Two construction projects set to shake up Holloway



Massive change is on the way for Holloway Avenue as SF State gears up to construct two buildings approved by the CSU Board of Trustees over the summer. 

The Creative Arts & Holloway Mixed-Use Project will demolish 46 units of student housing within two separate blocks of University Park South. The demolition will clear the way for a new Creative Arts building along with another building, adding over 300 new student beds in the process.

“We want to create a place that doesn’t shut down when classes end,” said Jason Porth, vice president of University Enterprises at SF State. “We really want a vibrant night life and weekend activities for students to enjoy.”

Twenty-seven townhouses at Tapia Drive and Holloway Avenue will be demolished to clear the way for a new $81 million Creative Arts building. Another 27 units toward the front of campus will be demolished at Holloway and Varela avenues to make way for a $102 million mixed-use building. Porth said the project is slated to break ground in summer 2018.

“We might lose some units for a brief moment in time with the Creative Arts building, but the net gain is so significant,” Porth said.

A team including Pacific Union Development Company and Capstone Development Partners will finance and build the mixed-use building through a public-private partnership resulting in 136 new housing units, providing over 300 new beds along with a 50-car parking garage and ground floor retail.

The developer will sub-lease the land from SF State’s University Corporation for 65 years while collecting rent and maintaining the building. After the lease ends, the developer will walk away and SF State will receive the keys to the building.

According to Porth, rent for the first year will start at 10 percent above existing “comparable” university housing prices, with a 3.5 percent annual increase allowed in the years afterward.

“We were very mindful with working with the developer to ensure the rates were affordable to students,” he said.

But he specified that “comparable” does not mean comparing to the 1940s era UPS townhouses set to be demolished, which are among the cheapest on campus starting at $1250 a month for a shared room without a meal plan.

Other comparable units include the higher end housing in the Towers at Centennial Square upwards of $1700 a month with cheapest meal plan or the units in the village between $1600-$2000.

Jasper Rubin, associate professor of urban studies and planning at SF State, said the proposed housing increase isn’t enough.

“If the University wants to become a destination campus, the only way to do that is to provide more housing, but 300 beds isn’t going to do it,” said Rubin.

The mixed-use building proposed for Holloway and Varela avenues is seen in a rendering provided to SF State by project architect Gould Evans (Courtesy of Jason Porth at University Enterprises)



The sister project of the mixed-use building is the $81 million Creative Arts building, which will be funded with $65 million in state money, leaving SF State on the hook for the rest.

The new building will house SF State’s prized Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) department.

Vinay Shrivastava, department chair of BECA, said the chances for a new Creative Arts building breaking ground look much better than years past.

“We have been talking about it for years and years, but this time I see that the chancellor has approved it, the president has approved it, the budget has been approved, the architecture has been signed-off … signs are very good that things are moving forward,” he said.

Shrivastava says BECA needs new facilities, including a replacement for its in-house television studio. Constructed in the 1960s, it’s the oldest in the CSU system. He also says the current recording studio contains outdated acoustics.

“This new building will have a brand-new recording studio … with cloud-based flow, a surround sound mixing system and there will be a new radio station with streamcast,” he said.

BECA is set to receive new television studios, a video post-production suite, a brand-new broadcast green room and more technologically savvy classrooms, according to Shrivastava.

He expects the new Creative Arts Building to be ready for classes starting Spring 2020, given the project breaks ground next summer.

However, Erica Cardinez, a senior BECA major focusing on sports broadcasting, said the equipment she learned in the old Creative Arts building with was top-notch.

“There’s a lot of state-of-the-art stuff that gets passed down from TV stations in the area, because a lot of our teachers come from working there,” Cardinez said. “I’m happy with what I’m getting.”

Plans for the Creative Arts & Holloway Mixed-Use Project come as the Mashouf Wellness Center wraps up its construction on the south end of campus. The projects also neighbor the 152-acre Parkmerced neighborhood where a massive redevelopment is set to begin in early 2018.

Holloway Avenue’s construction is a crucial part of SF State’s current Campus Master Plan. Adopted in 2007, it lays the groundwork for a series of physical changes needed as the University plans for an increased enrollment cap to generate 25 percent more full-time students by 2020.