Student Housing Development Planned on Olive Drive


Olive-DriveHighBridge Properties, a real estate investment and development firm focused on multifamily and student-housing properties in markets nationwide, announced today that it has acquired a five-acre infill site in Davis, Calif., that it intends to develop as rental housing for students at the nearby University of California, Davis.

The underutilized site, which consists of 11 contiguous parcels, includes some of the last undeveloped land within Davis’s city limits. It is located along Olive Drive, near the intersection of Richards Boulevard and within walking distance of both the UC Davis campus and the downtown business district.

The site is largely vacant land, but does include seven single-family houses and three uninhabitable cottages, all of which were built in the 1940s and 1950s. It was long owned by the Callori family, whose ancestor, Giuseppe “Joseph” Callori, emigrated from Italy and settled in Davis in the early 1900s.

The transaction was brokered by Sunny Gill of Habitat Investment Advisors, a Sacramento based multifamily property brokerage and advisory services firm.

“Sunny provided us with invaluable guidance throughout the entire process,” said Paul Gradeff, managing director of HighBridge Properties. “His knowledge of and insight into the local market helped solidify our commitment to invest our time and resources in the Davis area.”

In developing a student housing community on the acquired parcels, HighBridge will bring much-needed and high-quality rental housing near the downtown core of Davis. Preliminary plans call for the construction of a mix of three- and five-story residential buildings with 120 to 140 student-purpose-built rental apartment units. The precise number of apartment units is yet to be determined.

HighBridge believes that its project concept is closely aligned with the City of Davis’s objectives of bringing residents closer to the downtown district as well as promoting sustainable development and responsible land usage. In developing the property, the firm intends to achieve the following:

  • Address the growing demand for safe, modern and amenity-rich rental housing for students of UC-Davis, which currently has an enrollment of just over 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Foster greater pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation usage, thereby decreasing reliance on automobiles and reducing traffic congestion and air pollution;
  • Redevelop an underutilized property to benefit the community as a whole; and
  • Increase revenue for downtown businesses.

The acquisition of the Olive Drive site is the second property investment that HighBridge has made in Davis. In 2011, the firm acquired The Grove, an 80-unit rental apartment community that it subsequently renovated and currently owns and operates.

“We remain committed to developing and operating properties in Davis that not just address the pent-up demand for quality housing here, but also are consistent with the community’s desires for sustainability and walkability,” said Gradeff. “We are looking forward to working with the community as we proceed with this unique opportunity to build off-campus student housing so close to both the UC-Davis campus and downtown.”

As part of its commitment to responsible development and the Davis community, HighBridge will be working closely with area residents and city officials in the weeks and months ahead to elicit and incorporate the community’s input while the project is in the conceptual phase and requisite development approvals are obtained.

(This article was printed from a press release from HighBridge Properties).


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27 thoughts on “Student Housing Development Planned on Olive Drive”

      1. Alan Miller

        This is great news.

        A bit simplistic a response, eh Mr. Shor?

        The Devil is in the details, and since there are no details, we don’t know if there is a Devil.  There are tremendous transportation challenges for this site, and opportunities.  We do not yet know if the developer has intentions to invest in meaningful mitigation infrastructure, or if they will just use big words that attempt to meet technical “requirements”.

        I will give the developers credit for already reaching out to our neighborhood as a whole (Old East).  Unlike “some people” who had their own idea of what “reached out” means.

        1. Don Shor

          It’s great news that someone is interested in developing the property and building rental housing somewhere within the city limits of Davis. I don’t assume it’s going to be a cakewalk.

    1. Alan Miller

      How many stories high, and will the Old North Davis residents allow it?

      I think he means Old East, too.  The article says 3-5.  Despite Frank Lee’s assertion that Old East is Almighty, we actually don’t have the power to “allow”.  We may or may not object, depending on the details.  For me, that would depend on two things:  1)  What is intentioned closest to the Neighborhood and, most important to the City as a whole, 2)  What transportation mitigation infrastructure is the developer intending?

      This will be an interesting play out.  I am not opposed to a development there as such, however, this site is a key piece of the transportation puzzle for alternative transportation.  I have been trying for 15 years to get the City to buy this site for a parking structure for the train depot, to no avail due to funding and possibly lack of understanding of the site utility.

      Olive Drive residents will need contact.  They may seem dormant, until something like this comes up.

      1. Jim Frame

        I think it’s nice that the developers contacted the Old East folks, but I really can’t see that the project would affect Old East any more than the rest of the city.  The railroad pretty much isolates Old East from Olive Drive — despite the physical proximity — especially since UPRR built its shiny (if very, very ugly) fence.  The railroad is such a dominant immediate neighbor from the visual, aural, and air quality perspectives that there isn’t much that could be done on the Calori site that would outshine its impact.

      2. hpierce

        I was hesitating to mention this, but Alan has weighed in, but didn’t mention it… a key component is ped/bike/MV connections to the north… bike/ped are the huge ones… crossing the UP R/W, other than Richards, is a significant issue…

        1. Jim Frame

          crossing the UP R/W, other than Richards, is a significant issue

          Since UP has foreclosed on the possibility of an at-grade crossing — with good reason — I’m having a hard time envisioning an over- or  under-crossing that would be feasible anywhere near the Calori property due to space and cost limitations.  Are you seeing a solution that I’m overlooking?

        2. Jim Frame

          Jim, the report atthis LINK may be useful.


