Armstrong hopes to have a developer build condo-style apartments near Yosemite Residence Halls. | Andrew Epperson/Mustang News

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and other administrators are developing a public-private partnership to build a workforce housing complex near Cal Poly’s Grand Avenue entrance.

The 10-15 acre piece of land near the northeast intersection of Grand Avenue and Slack Street is designated for employee housing in the university’s Master Plan update. According to the press release, this project could include up to 420 market-value units and would be targeted toward Cal Poly faculty and staff, along with qualified members of the San Luis Obispo community.

“We are eager to move forward with possible solutions to our urgent need for workforce housing,” Armstrong said. “We believe this concept can help the university recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff members while also easing impacts on the local housing market.”

Cal Poly hopes to rent agricultural land near the Yosemite Residence Halls to developers, who would then rent condo-style apartments to faculty, staff and other local employees. The land was gifted to Cal Poly by the Avila family in the 1990s.

“We’re looking for different sources of revenue,” Armstrong said. “We’ll generate income from the land lease. Each acre, to be negotiated, will be a certain amount of money either upfront or every year as long as the lease is going on, and it’s probably a 60-80 year lease.”

After Cal Poly administrators shared the idea with city and county officials earlier this week, many expressed support for the potential project, according to the press release.

“San Luis Obispo’s housing issue is complex and will take years to solve, but this project would make an immediate impact and provide much-needed housing for Cal Poly employees,” Vice Mayor Dan Carpenter said in a press release.

The proposed development is part of Cal Poly’s attempted solution to the community’s workforce housing shortage, according to senior vice president of administration and finance Cindy Villa.

The project hinges on multi-level approval from the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees and consultation responses from the campus, city and county, Armstrong said. He will present his proposal to the Board of Trustees in March at the earliest.

Armstrong hopes to have the final Master Plan approved by May 2017. Maps of the current plan are available at

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