A 175,000-square-foot research center to be built by UCSF on what is currently a parking lot at San Francisco General Hospital is moving closer to completing its application process, though the groundbreaking date has been somewhat delayed.

The research facility would house workspace for some 800 UCSF employees who have thus far conducted their work at SF General in older, seismically unsafe buildings around the general hospital campus. It is estimated to cost around $188 million. Earlier estimates for when the project would break ground indicated construction might begin in 2017 – a UCSF spokesperson now estimates that timeline might be pushed to early 2018.

City real estate staff have submitted an application for approval of the ground lease between the hospital and UCSF under city’s General Plan. In early 2017, the Board of Supervisors will again vote on the ground lease and disposition agreement, which the Health Commission unanimously approved earlier this week.

To mitigate the effect of removing a hospital parking lot, UCSF will reimburse the city $10 million, that the Municipal Transit Agency and the Department of Public Health can then put toward expanding an existing parking garage for the hospital and making transit improvements in the area.

Brent Andrew, a spokesperson for General Hospital, emphasized the value of keeping the UCSF researchers, who according to UCSF rules must work in seismically safe buildings by 2019, on campus.

“When the doctors and other UC employees are needed to deliver clinical care, they need to be proximate, they need to be here on campus, to do that,” Andrew said. “It’s critical for us. We’re definitely supportive of the plan to build new seismically safe and state-of-the-art facilities here.”