South of Market tenants can expect another new neighbor in their up-and-coming neighborhood.
The University of the Pacific plans to move its Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry to the increasingly popular neighborhood in 2014 because officials want a central location, according to Richard Rojo, associate vice president for marketing and university communications.
“From the university point of view, we’ve been looking at a way of leveraging our presence in San Francisco,” Rojo said.
According to Rojo, the university plans to completely renovate the former Wells Fargo building at 155 Fifth St., a project that will cost about $104 million. The university purchased the seven-story, 395,000-square-foot building for $47 million. Construction could begin as early as January.
The school’s current location at Webster and Sacramento streets lacks the technology and open space needed to help students flourish, Rojo said.
“The [old] building doesn’t offer as much opportunity for collaboration — that’s what this large building really offers,” Rojo said.
The new digs will house the school’s dental clinics and educational facilities, which serve about 10,000 patients and 500 students, respectively. The university plans to rent out a few floors for now, but will likely use the space for new academic programs.
Rojo could not elaborate on those programs, other than to say they would likely be new offerings to the university, rather than an expanded dentistry curriculum.
In addition to the dental school in San Francisco, the University of the Pacific has a law school in Sacramento and headquarters in Stockton.
Rojo said one reason the university settled on the Fifth Street building is because officials see SoMa as a burgeoning arts and technology corridor.
Down the road, another development project is supporting that vision.
On Nov. 17, the Hearst Company, which owns the San Francisco Chronicle, and developer Forest City announced major renovation plans for the Chronicle building at Fifth and Mission streets.
The project, called 5M, is a collaboration between tech, arts and culture organizations, including new space for tech companies looking to move into the area.
Dental nerve center
395,000 square feet: Total building size
$104M: Total cost of renovation
$47M: Purchase price
$8M: Demolition and abatement
$96M: Design and construction
January: Estimated construction start
Summer 2014: Estimated opening
Source: University of the Pacific