Apartments on the Rise
SF State purchases new housing for faculty and upperclassmen
August 24, 2005 11:03 AM
A big-ticket purchase over the summer will soon yield affordable housing for SF State faculty and upperclassmen.
On June 15th, SF State purchased the 697-unit Stonestown Apartment complex, located at 295 Buckingham Way, to provide additional on-campus housing, according to Philippe Cumia, associate director of residential administrative services. The university has since renamed the apartment complex University Park North.
“The good news is rents will cover the (purchase) price (of the complex),” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning. “It is not part of the General Fund.
“The purchase was in response to increased enrollment, particularly (students) from Southern
The $134 million acquisition will be financed by a CSU general revenue bond, though rent payments and property fees will repay the bond as well as pay for property maintenance, according an SF State news release.
Previously, campus-adjacent housing was only made available to freshmen and sophomores under the age of 20, Cumia said.
The garden and tower apartments will rent for $1,200 a month for one bedroom, $1,400 for two bedrooms and $1,800 for a three-bedroom unit, requiring a one-year-lease to move in. These are actually 10 to 15 percent below market value, Cumia said.
The complex’s current tenants will not be evicted and may stay as long as they like, said Volkert. Faculty and students can move in as vacancies open up, but currently there are only a few one-bedroom apartments available.
SF State provides housing for 2,270 of its 28,804 students. Past surveys have cited housing as a top concern among students and faculty.
“When you can offer a better rate, I think students want to take advantage of that,” Volkert said. “(University Park North) is a lot shorter commute.”
Enrollment at SF State is on the rise. The number of applications for this fall is 23 percent higher than last year for entering freshman and nearly 10 percent higher for upper classmen.
Yet some dispute the claims of this housing policy strategy aimed at attracting staff and pupils.
“Are faculty and students going to be given a lower rate?” he asked. “The rents are not cheap at all.”
“Only the future will tell how successful they will be (at) lower(ing) rents. I believed that was the intention (when buying the complex), or are they entering the profit-making market?” he asked.
Jain said he would like to see some sort of input on the part of faculty and student tenants to determine how the apartments may offer more perquisites to them. He added that he could not possibly afford a median-priced home in San Francisco, now costing more than $700,000.
“If I could convert my apartment into a condo, I (would) buy it,” Jain said. “That’ll be the most affordable thing I could do.”
SF State accounting major Maria Widjaja has lived at the apartments for over two years. She shares her two-bedroom unit with a roommate since she cannot afford the $1,500 rent by herself, she said.
“I thought it was going to be student-friendly fees,” said Widjaja. “If you don’t lower it, at least let it stay the same, but actually it rose a bit.”
Jain also complained that current management did not respond promptly to maintenance requests. He said that a broken window latch required nine days to replace.
Victor Ramos, chief engineer at the apartment complex, said a change in the phone system required tenants to leave messages with maintenance requests, which are then forwarded to his beeper.
“Most maintenance is done within 24 hours,” said Ramos. “We’re not perfect. We do the best we can.
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