Current residents must vacate by May and have the option to move to a complex nearby
Current Katella Grand residents must move by May 2018, following Chapman’s purchase of the 399-unit apartment complex for university housing.
Instead of having to find a new place to live, the residents have been offered an alternative: a twin apartment building across the street, which will open in February.
“(Developers) opened Katella Grand with the understanding that they would sell it to an apartment building company, and it was a little surprising to them that (a university) ended up being the leading interest in buying it,” said Chapman’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Harold Hewitt.
Katella Grand residents who want to renew or sign new leases can relocate to Parallel, the twin complex, by June 1, Hewitt said. Both buildings have the same developer, real-estate holding company UDR, but are owned by separate corporations.
Though it may have appeared easier for the university to purchase Parallel because it would have been unoccupied, it was not up for negotiations when Chapman looked at buying Katella Grand, Hewitt said.
Katella Grand residents were notified in a Nov. 6 email from the apartment’s management that Chapman was buying the complex, meaning that residents must vacate the building by May 2018.
Mia Villescas moved into a one-bedroom Katella Grand apartment with her fiance last December. She wasn’t surprised to see the email because she had heard rumors that the complex would be sold months prior, she said.
Villescas’s lease is up at the end of the year, she said, and she will move because she doesn’t like the atmosphere at Katella Grand.
“It definitely feels like living in a hotel. There are people constantly around,” Villescas said. “I just feel a little old to be living somewhere that is set up like this.”
Katella Grand’s management declined to comment on Chapman’s purchase of the apartment complex.
As of Dec. 2, the Katella Grand complex displayed a “leasing” sign pointing to the leasing office. Parallel complex displayed “soon leasing” signs outside the construction zone.
“The current owners are running a business, (whose) interests they must protect until the sale is final,” Sheri Ledbetter, Chapman’s director of media and public relations, wrote in an email to The Panther.
Student response to the possibility of living in Katella Grand has been mixed.
Sophomore psychology major and Sandhu Residence Center occupant Laura Chavez said she is hesitant to sign up for housing at the complex.
“The biggest thing that would keep the apartments from being my first choice would be that there will be a set list of rules,” Chavez said. “I could defy the whole idea of being independent.”
Chavez would opt to live in a house near Chapman, she said, but would consider Katella Grand residence as a second option.
Unlike Chavez, Sandhu resident and sophomore digital arts major Mika Henrickson said student housing is key to her Chapman experience and is looking forward to the opening of Katella Grand.
“My freshman year was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to live next door to the freshman class and I loved it. Now, living in Sandhu, I feel a sense of my freshman year rekindling but the new apartments will give upperclassmen a sense of off-campus housing,” Henrickson said. “We can get the same freshman-year energy with living close to our friends. These new apartments will become a huge hit due to the location and the Chapman spirit.”