New Petaluma apartments open, but you can’t rent them
This month, a new 92-unit apartment complex opened in Petaluma, a city beset by an acute housing shortage. But those new Marina Crossing residential units are not on the market or available to the general public. The entire complex at the Petaluma Marina is owned by Sonoma State University in a unique deal that provides housing for staff of the Rohnert Park institution.
Interest in the complex is high — about 70 SSU employees are already on a short list and will be given move-in priority.
Neil Markley, associate vice president of administration and finance for SSU, said the slightly below market-rate to market-rate complex is available to the school’s full and part-time faculty and staff for a maximum stay up of three years.
“Marina Crossing gives us the opportunity to attract and retain the best employees,” he said. “The housing supply in Sonoma County has contracted and prices have risen. These 92 units give us a place to house employees in transit or people just moving to the area. We may also use Marina Crossing as short-term accommodations for job candidates who are doing interviews and guests of the university.”
The complex has studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-den, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units, with a mix of different units on each floor. The complex is pet-friendly — it allows a maximum of up to two pets and requires a pet deposit. Markley said SSU employees who sign a lease are welcome to have roommates.
Prices range from $1,774 a month for a 439-square-foot studio to $3,300 a month for a 1,239- to 1,273-square-foot three bedroom, two bath. Each unit comes fully equipped with full kitchens, and full-size appliances, including washers and dryers. Four of the units are furnished, with the expectation that they will be reserved for short-term visitors.
Marina Crossing’s amenities include a reserved parking spot, a wellness studio, access to the complex’s lounge, an outdoor communal space with a bocce court, dog run, and fire pits, and the choice of different paint palettes for units. The complex is a short walk from a one-mile marsh trail that links the Petaluma Marina to a two-mile circular loop through Shollenberger Park.
“Marina Crossing is also very close to public transportation. There’s a bus stop in front on Lakeville Highway,” Markley said. “The complex is about a mile from the Petaluma SMART train station. A resident can ride a bike to the station, take the train to Rohnert Park or Cotati, and then bike to SSU. The facilities have storage space for kayaks and bicycles…(and) four electric charging stations for EVs.”
Marina Crossing is also within walking distance of shops and restaurants on Lakeville Highway and a short drive from Petaluma’s Kaiser Permanente campus.
“In addition, the building has a number of sustainable features, including solar panels on the covered parking, drought-tolerant plants in the landscaping, high-efficiency appliances, and programmable thermostats,” Markley said. “Our plan (over time) is to raise rates below market increase so our rates will become even more affordable. There will start to be a big price difference between the rates here and the rest of Petaluma.”
Markley said the market rate increase has been about 10% per year. The consumer price index was 3.9% this year.
Markley added that SSU will have a lower cost of operating than the average landlord because public universities can issue tax-exempt financing at reasonable rates.