CSUMB shelves project due to lack of financing
MARINA >> California State University Monterey Bay recently announced it was putting the brakes on a development project known as the 2nd Avenue Concept due to a lack of the right financing and a feasible development idea that was to include housing and services for the university and the community.
In January, an email was sent to CSUMB faculty and staff saying the school's leadership team determined that development of the site is not an option at this time.
“We were unable to find a financially attractive and viable development concept that would align with the university mission and be mutually beneficial to the student body, campus community, the potential developer, and the surrounding community,” said CSUMB Chief Financial Officer Glen Nelson in an email.
The January notice to faculty and staff said the decision not to move forward with the project came after a review of feedback from the campus community, an assessment of the current financial needs of the 2nd Avenue Concept and reviewing the potential to provide a significant and immediate benefit to the student experience and the campus community.
Nelson said members of the campus community liked the general idea of developing the parcel, but expressed concerns ranging from adequate parking, lack of significant numbers of housing units for faculty and staff for rental as well as no units for home ownership and a lack of significant retail space and student amenities.
“The proposal of the development allotted only 10% of housing for below-market-rate options for the CSUMB community, with the rest of the housing proposed as market rate,” said Nelson.
In a Nov. 30 update about the project on its website, CSUMB said that campus planning and development and developer teams presented initial concepts in September for the 2nd Avenue Development project and continued to seek feedback from the public. The project was intended to further the academic mission of CSUMB and provide needed housing and services to the campus and the community.
The proposal called for multifamily rental housing with campus-serving amenities such as open space, innovation space, trail connections, community hubs, retail space, and a student-focused “campus corner,” according to the website.
It proposed 10% of the units — 120 to 170 units, depending on the ultimate concept — would be prioritized for the campus community and offered at approximately 20% below the market rate. The campus-designated units would increase the on-campus multifamily housing count from approximately 1,200 units currently in East Campus to between 1,320-1,370 units.
Adding units would allow CSUMB to offer housing to approximately 75% of the future staff and faculty population, 10% more than what is proposed in the Campus Master Plan. Another 10% of housing was intended to support an active senior community. Active seniors are envisioned to become a part of and support the campus by taking courses and enjoying existing amenities such as theater, conferences, speakers, and Otter Athletics and Monterey Bay Football Club matches.
But in reviewing the potential to provide a significant and immediate benefit to the student experience and the campus community, Nelson said the proposed 2nd avenue concept would bring minimal student amenities and take several years to materialize.
“Planned development within the city of Marina for 2023-2024, on the west side of 2nd Avenue, will bring retail, restaurants, and a recreation and aquatics center within walking distance for our students addressing the shortage of student amenities,” he said.
The development parcel for the project is a 72-acre site bordered by 2nd Avenue to the west, 8th Street to the north, 4th Avenue to the east and into a portion of unused space south of 5th Street.
Most of the site area has served the community in different capacities the past few years including to stage Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Cal Trans, and emergency vehicles and crews during local natural disasters such as the recent atmospheric rain storms, and as a transportation hub during the AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm golf tournament when it was used as a shuttle bus stop to move attendees to and from the golf tournament.
“The decision to not move forward with the development will allow the university to redirect staff time and resources to projects that will directly impact enrollments and the
student experience,” said Nelson. “These include investments of dollars and staff time to explore developing additional recreation spaces on campus, improving our on-campus housing
and dining experiences, increasing alternative transportation modalities, increasing student advising, improving processes to eliminate barriers for student success, and increased
partnering with our neighboring cities and local governments.”