Upon its completion, the $300 million Poly Canyon Village residential complex at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, will offer students nearly 2,700 new beds in a setting that boasts the complete amenities of a full-service resort community, including corner store, post office, dry-cleaning services, food vendors, swimming pool and spectacular views.
“We hope the delivery of this project will be something the city really wants and students really want and really develops the campus in a way that makes it a better place to study, learn and work,” said Preston Allen, executive director of university housing at Cal Poly.
Cal Poly will celebrate the ribbon cutting of the 30-acre Poly Canyon site on Aug. 19, at which time the wraps will be taken off of the first phase of construction in time for 1,541 returning sophomore students to move in for the fall quarter. In fall 2009, the remaining four dormitory buildings of the complex will open to another 1,129 students.
Adding nearly 3,000 beds to the area’s rental stock – with average rental rates of $690 a month – Poly Canyon will likely decrease competition for apartment rentals among Cal Poly students and push rents down, said Mike McNamara, owner of McNamara Realty in San Luis Obispo.
“I would classify the rental market as still good but I do see absorption rates of rentals probably a little slower now than this time last year,” McNamara said.
When the units in Cal Poly’s Cerro Vista on-campus dormitory development came online in 2003, McNamara said there was a drop in rental rates, though they later came back up. But in addition to Poly Canyon, McNamara said other rental properties are becoming available in San Luis Obispo, creating even more reason for landlords to be on guard.
“I would think if you were a landlord that’s been operating what has been sub-standard housing, I would re-look at that as a business model approach …” Cal Poly’s Allen said, adding that the addition of more and more housing on campus over time could encourage the addition of higher quality rental units in San Luis Obispo.
Intended for second-year students, the completed 800,000-square-foot Poly Canyon development will be made up of more than 600 four- and five-bedroom apartments sleeping four to six students in mainly single bedrooms. Each apartment also includes a shared living space, kitchen and two bathrooms. The project cost breaks down to about $113,000 per bed.
Students living at Poly Canyon will not be required to purchase university meal plans. All utilities, including cable and Internet, are included and weekly housekeeping services for each apartment’s communal areas will be provided by the university.
Steps from the dormitories in the village plaza, retailers including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Jamba Juice, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Village Market will be open to both students and the public.
All retail operations at the village are owned by the Cal Poly Corp. as franchises and run by Cal Poly employees, said Bonnie Murphy of the Cal Poly Corp., a university foundation that owns several campus operations including the book store. In response to students’ requests for organic products, Village Market will offer several university-produced goods, such as Cal Poly chocolate, ice cream, cheese and produce, when possible.
At the Canyon Post mail center, students will have access to daily mail as well as a kiosk that will allow them to send packages via FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service. There, students will also be able to pick up flower deliveries, drop off dry cleaning and access notary services.
Next door, the recreation facility offers students a flat-screen television, sound-proof music room, pool table, catering kitchen and outdoor pool.
Learning consultants were brought in to help design the Knowledge Center, which gives students a large space, including a meeting room, to study privately or in groups, with outlets for laptop hook-up.
“I think landlords probably have to be more focused on their properties and giving that appeal factor to them and making them a little nicer probably because you are competing with that,” McNamara said. “The old days of when students line up [for apartments], those days are fading away, if not already gone.”