree-hugging preservationists Tuesday night as the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan to transform the UCSF Laurel Heights campus into a 744-unit housing and retail complex. Despite protests from many immediate neighbors — who said the project at 3333 California St. is out of scale with the residential enclave and would destroy too many mature trees — the board backed the project. More than five years in the making, the proposal includes 186 affordable units for seniors, a child care facility, 5 acres of open space and 35,000 square feet of retail. The project would be one of the largest built in that area of the city, which includes wealthy neighborhoods that have resisted both affordable and market-rate housing in recent decades. While opponents can still file a lawsuit over the project, the developer has a secret weapon: The proposal is covered under a state law that would speed up any court challenge to 270 days. The development team, San Francisco-based Prado Group and SKS Partners, hopes to break ground by early 2021, after UCSF, which occupies the hulking office building now on the site, moves its employees to Mission Bay next year. Related… Read full this story
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