University OKs new housing

Cal State University trustees have given approval for a Beverly Hills-based developer to begin work on the long-stalled second phase of the University Glen Housing Development Project on the Camarillo campus of Cal State Channel Islands.

At their meeting July 18, Cal State trustees OK’d a revised master plan that allows Kennedy Wilson Multifamily Investments to build up to 600 residential units—approximately 685,500 square feet of new mixed housing construction, at an estimated cost of $164 million—on 32 acres of vacant land that previously allowed for 242 single-family residential units.

New housing to be built in phase two of the University Glen project includes 54 detached single-family homes and 66 townhomes for sale; 310 market-rate apartment units for rent; and 170 rental units for low-income seniors 55 and older.

Along with the master plan revisions, trustees approved a final environmental impact report for the project as well as its schematic design. They also approved a time line that calls for Kennedy Wilson to have preliminary architectural plans completed by November.

Construction is scheduled to start in October 2018 and be completed by February 2021, according to Elvyra San Juan, Cal State assistant vice-chancellor for capital planning, design and construction.

Plans also include new amenities that will be open for use by all University Glen residents, including a club house, a pool, a recreation facility and open green space.

In 2000, trustees approved up to 900 residential units in University Glen, of which only 658 were built in the first phase. In 2008 the Great Recession sidelined the college’s plans to build the other 242 for-sale housing units as part of the project’s second phase.

Completing phase two will allow CSUCI to “improve its financial position and generate alternative sources of revenue derived from long-term ground sublease payments, all of which will support future capital projects and help fulfill the campus’ academic mission,” San Juan said in her report.

“This is another step in an effort to expand the campus to accommodate our enrollment growth over the coming years,” said John Gormley, CSUCI assistant vice president for facilities services.

Because the land is leased to the CSUCI Site Authority by Cal State, the development will be able to offer housing to new faculty and staff “with financial incentives to make it more affordable to purchase a home,” CSUCI spokesperson Nancy Gill said in a news release announcing the trustee’s approval of phase two.

In 2015, numerous University Glen residents spoke against a tentative plan to build 590 rental apartments on the property. However, officials worked with residents to preserve the area’s tranquility and unique “feel and identity,” said Jim Considine, chair of CSUCI’s site authority committee.

“There were some things that needed to be corrected and I believe we’ve listened well and to the extent that we could, we have addressed the residents’ concerns,” Considine said in the news release.

The completion of the entire University Glen community will bring more services to residents, he said.

“We’re going to expand pools and hopefully add fitness centers and the like,” he said. “The concept there is that we maintain the same feel and look. I didn’t want to have something that looked like a Phase II. It should all tie together and be one development.”

In a letter to Cal State, officials from the Transportation Department of the county’s Public Works Agency raised concerns that the “cumulative impacts” of traffic from phase two.

Although university officials disagreed, Cal State nevertheless agreed to pay the county a Traffic Impact Mitigation Fee of $144,550, said Anitha Balan, county traffic manager.

The money will go into a fund, part of which will be used to mitigate any “cumulative” impacts on traffic and also for any needed road improvements that could result with the completion of University Glen’s 600 additional housing units, Balan said.

Cal State officials also agreed to pay $150,000 to the City of Camarillo to cover any future road repairs or needed improvements resulting from more vehicles driving on city streets because of the new development, she said.

Senior housing will benefit seniors by putting them closer to the campus, Gormley said.

“This housing mix is consistent with the built portion of the community and the residents are supportive, especially of the senior housing piece,” Gormley said. “It encourages senior tenants to become more connected with the university.”

In September, CSUCI trustees approved the sale of University Glen townhomes and apartments, along with the Town Center, a collection of shops and restaurants between the housing complex and the university library, to Kennedy Wilson for $81 million.

According to the agreement, the school is leasing back 40 percent of the units for CSUCI’s use during the initial 20-year term of the lease.