cal poly news

Innovating Community

By Becky Zieber

Photo by Blake Andrews
Students settling into one of the new apartments in the downtown Lofts.

This fall the Cal Poly Lofts will become the first off-campus student housing venture in the university’s history. The project’s convenient downtown San Luis Obispo location, just across from the SLO HotHouse at the corner of Chorro and Monterey streets, allows the Lofts to serve as a bridge between the school and the community — as well as a bustling living space for students focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Cal Poly Lofts are aimed at entrepreneurial and business-minded students. To be eligible to live in the Lofts, students must be active with the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), have participated in a Cal Poly entrepreneurial campus living program called iCommunity, or have been part of another Learn by Doing project on campus. Approximately 200 students completed interest forms to live in the Lofts, and after an extensive interview process, 35 students were selected to fill 31 apartments for the 2016-17 academic year.

Located in the historic Blackstone-Sauer Building near Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the Lofts feature modern design that complements the original architecture of the building: exposed brick and beams, a distinctive antique fire escape, and brick ovens from the bakery that originally occupied the street level. This blend of old and new creates an ideal location where students can focus on their own unique creations and business ideas.

The Lofts offer affordable, fully furnished studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and include on-site laundry, kitchenettes and air conditioning. A private courtyard and community spaces throughout the building give students room to study, work and collaborate. A live-in staff member will help cultivate the creative atmosphere and provide leadership education.

“The student entrepreneurs living in this beautifully renovated historic building will be thoughtfully engaged with each other and with business leaders to explore ideas and launch successful ventures,” said Jo Campbell, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and executive director of University Housing. “We’re very excited to be a part of this Learn by Doing experience.”

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