San Francisco State University, a commuter school with a student body spread throughout the Bay Area, could triple student housing at certain sites along its southern border under a proposal up for public review this month.
The proposal calls for the university to demolish two current on-campus housing sites and replace them over a two-year stretch with a mixed-use development, a new Creative Arts Building and an 800-seat concert hall.
The proposal is part of a transformation the university campus has experienced in recent years, including a $2 million renovation of the campus gymnasium in 2014 and the construction of an $86.5 million wellness and recreation center that is slated for completion in 2017.
The proposed developments are at areas along Holloway Avenue, which the university is attempting to turn into a “college main street” under its master plan for increasing enrollment.
Jonathan Morales, a spokesperson for the university, said the proposal would make the campus a “more vibrant area.”
“We know that there’s a need for additional housing and we know that there’s a need for more academic space,” Morales said, adding that the projects will help meet those needs.
The California State University Board of Trustees, which is leading an environmental impact report on the project, is seeking public input on the potential impacts of the project until Aug. 8 and plans to hold a public meeting at the SFSU library next Wednesday.
A two-part project, the university plans to demolish one block of student housing on Holloway Avenue at Cardenas Avenue and another at the Tapia Triangle — where student and other housing is wedged between the Humanities and current Creative Arts buildings, the latter of which is more than six decades old.
The block on Holloway Avenue would be replaced with an eight-story building with retail on the bottom floor and 550 beds for students above — 360 more beds than currently available at both sites combined.
About 30,000 students attend SFSU, but the university only has 2,500 beds on campus, according to Morales.
“We’ve heard for some time from our students, faculty and staff that they’re looking for more housing options nearby,” he said.
While student-designated housing might be desired in the area, at least one former neighbor at Parkmerced was concerned about the potential impacts of the mixed-use development.
“Wherever they put a new Creative Arts center along with a wellness center, you’re generating a lot more traffic,” said Aaron Goodman, who moved out of Parkmerced in 2010 amid rising rents. Parking is often packed along the southern border of SFSU, Goodman noted.
Goodman was also worried about the size of the proposed mixed-use development. Potentially standing at eight-stories tall, “the change of scale is going to be huge out there” compared to the two-story townhomes in Parkmerced, he said.
Tim Colen, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, pointed to housing shortage for students in San Francisco.
“Student housing can’t happen fast enough,” Colen said, noting that SFSU is among several institutions planning to increase student housing. UC San Francisco, UC Hastings and others also have projects in the works, according to Colen.
As for the residents who live in the planned redevelopment sites at SFSU, the college has offered to relocate them within the year to other sites like University Park North — a housing complex adjacent to the campus.
Six units in the Tapia Triangle are regular, nonstudent apartments, according to SFSU.
While it is unclear how many have accepted the offer, Morales said the university will cover moving costs.
Construction of the new Creative Arts Building and concert hall at Tapia Triangle is expected to begin in Fall 2017 and last two years. The mixed-use building would begin construction shortly thereafter and be completed in 2019.