UCSC expanding university housing with purchase of adjoining apartment complex

Purchase of Laureate Court Apartments would provide housing for faculty and staff

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is planning to add 64 units to its housing inventory this summer with the anticipated purchase of an apartment complex that is adjacent to the campus's main entrance. UCSC's planned purchase of the Laureate Court Apartments, which are located on the southern corner of the intersection of Bay and High Streets, is expected to be completed sometime in July.

The university plans to make the apartments part of its faculty and staff housing program. All of the complex's current tenants will be offered six-month extensions to their current lease agreements as part of a transition plan, said Jean Marie Scott, associate vice chancellor for colleges, housing, dining and child care services at UCSC. Approximately 20 of the 64 one- and two-bedroom units are currently occupied by UCSC faculty, staff, or students.

UCSC's purchase of the property has not been finalized, but the campus and the complex's current owners (Laureate Court Partners) have signed a letter of intent that clears the way for a formal agreement and eventual consideration of the purchase by UC Regents, Scott said.

UCSC's interest in the property stemmed from several factors, including the proximity of the units to the campus. "Obviously, having university housing that is located across the street from the campus entrance makes good planning sense," Scott said. "In particular, we believe that the location of the property will enable the faculty and staff who will live there to have easy access to the campus and reduce vehicular trips and parking impacts."

In a related action, the campus on Wednesday informed tenants of the on-campus Hagar Court Apartments complex that those 50 units will be converted into for-sale condominiums. "These two actions were planned together and work well together," Scott said. "We have a critical need to provide additional for-sale housing to the faculty and staff who are already here and to those we will be recruiting in the future. At the same time, the acquisition of the Laureate Court Apartments will help us accommodate our current tenants in Hagar Court who are eligible to continue to rent university housing."

The two-bedroom Hagar Court apartments are currently rented to faculty. According to the timetable for the complex's condominium conversion, renovations will begin this September on 22 of the 50 units; the sale of those units to university employees is expected to begin in December. Renovations on the remaining 28 apartments are scheduled to begin next July, with those units being sold by fall 2003.

The policies that will govern the rental of the Laureate Court apartments and the sale of the Hagar Court condominiums are currently being developed by the Campus Welfare Committee and will be submitted as recommendations for approval to Campus Provost John Simpson. The Campus Welfare Committee is made up of administrators, senate members, staff members, and students.

The university has concluded that the two projects, which have been planned together, will not financially impact local jurisdictions. "The current owners of Laureate Court have been paying the County of Santa Cruz $54,000 annually in property taxes, a payment that the university will be exempt from," Scott said. "But, when the Hagar Court units are sold within two years, the buyers will be required to pay property taxes. We estimate that the county will actually realize an overall increase in property tax revenues related to these two projects."

"The university will work with the city to integrate all applicable policies as defined by city ordinances that apply to the property," Scott added.


Editor's Notes:

Associate Vice Chancellor Scott is available to be interviewed about either or both of these two actions. To schedule an interview, please call Jim Burns in UCSC's Public Information Office (459-2495)