New renderings for 55 Laguna project [Photo: SF Planning (pdf alert)]
Perhaps we exaggerate, but it sure feels like this 55 Laguna project has been appealed non-stop since it started. The 1920s San Francisco State Teacher’s College site, then owned by UC Berkeley as an extension campus, was listed as a local landmark in 2006, but only three of the five campus buildings were landmarked. Back in 2008, a redevelopment project of the campus was approved to include housing, retail, and a community center. Appeals were filed when it looked like the other two (non-listed) historic campus buildings would be demoed for the project. A friends group then got the entire site listed on the National Register in 2008. The property was sold to new owners in 2010, who submitted a revised project in 2011.
The new project includes rehabilitation of the three landmark buildings into LGBT senior services, senior housing, retail, and a community center. The project affects the exterior of the buildings with a couple new window openings and replacements and renovates the interiors. Since it's a landmark, the project needed Historic Preservation Commission approval, and in May of this year they had their hearing. The HPC felt good about the project, made a few tweaks to some of the window openings and details, and approved it unanimously.
A group called the Save the Laguna Street Campus has appealed the HPC's approval (which may be the first time that's ever happened?) because they didn't take the whole district into account...which they can't since only the three landmarked buildings are under their jurisdiction. Today the Board of Supervisors will hear the appeal, and the Planning Department is sticking with the HPC decision, recommending they uphold the decision and reject the appeal. Here's hoping that actually happens so this project can move forward already.
· Certificate of Appropriateness Appeal for 55 Laguna [SF Gov]
· Certificate of Appropriateness Case Report 55 Laguna [SF Planning]
· Past coverage of 55 Laguna [Curbed SF]