A pair of five-story student dormitory buildings has been proposed for 6.45 acres of vacant land at the northeast corner of Coffee Road and Stockdale Highway.
The proposal submitted for city review Tuesday would replace earlier plans for three two- or three-story office buildings at the site, which is located across Coffee from the Town & Country Village shopping center, where Trader Joe's is located.
Bakersfield Development Services Director Jacqui Kitchen said her staff is reviewing the proposal and that a public hearing on the matter would likely be scheduled soon.
“It’s too soon to tell whether this is the right fit or not” for the surrounding neighborhood, she said, adding that the land is currently zoned for commercial offices.
The plan calls for 660 beds spread among 180 residential units, with a computer lab, covered parking for bicycles and group study and gathering rooms. The residences would be occupied by students attending nearby Cal State Bakersfield.
The project's purpose, according to paperwork received by the city is "to serve the needs of CSUB students with the first off-campus, purpose-built student housing facility in Bakersfield that will be 0.3 miles from campus and to create a pedestrian-friendly facility to improve the carbon footprint and give students opportunity to live with peers and walk or ride bikes to campus."
A CSUB spokeswoman said the university had been unaware of the plan and was not involved with it. President Lynnette Zelezny followed up with an email stating CSUB encourages its students to live on campus.
“Research has shown that students who live on campus do better in the classroom, and on-campus living allows students to fully experience university life,” she wrote.
A site plan for the dormitories was submitted by Bakersfield's McIntosh & Associates on behalf of applicant Coleraine Capital Group, a real estate and investments company based in Monterey. Coleraine has developed student housing projects serving California State University campuses in Monterey, Sacramento, San Jose and Stanislaus. The project's architectural firm is Humphreys & Partners Architects LP, based in Dallas.
The property, owned by the local Giumarra family's company GC Investments, is currently in escrow.
Construction is underway immediately north of the site. A two-story office building is in the works, as is a hotel a little further to the north. Restaurants, a gas station and a convenience store recently opened on the same corner.
Homeowner Steven Streeks, who lives in the nearby Quailwood neighborhood, said his only worry regarding the project is the additional traffic it would bring. Already people drive too fast through the area, he said, to circumvent the busy intersection of Coffee and Stockdale.
"Honestly, the only thing I'd be worried about is the ton of more traffic that might not be the best drivers there," he said.
One of his neighbors, renter Julio Leon, said the intersection seems like a great location for student housing. There's very little crime in the area, he said, which would be beneficial for the students.
The only potential negative he foresees is the college parties.
"That's the bad side I could see," he said. "I don't know if they're going to behave well or not."