Last year in November, Sonoma State University announced the approval from the California State University Board of Trustees to purchase an apartment complex in Petaluma. The apartment complex is expected to house Sonoma State faculty and staff at special-priced rent rates.
On March 29, an email was sent out to Sonoma State faculty and staff about details of the complex. The modern-living space offers studios all the way up to three-bedroom apartments, with below-market monthly rent rates, affordable security deposits, and low move-in costs. The special rent pricing for employees includes: studios at $1,774/month; 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom at $2,300/month; 1 bedroom, den and 1 bath at $2,500/month; 2 bedroom, 2 bath at $2,600/month; and a 3 bedroom, 2 bath at $3,300/month.
According to the email, the community amenities include a fitness room, clubhouse, bike and kayak storage, parcel lockers, covered parking, electric car-charging stations, an outdoor lounge area with a fire pit, barbecue grills and a bocce ball court. The apartments are pet-friendly with amenities for your cat and dog including a nearby pet park.
Paul Gullixson, Sonoma State’s spokesperson, said that there is currently no occupation in the new apartment complex. Sonoma State just closed in on the building in mid-March, so there was a few final touches to the building that had to be made before open houses can begin.
On April 5 and 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be open houses for faculty and staff to see what the space has to offer, walk around the property, and see what the apartment layouts look like.
“The next step is to start signing people up for units and getting them committed,” said Gullixson. “We’re hoping to get people moving in as soon as April, we have people on a waiting list and we’re sending them [information] but this is their first chance to see it.”
Although there currently are not plans to create more faculty and staff housing, Sonoma State can expect to see more student housing plans.
“Study shows there was a big demand for workforce housing on or near campus,” said Gullixson. “This will meet a lot of people’s needs. It’s a big project, 90 units, so let’s see how this one goes first -- but our next big project is focusing on building more student housing on campus. Right now we have enough housing to meet the needs to house 30 percent of our students, and we want to bring that up to 50 percent.”
In 2017, many of Sonoma State’s faculty, including President Judy Sakaki, lost their homes to the Sonoma County wildfires. Creating more housing gives staff more opportunities, especially since there is a lack of housing in Sonoma County post-wildfires. Many of the faculty and staff appreciate the university’s quick response to the housing need.
“People are pretty positive about it and they’re appreciative that the university is responding to the need,” Gullixson said. “It would be cheaper in the long run to buy the complex and start having people move in immediately, rather than spending three years building the complex from scratch. They’re doing their best to try to keep the rent as low as possible and the market right now is tough, but most understand it’s more cost effective to do it this way.”