With UCSB’s first day of classes more than a month away, the Isla Vista community is still quiet, but rental properties are working to fill units for the coming year.
A brand-new complex on Camino Del Sur, Campus 880, is targeting undergraduate and graduate students who have good grades and a passion for community service.
The 54-unit development was built, and is owned and operated by St. George and Associates, which manages more than 160 residences in Isla Vista.
Owner Ed St. George wants like-minded students — particularly engineering and science majors — to live together and make the housing complex a community of their own.
Del Playa is the place for parties, but he said he wants Campus 880 to be the place where students develop the next big idea.
“It’s a social experiment,” St. George said.
More than 80 percent of renters there are eligible for the 20 percent discount given for the “Ambassador Program” — having a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and committing to four community events per year.
Students started moving in Aug. 1, although there are still some workers on site getting all the units ready for the year.
Parking and courtyard areas are gated, with security cameras monitoring the entire property, and there is an on-site manager.
Each unit has one, two or three bedrooms and up to three people per room.
Prices are on the high end: For six students in a three-bedroom, two-bath place that’s 1,050 square feet, the price per person is $918 monthly for a 10-month lease or $734 with the discount.
There are parking spots — not enough for everyone to park a car — and four ride-share cars that residents can check out.
Every unit has bicycle parking and the complex has a secured bike cage, since that’s the primary form of transportation to campus, noted Justin Van Mullem, an architect for the project. The complex was designed to be easy to clean and maintain, with most structures made out of concrete, metal and stucco so they hold up better in the seaside environment, he said.
Having a big courtyard with hot tubs, patio furniture and an outdoor projection screen hopefully will add to the feeling of community, he said.
“We want to be the incubator for the next great idea; there are so many smart people in Isla Vista,” Van Mullem said.
The project isn’t LEED certified, but uses low-flow toilets, LED lighting and has flat roofs for the possibility of adding solar panels in the future.
St. George has worked in Isla Vista for 30 years, but recently returned after living in Italy for three years and felt the community was “hurting."
He wanted to create a housing project that had a community-service component, and having 200 people committed to giving back within the square-mile area could really make a difference, he said.
“It’s the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn," he said. "If you want to party, we have properties on Del Playa, but if you want to come here, you’ll meet business partners and future friends for life.”
His company is also finishing up construction plans for a new YMCA Teen Center to replace the structure next to Estero Park, across the street from Campus 880. It will be built for free, as his way of giving back, he said.
The YMCA is valuable because there isn’t much to do for the children growing up in Isla Vista, he said.
“All my investments are here and the community has been good to me over the years.”
Thousands of UCSB students live in Isla Vista and the university was just named the No. 2 party school in the country.