Administration awaits approval for new student housing project
University administration is in the process of obtaining approval to begin construction of new housing units that will double the number of new beds and extend housing to a block of Holloway Avenue.
The housing building is part of the Creative Arts and Holloway Mixed-Use Project included in the 2007 Campus Master Plan, which provides a blueprint for future physical development on campus through the year 2020, according to the Campus Master Plan Executive Summary.
“The University aims to take an underutilized acre of low-density housing and through a public/private partnership, transform it into a high-density, mixed-use residential project at a key campus entry point,” said Jason Porth, SF State University Corporation executive director.
The plan also includes a new Creative Arts building on a block bounded by Tapia Drive, which will have an 800-seat capacity concert hall if donor funding is secured, according to Porth.
The administration is currently securing necessary approvals in order to proceed with the project from the CSU Board of Trustees.
Porth said that some of the key goals the University intends to fulfill with this project include providing affordable undergraduate housing and transforming Holloway Avenue into a “vibrant, campus main street.”
The four-story building will feature neighborhood-retail businesses and student support services on the first floor. Student housing will be located on the upper levels.
“This (project) could include restaurants, shops or other similar offerings,” said Porth. “No decisions have been made as to any specific operators.”
Alexis Czech, a senior history major, has lived on campus for two years.
“On-campus housing is really limited, so I think it’d be great for SF State to offer more housing,” Czech said. “I don’t feel a great sense of community here, so maybe if there were more students living on campus, there’d be more school pride.”
If approved, the mixed-use housing project and new Creative Arts building will require the demolition of 54 housing units on the Tapia triangle, the southeast corner of Holloway and Varela Avenues, according to the project’s Focused Tiered Environmental Impact Report.
Mary Kenny, SF State director of news and new media, said that all students currently living in these locations have contracts that run through the end of May this year.
“No current students are intended to be displaced due to this work,” Kenny said.
The EIR states that there will be an estimated net-increase of 355 residential bed spaces, up from approximately 195 current bed spaces, once construction is completed. The building will bring more than 500 new bed spaces for students who wish to live on campus.
Possible points of controversy include transportation impacts, parking overflow and the aesthetics of the surrounding Park Merced area.
Jacqueline Muniz, a third year English education major, currently lives in the Park Merced Towers and said she is concerned the project will create a lack of parking spaces during construction.
“There is already so little space for residents who live here to park,” Muniz said. “Maybe when the construction is done the building may benefit students, but meanwhile there will be a lot of frustration.”
Czech agreed that parking is an issue for students living on campus and fears that a new building may generate more difficulty in finding open spaces.
“With more students on campus, there are potentially more cars that need to be parked,” Czech said.
Muniz said additional issues may arise in regards to noise from the construction project and its location on Holloway Avenue, which could affect students in the classroom and residents of Park Merced.
The demolition is expected to start in summer of 2017 and the construction will begin in the fall. Completion of the project is anticipated between 2019 and 2020, according to the EIR.
“I don’t know how other non-student residents might feel about their (homes) being taken over by college students,” Muniz said. “So there might be tension between them and the school.”