Press Release

Press Release: Environmental Lawsuit Challenges Laurel Heights Project

PRESS RELEASE: Environmental Lawsuit Challenges Laurel Heights Project; Seeks Feasible Alternative Allowing New Housing and Protecting Historic Resources

San Francisco. Jan 2, 2020. The Laurel Heights Improvement Association of San Francisco, Inc., filed suit against the City and County of San Francisco today in the San Francisco County Superior Court.

The case challenges the City’s failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving a 1.5-million square feet of mixed-use development without adopting feasible mitigations mandated by state law.

The association proposes a feasible alternative that would allow substantial expansion while avoiding needless impacts to the historic 1957 Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company complex that is currently the UCSF Laurel Heights campus — and still provide for construction of all of the project’s 744 housing units.

The existing 354,000 square-foot four-story International Style building was designed by master architect Edward Bradford Page (1905-1994). Landscaping is an integral part of the original design by the highly acclaimed master landscape architectural firm of Eckbo, Royston & Williams.

The Fireman’s Fund building dramatically transformed the former Laurel Hill cemetery site and stands as the most prominent post-war commercial development in the Laurel Heights neighborhood. The building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and is listed in the California Register of Historical Resources.

“The association advocates for appropriate development of the site,” said association president Kathryn Devincenzi. “Much of the natural green landscaping and landmark building can be preserved and adapted to residential use under state-sanctioned historic design guidelines. We support sustainable development complying with the city’s general plan policies, responding to site constraints, and compatible with the historic locale.”


For more information, contact attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley at or call (707) 732-0007, or Laurel Heights Improvement Association President Kathryn Devincenzi at (415) 221-4700.

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