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March 12, 2007

Ranch View Terrace groundbreaking spurs new interest from prospective homebuyers

By Louise Donahue

Groundbreaking last week on the Ranch View Terrace project near the base of campus is prompting new interest in the homes from faculty and staff members.

Photo of groundbreaking

From left at the Ranch View Terrace groundbreaking: Faye Crosby, Academic Senate chair; Kitty Woldow, Staff Advisory Board chair; Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal, and Campus Provost David Kliger.

Photo: Matt Fitt
Read frequently asked questions about housing at UCSC

"Many of the Senate faculty on our waiting lists have come to our office since the groundbreaking's publicity to inquire about their ability to obtain financing for the project, and are very eager for delivery of the units," said assistant director for faculty and staff housing Steve Houser.

More than 200 people are on the waiting list for the new homes, including 31 people now living in campus housing," Houser said.

Phase One of the project allows for construction of 45 three- and four-bedroom homes.

Following site-preparation work, construction on the homes will begin this fall, with the first units likely to be available for occupancy in the fall of 2008. The formal groundbreaking ceremony took place March 5

"There is a pent-up demand for larger units on campus," Houser said, adding that the majority of UCSC's price-restricted inventory (106 of 132 units) are two-bedroom condominiums or townhomes.

A shift of some on-campus homeowners to Ranch View Terrace would create vacancies in other campus housing, a goal of the Ranch View project.

When completed, the first phase of Ranch View Terrace will increase the stock of for-sale housing on campus by more than 30 percent. UCSC now offers 143 units of for-sale housing. In addition, 51 units at Laureate Court, across High Street from campus, are rented to faculty and staff members. (See the housing web site for information and "virtual tours" of campus housing.)

"Ranch View Terrace is not only critical to our efforts to recruit and retain faculty and staff, it is responsive to community requests that we develop more housing on campus," said Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal.

"After 12 long years, those houses will be built," Blumenthal said at the March 9 Academic Senate meeting. "I look forward to some breathing room for faculty housing."

Also at the Senate meeting, Campus Provost David Kliger said he has asked Jean Marie Scott, associate vice chancellor of the Colleges and University Housing Services, to produce a Master Housing Plan by the end of June. The plan is to utilize the employee housing administrative proposal drawn up earlier by consultants. (See Currents story)

Kliger also said that existing campus housing vacated by people moving to Ranch View Terrace will be reindexed at 60 percent of market value. Forty percent of the profit would go to a subsidized home loan fund; 60 percent would go to future building projects.

The 16 three-bedroom units at Ranch View Terrace will range from approximately 1,750 to 1,900 square feet, and the 29 four-bedroom units from approximately 2,000 to 2,100 square feet. Prices range from $479,000 to $655,000, not including buyer-selected upgrades.

Those prices for units projected to be delivered in fall 2008 compare with a median sales price of $844,000 on the west side of Santa Cruz, based on sales between September 2006 and March 2007, according to the UCSC housing office. The median-priced home had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,563 square feet of space and was 46 years old.

Built in clusters of six to eight homes, Ranch View Terrace homes will face pedestrian pathways linking to common areas. "Comfortwise" standards for energy and water conservation will be incorporated into the construction, and buyers may include additional energy-efficient options such as photovoltaic solar panels.

As with other campus for-sale projects, employee purchasers will lease the land from the University of California, and lease provisions will ensure that the homes remain at below-market value over time.

The timing of the second phase of Ranch View Terrace, with an additional 39 homes, will depend on buyers' response to the first phase, Houser said. "If we have strong sales, the campus would likely opt to promptly proceed with Phase Two."

Detailed information on the process involved in purchasing a Ranch View Terrace home is available online.

Those who have questions after reading this document are encouraged to RSVP for one of three informational briefings held by the Faculty and Staff Housing Office by e-mailing or calling (831) 458-3506. The first two briefings will be from noon to 1 p.m. on April 9 and April 11 at the Women's Center; the third will be from noon to 1 p.m. in Bay Tree Conference Room D on April 13.


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