Santa Clara University among county’s biggest residential landlords

Just down the peninsula from Stanford’s enormous real estate
empire, another university is  quietly expanding its own
footprint.

Recognizing both the value in owning Silicon Valley real estate
and the need for affordable housing for  faculty and students,
Santa Clara University has scooped up dozens of houses around
campus. The university has amassed a portfolio that lands it among
Santa Clara County’s top-10 owners of single-family homes — a
distinction it shares with Stanford University, SummerHill Homes
and PulteGroup.

SCU owned $1.51 billion in taxable property as of the 2018
fiscal year, including nearly $30 million in single-family homes
— or 44 homes, according to an analysis by a collaboration of
local and national media, including this news organization, of half
a million property records from the Santa Clara County Assessor’s
Office.

“It’s been expanding every year,” said Santa Clara real
estate agent Vinicius Brasil. “It just seems like it just gets
larger and larger.”

SCU ranks as the 10th-largest owner of single-family homes in
the county. The university’s landholdings also include $36
million in multi-family dwellings, $1.08 billion in academic,
commercial and other non-residential real estate, and $371 million
in equipment, machinery and other taxable property.

Santa
Clara University students walk on campus on Oct. 22, 2019. The
university has been buying up single-family homes near campus to
house faculty members. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

As do many universities around the Bay Area, Santa Clara
University — which had 5,520 undergraduate students as of the
fall of 2018 — struggles to house its faculty and staff in a
region where the cost to rent or buy a home has soared out of reach
of many.

“From considering building housing projects near transit to
offering assistance through our home ownership programs, we are
continuously focused on this issue as one of the main concerns of
the University,” Chris Shay, assistant vice president for
university operations, wrote in an email.

The single-family homes SCU owns are used for faculty, staff and
student housing, as well as university program space, Shay wrote.
The university offers 48 apartments and 41 single-family homes for
faculty members moving to the Bay Area to rent as temporary
housing, according to the SCU website.

SCU pumped up its real estate portfolio in a big way recently
with its purchase of several properties along Campbell Avenue in
San Jose, next door to the school’s campus. SCU has proposed
turning part of that land into as many as 290 affordable rental
units, most of which would be for the school’s faculty and staff.
SCU staff are working on their final project proposal now, which
San Jose officials are set to consider in November and
December.

SCU also bought a $25 million manufacturing building on Campbell
Avenue in 2015, which was leased by online retailer Zazzle until
the company moved its manufacturing efforts to Nevada. Warehouse,
storage and office space provider CustomSpace now leases the
building. SCU purchased the space as an income-producing
investment, rather than with immediate intentions to redevelop it
for university uses, the school’s vice president of finance and
administration, Michael Hindery, told the SCU newsletter in
2016.

Like Stanford University, which owns $19.7 billion in property
in Santa Clara County and has caused a stir in recent years by
buying up dozens of single-family homes in one Palo Alto
neighborhood, Santa Clara University likewise has an outsized
impact on its community — only on a smaller scale.

Santa Clara real estate agent Myron Von Raesfeld has sold more
than a dozen homes to the university since 1999. Every one was an
all-cash deal, and SCU was never outbid, he said.

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Von Raesfeld expects that over the next several decades, Santa
Clara University will scoop up more and more properties around
campus.

“If it’s something they really want,” he said,
“they’ll eventually get it.”

This series was produced by The Mercury News, East Bay
Times,  NBC Bay Area, KQED, Renaissance Journalism, Reveal from
The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Telemundo 48 Área de
la Bahía.

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Santa Clara University among county’s biggest residential landlords