UC Law SF Secures Financing, Initiates Work for New Building

UC Law SF has secured $364 million in tax-exempt bond financing for construction of a 14-story, mixed-use complex that will replace Snodgrass Hall at 198 McAllister Street and add much-needed student housing.

With 356,000 square feet, the new building will include academic and retail space plus below-market graduate student housing for some 670 students from UC Law SF; the University of California, San Francisco; and other institutions of higher education. Demolition of Snodgrass Hall will begin on September 14, with occupancy set for June 2023. The developer is Greystar, the architect is Perkins & Will, and the general contractor is San Francisco-based Build Group.

This project represents the second phase of UC Law SF’ long-range plan to transform its two-block campus into a vibrant Academic Village at the nexus of San Francisco’s Civic Center, Mid-Market, and Tenderloin neighborhoods. The first phase concluded earlier this year with completion of the Cotchett Law Center at 333 Golden Gate Avenue. The college’s first new academic building in 40 years, it was designed to Platinum LEED standards with six stories and 57,000 square feet of smart classrooms, offices, and a Sky Deck overlooking City Hall.

“After years of planning and preparation, we successfully closed financing on our new 198 McAllister Street building,” said UC Law SF Chancellor & Dean David Faigman. “It’s been just two weeks since we dedicated the Cotchett Law Center, our new state-of-the art academic building. And now we’re preparing to break ground for the second phase in our Academic Village plan. I particularly want to acknowledge UC Law SF’ partnership with UCSF. The development of more than 600 units of much-needed graduate student housing is an example of institutional collaboration that is at the heart of the Academic Village concept.”

The 198 McAllister Street building is being funded through tax-exempt bonds, which UC Law SF will repay with revenue generated through the project. Features of the project include:

  • Classrooms, offices, an auditorium, and trial and appellate courtrooms
  • Below-market-rate graduate student housing, with a mix of efficiencies, studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments
  • Residential amenities including 24-hour security, shared study rooms, an indoor-outdoor residential lounge, common kitchen, video room, laundry, fitness center, exterior atrium, exterior dog run, and bike storage
  • Ground-floor retail and café space

The building will significantly expand affordable student housing in the country’s most expensive real estate market. Both UC Law SF and UCSF have identified affordable student housing and shorter commutes as key concerns. Addressing these issues helps ensure that both schools will remain competitive in their markets.

“UC San Francisco is delighted that 230 units (35%) will be dedicated to UC learners and employees, primarily from UCSF,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood. “For many years, UCSF and UC Law SF have successfully collaborated on administrative matters and in academic programs, including the UCSF-UC Law SF Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy.  The Academic Village on the UC Law SF Campus will further enable these collaborations. UC Law SF is conveniently located to many UCSF sites, including to our Parnassus Heights campus via the N-Judah. As UCSF plans to grow, particularly on the westside as part of the Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan, we are pleased that the UCSF community will have another reasonably priced housing option in San Francisco.”

Future Projects

The 198 McAllister project will be followed by the renovation and structural upgrade of the college’s iconic 28-story Tower at 100 McAllister Street. When that work is complete, the Tower and the new 198 McAllister Street building will house almost 1,000 students without displacing any residents of the adjoining neighborhoods. “San Francisco has a profound shortage of student housing, and this project and future phases of the Academic Village will help meet that need—in a transit-oriented way—while providing significant benefits to the Tenderloin community,” said State Senator Scott Wiener. “I commend UC Law SF for this important step.”

The anticipated fourth and final component of the Academic Village project is the redevelopment of the properties at 201-247 Golden Gate Avenue, owned by UNITE HERE Local 2. UC Law SF and the union have entered into an option agreement that would lead to replacement of the existing one- and two-story buildings with a new union hall and Local 2 offices, along with academic and residential facilities for UC Law SF and, potentially, other universities. Development partners are being recruited.

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