Now, Case said, the developer and the foundation are listening to the ministries, which hope to move into new quarters on the campus' western edge within the next 15 years. (However, as one campus minister, who asked not to be identified, said, "They weren't listening until we hired an attorney. Then, they paid attention.")
Case also represents SDSU's 18 fraternities, few of which are happy about the plan, old or new.
Case said the new plan calls for the construction of 21 fraternity houses in a "fraternity zone." Fraternities are now in five clusters near College Avenue and Montezuma Road. The new houses would line 55th Street on the western edge, not far from the ministries.
Case said the fraternities--like the ministries and sororities--own their buildings and do not believe fair market value will be enough to pay for elaborate new quarters. He said the alumni of the organizations, who control the property, also remain skeptical about square footage, fearing they may be shortchanged on land as well as money.
Kim Braun Padulo, SDSU Panhellenic adviser, said the 13 sororities are concerned that the new quarters, in an area called College Place (west of College Avenue, south of Montezuma Road), will mean a change but not an improvement.
"We have chapter houses that were built in the 1950s and house 40 women," Padulo said. "They're wonderful, gorgeous facilities, and they're all paid off. We're very concerned about parking. We don't like the idea of women having to walk from parking garages, great distances to their (sorority) houses. I see this as a lengthy, time-consuming process, and not one of the financial concerns has yet to be addressed."
If the fraternities, sororities and ministries can't pay for new places, who, then, will make up the difference?
As Case pointed out, the developer, McKellar, has to make money, otherwise the project is charity. Therefore, McKellar is more apt to offer bounteous square footage to retail areas in the plan--a shopping district as well as a large hotel--than to the Greeks, Case said. (Or, for that matter, to the Lutherans, Episcopalians or Methodists.)
The only possible source of profit, as he put it--and McKellar's Kennedy does not deny this--is in the retail phase.
"Land is at a real premium around here," Case said. "McKellar will give the non-revenue generators as little space as possible, simply because they have to."
Even so, Case doesn't believe the developer is out to make "a killing," as some skeptical parties insist. He believes they've been "fair and above board," with one exception. He does not feel that area business owners have been properly briefed or heard, and many could be uprooted as College Avenue is widened, and redevelopment, finally, starts to materialize.
City Councilwoman Judy McCarty, who represents the college district, is an enthusiastic backer of the plan. She resents the foes' notion that the developer's motives are mainly financial.
"Yes, there will be money to be made," she said. "But if money is not made--by someone, at least--then the project just won't happen. These are reputable people. They've never been in jail, as far as I know. They've been honest every step of the way."
When asked about the grim details of finance, Kennedy, the developer's spokesman, is optimistic--and vague.
"It's something we'll have to work on, but, in the end, everyone will be happy. Some of the fraternities and sororities have considerable equity but nowhere near the number of beds they need," Kennedy said, alluding to the need for more space. "We think, ultimately, they'll be happier."
Case said they better be, or they won't go along.
Brian Bennett, vice president and immediate past president of the College Area Community Council, said residents in the area are tired of "just going along."
"This sounds like a shot at university administration, but there has been in the last 20 years, and especially in the last 15, absolutely no sense of a coordinated plan for the campus or the area surrounding the campus," Bennett said. "The administration went from 26,000 to 36,000 students without providing anything resembling adequate parking or housing.
"At this point, only 7% of the students attending SDSU could find housing on campus, even if they wanted to."
Bennett said a sore spot is the administration's decision to build the Student Activity Center, which will showcase basketball games as well as rock concerts. The center, scheduled for construction on the site of the Aztec Bowl, is the administration's project, not the foundation's. Although, as part of the school's master plan, it has fostered its own share of controversy.
Bennett said that prior to planning the center, for which students are being taxed in the form of higher fees, community reaction to potential problems--parking, traffic, noise--was not sought. As a result, a group of irate homeowners has filed suit against the university, putting the project in limbo.