University development underway near campus

The University District construction development is underway near the Sonoma State University campus, with three of 12 new neighborhoods to be completed later this year.

In 2006, Brookfield Residential first proposed their idea for a 300-acre University District, which includes a variety of housing options and two new parks surrounding a Commercial Center with restaurants, shops and a hotel in Rohnert Park.

However, the 10-15 year plan was halted due to a shift in market trends and the recession hitting.

In October 2013, Kevin Pohlson, vice president for land and planning with Brookfield Residential’s Northern California office in Danville, presented the updated ideas for the University District development to the Rohnert Park City Council.

In April 2014, the plan was officially approved and construction began just this past week across from the Green Music Center.

Some of the buildings will be located in the area between the Green Music Center and J Section residential area, but approximately 90 percent of the development will be just north of the music center.

“The University District Specific Plan is comprised of 1645 units including residential, commercial and affordable housing units,” said Marilyn Ponton, development services director for the City of Rohnert Park. “There will be two parks within Brookfield’s portion of the area, Twin Creeks Park and Oak Grove Park.”

“[The university] expects the homes, apartments and commercial areas will offer opportunities for our students, faculty and staff,” said Susan Kashack, chief communications officer. “The walking and bicycle trails that are planned will further add a connectedness, expanding living and recreational areas to those campus community members who may live there.”

Students seem to have taken interest in the University District project and the future developments.

“This is actually fantastic,” said Dylan Gorenberg, a sophomore music and engineering major. “It’s brought up all the time at the Green Music Center with music majors because the center is pretty secluded from the rest of the campus. We always said that if there were a place to get food or hang out near the Green Music Center it would make our lives easier and better.”

Students have had primarily positive reaction to the development of the University District.

“I think the University District will really benefit the school because it will be a place where students can gather and connect without having to go too far off campus,” said Sarah Padilla, sophomore communication and media studies major. “It will bring a sense of community to SSU.”

For more information on the new developments, visit liveuniversitydistrict.org.