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October 24, 2005

University Village plans taking shape

Village Plan
Village Plan - Printer Version (pdf)

Faculty and staff eager for housing adjacent to campus are one step closer to that reality. The University Enterprises Development Group has begun the process of imagining the village composition and layout and have developed the first concept plan for the University’s Ramona Avenue property south of campus. As part of planning efforts they are looking for input from the campus community.

The initial concept shows the potential for 500 mixed-use housing units, along with a community center, shops and restaurants, on the 25-acre site. The land between—Folsom Blvd. and Power Inn Road—formerly housed a California Youth Authority facility. There is also a potential for acquiring additional land adjacent to the property to expand the size of the new community, says Matt Altier, vice president for capital planning and resource development and executive director of University Enterprises.

The initial plan calls for a combination of rental apartments, and for-sale condominium or townhouses, and single family homes specifically for Sacramento State faculty and staff. The University Enterprises Development Group is conducting a survey of the campus community to get its feedback in shaping a village model that will meet the needs of the campus community. For example, the initial plans call for a mixture of high-density townhouses or condos and single-family homes but the number and distribution could change based on the results of the survey.

To participate, visit www.foundation.csus.edu/project/Ramona/survey.html. The deadline to participate in the survey is Nov. 4. As the planning progresses, other surveys along with town halls will follow.

The concept features a “Main Street” with shopping and restaurants on the lower level, loft-style apartments above and a tree-lined esplanade down the center, Altier says. The street would be ringed by condominium/townhouses and then a ring of single family homes. Access to the homes and condos will be from an outer perimeter road that will be gated.

To expand the village concept, plans suggest a town center with a rotunda at the end of Main Street and parking would be available on the street to encourage members of Sacramento community to visit the shopping district. A 30,000-square-foot community center, a child care center for the children of faculty and staff, a swimming and fitness center, parks and green space would add to the residential feel. Plans could also include a University House which could be used as a banquet and meeting space and possibly a residence.

The Village will also be designed to limit the need for faculty and staff to drive to campus. A planned bike- and pedestrian-friendly extension of Ramona Avenue would go from campus across Folsom to the new Village development. And the University’s planned Bus Rapid Transit line route would be designed as a direct link between the campus and the village.

The fronts of the condo units and single family homes would face each other, promoting a “front porch” atmosphere complete with green space crisscrossed with walking trails. Covered or garage parking would be on the back side, accessed from the perimeter road.

The primary goal of the project is to make it affordable. Altier says University Enterprises is exploring partnerships with homebuilders including an advanced on-site process that significantly cuts construction time and, as a result, cost.

And they are looking at other ways to make it affordable for faculty and staff to purchase. “Unlike typical home purchases, the University owns the land which we will not sell," Altier says. "We will only sell the house, which creates a significant savings in the price of the home and ideally keeps them well below the market rate.”

The key is affordability, he says. To purchase, faculty and staff members will need to meet certain criteria which are still being worked on but they are expected to include a priority placement process. Altier expects that the priority will probably go to faculty first because faculty are recruited nationally and internationally and therefore are more likely to be deterred when they see Sacramento Region housing prices.

Buyers would have all the advantages of home ownership: tax credit for mortgage interest and a controlled equity appreciation. Because buyers buy at an affordable price and their equity appreciation is controlled, this method provides for what Altier terms “perpetual affordability” for future residents.

As part of the planning process, the Development Group is looking to the successes and challenges of similar faculty/staff housing developments at other California universities in modeling the program for Sacramento State.

In addition to surveys of potential residents, the Development Group is conducting an environmental assessment for the demolition plan for the CYA facility. Then a more permanent master plan will need to be created. The hope is that faculty and staff could move into the Village as early as the 2008-09 academic year.

In the meantime, University Enterprises has two loft apartments in the new F65 project, on the corner of Folsom Blvd. and 65th St., available for lease to faculty and staff. The units are available for immediate occupancy for $1,600 per month on a 12-month lease. For lease information, contact Lisa Hall at 278-3585.

Details: University Enterprises at 278-7001.


 



 

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