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Chapman University buys another Anaheim apartment building making room for 800 students

Chapman University is expanding its student housing repository with another huge investment piece: A $160 million apartment building in Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle that will add more than 800 beds to its offerings.

The university closed escrow on the five-story apartment building on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa said. The new residence hall will be called Chapman Court.

University officials haven’t set a date for students to move in and don’t yet have a plan for transitioning current residents out of the building, Struppa said. But he noted one will likely be formulated early next year.

The complex on State College Boulevard – currently the Anavia Apartments – consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and has amenities such as a fitness center, pool and clubhouse. Each unit also has its own washer and dryer and covered parking is available for residents.

Located just blocks from its Chapman Grand residence hall, which was a commercial build complex purchased by the school in 2017, the added units in the new complex will further the university’s goal to house at least 50% of undergrad students in campus housing.

Because freshman are urged to live on the university’s Old Towne Orange campus, the Anaheim residence hall will be geared toward sophomores, juniors or seniors, Struppa said.

Over the past several years, Chapman has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to expand its housing inventory, in part to quell concerns by Orange residents who had complained of large numbers of students renting in their neighborhoods and having loud parties and being unruly.

Amid growing criticism in the community of Chapman’s growth, Struppa, who became president of the university in 2016, made the commitment to get more students into campus-controlled housing.

The push to invest in more housing units in recent years has been, in part, for Struppa “to honor what I promised,” he said, but also because it’s beneficial to student learning.

“We also know that students in residence halls tend to be performing better than students that are not in residence halls,” he said. “And if you think about it, that’s not a very surprising because you really don’t have any of the problems that you have when you live on your own. You don’t have a landlord that decides to change the price. It’s very protected.”

Once Chapman Court starts taking in students, the school will have added more than 2,000 beds in about five years. Chapman Grand, which opened to students in fall 2018, has the capacity to house up to 900 students, and The K residence hall, unveiled in 2019, added another 400 beds.

Sandy Quinn, president of the Old Towne Preservation Association, called the university’s purchase a “win/win for everyone — the students, the university and the community, particularly Old Towne where so many Chapman students rent houses because campus housing is full.”

“OTPA is grateful that the university continues to increase the availability of student housing,” he said, “since it enhances the college experience by providing more social contact, a better study environment, and safer living conditions.”

The school issued 30-year bonds to purchased the Anavia apartment building, Struppa said. When Chapman officials decided to borrow the funds, they were considering whether to use the money to buy an apartment building or construct a new residence hall. The lot adjacent to Panther Village that Chapman previously purchased from the City of Orange was floated as a possible location for a new building, and blueprints were even created for a new campus housing project there, Struppa said.

But school leaders decided to go with the Anaheim building “for several reasons,” he said. “One is that we were going to be able to have earlier occupancy. The second is that it would allow us to immediately invest the money that we borrowed in something that the university needs.”

The area near Panther Village may still be used for a future residence hall, he said.

Chapman has a shuttle system between its clusters of housing in Anaheim and the Orange campus.

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