Suzanne Brown, Simon Blattner, Stephen Beal, and Steve Oliver at groundbreaking for new student housing at California College of the Arts.

CCA breaks ground on new student housing in San Francisco

Located less than three blocks from campus, building will house approximately 220 students and feature ground-floor commercial space.

New student housing project

California College of the Arts (CCA) recently broke ground on a new student housing project at 75 Arkansas Street in San Francisco. Located just two blocks from CCA’s San Francisco campus, the project includes 30 units of student housing and 7,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Plans call for the facility to open in fall 2018.

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, winners of the 2017 National AIA Architecture Firm Award, designed the 48-foot high, 64,000 square foot building, which will accommodate approximately 220 beds on its top three floors. Each four or two-bedroom unit will have full bathrooms, study areas, a full kitchen, and a large living room. All rooms will have bay windows.

The project is being developed for the college by property owner and longtime CCA trustee Simon Blattner. Equity Community Builders is managing the project; Oliver and Company is the contractor.

“This is all about the students,” said Simon Blattner. “With housing prices in San Francisco continuing to rise and student housing in short supply, we need to find creative ways to alleviate this problem. I’m especially excited about the opportunity to do this project for CCA, an institution I've been supporting for more than 20 years.”

CCA President Stephen Beal commented, “CCA is training the next generation of creative leaders in art, architecture, design, and writing. Promising students come to the college from California, across the US, and from 54 countries. Providing them affordable housing is essential to our future plans in San Francisco. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Simon Blattner for helping the college take this important step forward.”

CCA Plans to Unify its Campuses in San Francisco by 2021-22

The development of student housing is a critical piece of CCA’s plans to unify its two campuses in San Francisco by 2021–22. The college recently selected Studio Gang Architects to create an expanded campus that will be a model of sustainable construction and practice and will unite the college’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty members, 300 staff members, and 34 academic programs on one site in San Francisco. Currently, CCA operates campuses in San Francisco and Oakland.

Pressing Need for Student Housing in San Francisco

According to the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC), San Francisco is home to 30 institutions of higher education that enroll more than 80,000 full-time students. However, only nine of these schools provide housing for their population, totaling less than 9,000 beds. Because of an estimated shortfall of 60,000 beds, most students coming to San Francisco to study must compete for existing housing stock.

In 2010, the SFHAC began addressing the problem by working with several of the educational institutions and then-Supervisor Bevan Dufty to produce San Francisco’s first student housing ordinance. The goal was to create an incentive for developers to build new housing for students by waiving the city’s inclusionary housing fee for “qualified student housing projects.”

In 2011, District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener helped pass a second piece of legislation that introduced definitions of student housing into the SF Planning Code. The Panoramic, which houses students from CCA and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, was the first project developed since the two ordinances were passed. Currently, San Francisco State University, UCSF, and Hastings are planning student housing projects to be completed in the near future.