First Chinese hospital in the United States
Designed by Alfred Coffey and completed in 1924
Completed in 1924, the Chinese Hospital Medical Administration Building (MAB) is highly significant—both culturally and architecturally. In 1923, when other San Francisco healthcare providers denied access to the local Chinese community, 15 community organizations created the Chinese Hospital Association to raise funds for construction of the facility at 835 Jackson Street. Designed by Alfred Coffey, the four‐story reinforced concrete structure integrated conspicuous Chinese motifs “copied from the famed hospital of the Rockefeller Foundation in Peking.” When the building opened in 1925, it was the first and only Chinese hospital in the United States.
The Planning Department published the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Chinese Hospital Replacement Project on April 16, 2012. Heritage’s Issues Committee reviewed the report at its May 1 meeting and agrees with the Planning Department that the proposed project will result in significant adverse impacts on historic resources. As proposed, the project includes: demolition of the 1924 Medical Administration Building (MAB) and a 41-space parking garage, construction of a new Replacement Hospital Building, renovation of the onsite 1979 Chinese Hospital Building at 845 Jackson Street, and the creation of a Special Use District to support expansion of medical services on the project site.
The MAB is considered an historical resource for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the DEIR identifies the building as a potential contributor to the state and national register-eligible Chinatown historic district.
While Heritage acknowledges the need for improved and expanded medical services in the Chinatown neighborhood, demolition of the MAB would be a tremendous loss to the historic fabric of Chinatown. In addition to advocating for preservation alternatives, Heritage joins the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) in urging the City to include a mitigation measure to, at minimum, initiate a historic district nomination for Chinatown.