By Elizabeth Casillas, Sept. 21, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona plans to move forward with the Lanterman project in partnership with Edgewood Realty Partners and Greystar, according to an Aug. 26 statement by University President Soraya Coley. This is the most recent development in a six-year effort to transform the 300-acre Lanterman Development Center into a sustainable “live, learn, work and play” community.

The announcement follows the withdrawal of a previous developer, and it serves as the next step in Cal Poly Pomona’s goal of creating a new social spot near campus.

Although no plans are finalized, Anthony Orlando, assistant professor for the Department of Finance, Real Estate and Law, explained the university and master developers are working jointly to create a space where students can interact and grow with each other.

“What we’re hoping is that it will give Cal Poly a thriving area near campus that it’s never had, that students will be able to go there after school,” said Orlando. “We’re hoping the flow of traffic, of bikes and cars and people, will happen every day and this little downtown area will become an area where students can hang out.”

Aerial view of the Lanterman Development Center acquired by the university in 2015. (Courtesy of Cynthia Peters)

ASI President Prabhat Jammalamadaka stressed that apart from being a place for entertainment, the future of the Lanterman Development Center is also an opportunity to provide students with hands-on learning experiences through internships and employment.

The master development team is projected to bring with them an array of entrepreneurs and other firms who will be behind these “learn by doing” openings for students, one of the reasons they were chosen, according to Orlando.

Four proposals were presented to Cal Poly Pomona, and the university opted for Edgewood Realty Partners and Greystar because of their appreciation for the university’s mission as well as their focus on community values.

Cal Poly Pomona is not investing in the land. Instead, the two developers will rent the land from the university for a yet to be determined number of years to build and maintain it in way which coincides with the campus’ goals for students and the surrounding community.

“We needed a development team who understood all of our stakeholders and understood the communities around us, Pomona, Diamond Bar and Walnut, and what they would want to see out of the site,” said Orlando. “We wanted to make sure that we were picking a partner who would collaborate with us throughout the way.”

Cal Poly Pomona originally partnered with the development firm FivePoint in 2018, but after personnel changes, FivePoint withdrew from the agreement.

Edgewood Realty Partners and Greystar have both worked with the California State University before and have a record of efficient collaboration and transparency in previous projects, explained Frances Teves, assistant vice president at the Office of Government and External Affairs.

Edgewood, founded by Pete Kutzer and Joseph P. McNulty, is headquartered in South Pasadena, where it focuses on creative designs and collaboration with an emphasis on the reuse of historic resources. Greystar is a real estate company based in Charleston, South Carolina, which focuses on investment management and development of rental properties.

“The opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the future success of California’s students pursuing a polytechnic education – and therefore the future of California itself – is irresistible,” stated Kutzer in an Aug. 27 press release. “To do so on a site with such historic significance, and with a tradition of agricultural innovation as well as raw, natural beauty, is perhaps unprecedented.”

Lanterman mansion, pictured above, is one of the site’s most historic buildings. (Courtesy of Cynthia Peters)

Located a short walk away from Cal Poly Pomona, the Lanterman Development Center, formerly known as the Pacific Colony facility, was originally built in 1927 to house people with developmental disabilities.

People residing within the walls were treated as inmates, and even though there were recreational opportunities available to them through playgrounds, sport courts and a carousel, allegations of abuse still ran rampant.

It was not until 1953 that the facility was rebranded the Pacific State Hospital and the term “patients” started to be used.

“It was essentially kind of a hospital for people with developmental disabilities,” explained John Lloyd, professor in the Department of History. “At its time, it was considered cutting edge in terms of treatment of people with developmental disabilities, but it also suffered over the years from allegations of underfunding and abuse, and that’s part of what led to the closing of the Lanterman center. Closing was also in response to a growing movement that sought to enable people with disabilities to make decisions about their own life.”

When the center closed in 2014, jurisdiction was transferred over to the CSU. From there, Cal Poly Pomona began conducting feasibility studies: one by the Urban Land Institute and another by the architecture firm HOK.

Cal Poly Pomona expects to execute an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Edgewood and Greystar by the end of December 2021, and between January 2022 and March 2023, the university hopes to work with the master developer to prepare a development plan and guidelines for completion. From April 2023 to June 2024, the team hopes to begin preparation of the environmental impact report and transaction documents.

The campus community can visit the Lanterman project website for updates and current information on the ongoing timeline.

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