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Old CMPC maternity hospital to be reborn as upscale housing

Old CMPC maternity hospital to be reborn as upscale housing

The shuttered California Pacific Medical Center hospital, where generations of San Franciscans gave birth, is about to be reborn as an upscale housing development.

The San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday approved the 173-unit development at the intersection of the Presidio Heights and Jordan Park neighborhoods. The project will straddle a 5-acre hillside north of California Street.

The redevelopment of the site was years in the making as CPMC spent more than a decade developing its massive new Cathedral Hill campus.

The housing project is one of the largest the neighborhood has ever seen, and to get buy-in from the neighborhood, the developers cut density and boosted parking. In a rarity for a San Francisco project, the development includes 14 single-family homes, each with two parking spots.

The units, all of which will be for sale, are spread out across a collection of 31 smaller buildings. In addition to the single-family homes, there will be seven fourplexes and five buildings with between 20 and 30 units. The biggest is 34 units. The tallest buildings will be eight stories.

The project also includes far more parking than is typically allowed— 392 underground spaces in addition to the 24 private spaces located within the 14 single-family residences.

The developer spent a year talking to neighbors before hiring an architect.

“We wanted a process that didn’t have a predetermined outcome,” said Matt Field, president of developer TMG. “That wasn’t driven by a design.”

Two buildings will be preserved — a nine-unit residential building and a portion of the Art Deco Marshal Hale Memorial Hospital building at 3698 California St.

“What you really have is a huge institutional use in a residential neighborhood,” Field said. “Our work with the community saw an opportunity to restore the residential fabric between those two neighborhoods.”

The developer opted to pay a fee rather than build the affordable housing onsite. The fee, roughly $43 million, is the equivalent to making 33% of the units affordable.

“Doing 31 buildings is challenging but it’s also a rare opportunity to create something unique,” Field said. “It does require vastly more coordination and thinking than a couple of big buildings with a couple of entrances.”

Most of the units will be large, 75% of the units are two-bedroom units or larger.

The Presidio Heights Association of Neighbors, the Jordan Park Improvement Association, the Laurel Heights Improvement Association and other nearby community groups have endorsed the project.

Tom Radulovich, executive director of the nonprofit Livable City, said overall “the project looks great,” but called the amount of parking “disappointing.”

“It’s 2020. The planet is burning. We need to get smart about this and quickly,” he said. “This does feel a bit like a retro project.”

He contrasted the parking level with those of a large residential project approved just down the street at 3333 California St. That project, with 744 units, has 0.5 parking spaces per home versus more than two spots per home at the old CPMC site. Both projects are along the No. 1 and No. 2 Muni lines, with frequent local and express buses.

Construction of the project on the CPMC site is expected to start in early 2022.

J.K. Dineen is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jdineen@sfchronicle.com