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UCSF is considering erecting a new building and adjacent parking lot at 15th and Folsom streets as part of its new long-term development plan. The university currently employs more than 800 employees at the 72-foot Mission Building Center, which includes a 207-space parking lot at 1855 Folsom.

“We can never predict what the future would hold,” said Kevin Beauchamp, the university’s director of physical planning. “But at least now we want a snapshot in time of our thinking based on what we know today.”

With 22,000 people on staff, UCSF is the second largest employer in San Francisco, second only to the city itself. The university’s rapid growth over the past decade is expected to slow due to a decrease in research funding, Beauchamp said. He is looking to increase the density of the school’s existing sites, and hopes development at the Mission location will align with that vision.

While university planners have not settled on a plan for the underused lot, they are in the process of publicizing the options currently under consideration. The planners and other university officials said they do not want neighboring residents and business owners to be surprised by the designs, should the university decide to proceed in developing the Mission Building Center site.

This week university officials began providing neighbors with a handful of proposals for the site. Most of the plans include constructing two buildings, one of which would have between 294 and 360 parking spaces.

UCSF’s proposed buildings would bring more change to the already changing northeast Mission neighborhood, which hosts a diversity of commercial uses, from industrial buildings to live-work spaces. Other plans and proposals complicating the neighborhood’s parking puzzle include:

  • Construction of a new park on an existing parking lot at 17th and Folsom streets, set to begin this summer, which will remove a significant parking facility in the area
  • A proposal by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to install some 5,000 parking meters to mitigate parking issues, which has irritated local businesses and some neighbors
  • The possible elimination of some parking on 16th Street, from Third to Guerrero streets, which the transit agency is considering to speed up Muni lines
  • A facility that UCSF has proposed building on a site currently used for parking at San Francisco General Hospital, which would displace an additional 158 parking spaces

The Northeast Mission Neighborhood Association, which has fought the SFMTA on its plan to install parking meters, is concerned with the continuing decline of parking in the area, said Douglas MacNeil, the organization’s president.

“There is a shortage of parking and any time you bring more employees, you’re going to need more parking,” MacNeil said. “Regardless of whether you build a parking lot or not, they won’t necessarily park in the parking lot.”

All of UCSF’s proposals for developing the 15th and Folsom site include a parking structure that would have at least 87 more parking spaces than the current lot.

“I think the more parking the better on this site,” MacNeil said. “But unfortunately, the more parking, the more it gives them the idea to put more work space, and that defeats the purpose.”