Educational institutions, from community colleges to K-12 districts, are increasingly exploring housing development initiatives.
One such endeavor is by the San Diego Unified School District, which has allocated over $200 million from its recent bond measure to build housing, primarily for teachers. The district is partnering with private developers to maximize its available land resources.
A private developer has already constructed the “Livia” complex on San Diego Unified-owned land in Scripps Ranch, with the district set to earn at least $40 million from the joint occupancy deal over a 66-year lease. Livia includes 264 units, with 53 designated for low-income individuals, offering rents as low as $1,060. These units will be prioritized for low-income applicants, especially San Diego Unified employees. Additionally, the complex will feature a STEAM lab accessible to district students.
San Diego Unified has plans for four more potential housing locations, including its University Heights headquarters, properties in Old Town, and Linda Vista. The next project involves the vacant City Heights location of Central Elementary, which may include market-rate and affordable units, with a potential focus on district employees.
On the other hand, community colleges in the county embarked on housing projects in response to a law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom allocating funds for housing on campuses. However, recent changes in project funding have put these initiatives at risk. Originally, colleges expected grant funds from the general fund to cover a portion of the costs. But due to concerns about state revenue, colleges are now asked to borrow money through bond programs, which has caused stress among college officials.
They argue that this funding alteration jeopardizes affordable student housing projects, including those already under construction. The concern is that revenue from affordable units won’t be enough to support the revenue bonds they were expected to create, especially since colleges lack additional significant revenue sources like tuition to secure loans.