Sonoma State University, based in Rohnert Park, Calif., has opened a 90-unit housing complex in Petaluma for its employees.
The university says the Marina Crossing Apartments is a multifamily, five-story complex on a 2.17-acre parcel adjacent to the Petaluma Marina. It is about 10 miles south of campus and is close to passenger train service.
With the approval of the California State University Board of Trustees, Sonoma State bought the Petaluma complex and designated it for faculty and staff housing. The university took ownership in February and, with construction now complete, residents will start to move in this weekend.
“This will allow us to address Sonoma State’s workforce housing needs in an immediate and significant way,” says Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki.
However, one lecturer at the university told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat that she would not be able to afford the kinds of rents Sonoma State is asking.
“I don’t think they’re affordable,” she says. “It’s not helpful. It’s helpful in the sense that there’s more (housing) stock … but as soon as I saw the rents I kind of stopped paying attention.”
University officials says the apartments are priced competitively compared with other apartments in the area. In previous communications with university employees, Joyce Lopes, the university''s chief financial officer described the apartment project as an effort to provide “affordable housing” to staff and faculty.
But Lopes said Wednesday she meant “appropriately priced” housing for the area and all the amenities.
“When I say affordable, I don’t mean it in the federal term,” she said, referring to the federal government housing programs and policies aimed at low-income residents.
Rents at Marina Crossing Apartments range from $1,774 for a 439-square-foot studio to about $3,300 for a 3-bed, 2-bath apartment, according the university’s website.
The acquisition of the Petaluma complex is the first step in a multiyear housing initiative for Sonoma State. Sakaki announced in October that Sonoma State has set a goal of providing on-campus housing for half of all students by 2040. Currently about 30 percent of the university’s 9,200 students live in residential student housing on campus.