Dear Members of the USF Community,
I am pleased to announce that we are considering steps to acquire and renovate the property at Masonic Avenue and Turk Boulevard, which has long operated as a blood bank and research institute.
This acquisition would expand the university’s footprint and access to much-needed academic space, and advance USF’s collaborative, innovative, and interdisciplinary learning and research in the sciences, health professions, and, in particular, the health sciences. It would also allow us to reduce the space constraints on our Hilltop Campus.
First, a bit of history. In 2012, USF began conversations with the owner of this property (currently known as Blood Centers of the Pacific) to explore a purchase. Talks continued on and off until 2017 when we learned that the owner could not secure appropriate new space for its operations. The owner — Vitalant, a national nonprofit network of 120 blood donation and research centers — has now secured new space closer to its research partners at UCSF.
That means USF can now move forward with exploring the acquisition of the 80,000-square-foot building, which sits on 1.5 acres, and the renovation of existing specialized laboratories and other spaces to enhance learning and teaching.
The beneficiaries of this planned project would be the entire USF community of current and future students, faculty, and staff. This initiative also has the potential to create new opportunities for USF to engage with communities in the Bay Area, across the nation, and around the world to advance equity, inclusion, and social justice in the sciences and health professions.
The timeline of the project is dependent on a few factors, notably the time it would take for the City of San Francisco to approve a “change of use” permit to allow the building to open for educational purposes. It is anticipated that, if due diligence and financing concludes favorably, we can move forward with concrete plans and renovations later this spring. The change-of-use timeline could take another 12 months, which means occupancy could occur in summer 2023.
More details will be shared with you in the coming weeks, and members of the president’s cabinet and faculty leaders will share information and hold discussion sessions. Details on those sessions are forthcoming. In the meantime, I invite USF faculty and staff to a town hall on Friday, March 11 from 12 to 1 p.m. Please register online.
This is an exciting time to be shaping the future of USF, and I am grateful for your ideas, input, and support as we work together to implement our strategic priorities.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.