          That report, published in 2008, mostly describes the prevalence of and danger associated with illegal crossings. It describes an over- or under-crossing as the preferred solution from a safety standpoint, but doesn’t address any specific proposals for same and notes the high cost of this approach.  The fence has substantially eliminated all the illegal crossings in the Olive  area, so much of the 2008 report is now moot.

          My question remains:  is there a feasible design for a safe crossing in that area lurking out there? I’m not seeing one, but then I’m neither a planner nor an engineer.

        3. Matt Williams

          Jim, I recently pulled down from the Internet (but now can not find the link) the City documentation of the Project Summary of:

          — the joint submission (by the City, DJUSD, UPRR, Capitol Corridor, UCD and the California Public Utilities Commission)

          — to SACOG’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding Program of Project Number 07-12-07 “Olive Drive Bike/Ped Undercrossing of UPRR”

          — under the funding auspices of the Safe Routes to Schools grant program.

          I have sent the pdf document file to Don Shor who will put it up on his document library and provide us with a link so you can read it in its entirety.

          SACOG has rearranged its website, so their documentation of Project Number 07-12-07 is no longer active.

        4. Jim Frame

          Jim, here’s the link to the City’s documentation of SACOG Project 07-12-07:

          Wow, that’s a lot of tunnel, going under 2 sets of rails and a chunk of depot garden.

          I’m a little skeptical about the daylight distances shown on the diagram; it scales about 150 feet on each end from the rails.  At both the Richards Boulevard and Davis Urban Greenway undercrossings, daylight distances are more like 300 feet.  That would put the daylight point pretty close to Olive Drive on the south (doable), and almost all the way to 3rd Street on the north (not so doable).  Still, I’m all ears.

  1. Biddlin

    “This article was printed from a press release from HighBridge Properties”

    No kidding.  Still, perhaps a stumble in the right direction. For some reason, what I’m inferring is that this high quality, amenity rich housing is for the foreign students paying big dollars and California kids can go whistle for a decent place to live near campus.

  2. CalAg

    Nishi + Embassy Suites + Callori + buildout of South Davis (already entitled + infill) + UCD enrollment increases + City of Davis economic development + redevelopment of West Olive Drive

    All of this impacts the Richards corridor.

    The Richards tunnel needs to be replaced with adequate infrastructure that serves the needs of the community and accommodates all this growth.

    1. Jim Frame

      The Richards tunnel needs to be replaced with adequate infrastructure that serves the needs of the community and accommodates all this growth.

      Or not.  I’m in the “or not” camp.

      1. hpierce

        Somewhat agree with Jim, but think (as words have meaning) we perhaps should rename the Richards’ tunnel, the Richards’ funnel… [BTW, the structure is properly known as an “overhead”]

  3. Eileen Samitz

    I posted this on today’s Vanguard article on the Sterling Apartments project proposed and I have the same opinion on this project. Plus I agree that this would just create more traffic trying to get through Richard’s Blvd., particularly with Embassy Suites and if Nishi Gateway were to be approved.

    If this project was approved as well as the Sterling project and Hishi Gateway this just continues to encourage UCD to continue to defer their housing needs on our community. UCD has not even built what they promised the City since the 1989 MOU with the City of 25% of their student population and 35% of new students. The 2002 UC Housing for the 21st Century document stated that UCD was to have at least 38% on-campus student housing with a goal of 40% by 2012. The University needs to be called on this since it is an integrity issue at this point.

    UCD is simply going to continue this opportunism unless the community pushes back. Their proposal to “explore master leases” for rental housing in Davis even more evidence of their opportunism plans.

    UCD is failing their students and our community by not stepping up and building sufficient on-campus housing for their own students, particularly since they want to accelerate their student population growth. They have 5,000 acres to do it on and folks should please see the UCD LRDP website and take the survey to give your input at

    Also, if you are concerned about this issue please join our group Citizens for Responsible Planning at

    Also, I have written two op-eds on this subject that were published here on the Vanguard:

    UCD needs to build more housing, NOW  Davis Vanguard Oct. 25, 2015NKS:

    Over-densification is not the answer Davis Vanguard Dec. 27, 2015

    To email the City Council and Staff
    City Council email addresses:
    Mayor Dan Wolk =
    Mayor Pro tem Robb Davis =
    Council member Lucas Frerichs  =
    Council Member Rochelle Swanson =
    Council member Brett Lee =
    Please also send your email to:
    City Staff:
    Assistant City Manager and Community Development and Sustainability Director =
    Mike Webb =

    To Email UCD and their UCD LRDP plan which needs to build the on-campus student housing that UCD has stated they would in the 1989 MOU with the City of Davis and the 2002 UC document “UC Housing for the 21st Century” please send your email to:

    UCD administration and UCD LRDP Update website:
    The web address for the UCD LRDP update is: (Note: see the UCD LRDP proposed UCD map and fill in the survey, let UCD know they need to provide the needed on-campus student housing now.)
    UC President Janet Napolitano and
    Chancellor Katehi
    UC Regents

    AND your State Government representatives due to UCD wanting more State funding for UC which has NOT been building the PROMISED on-campus student housing:
    Gov. Jerry Brown   http://gov.cagov/gov39mail/mail.php
    Rep. John Garamendi
    Sen. Lois Wolk
    Assemblyman Bill Dodd

  4. Alan Miller

    Good job reaching out the neighborhoods (unlike SOME developers #ahem#); and good job opening up the tunnel idea again. I have some design ideas for this tunnel, which is a major hurdle both in design and cost.


    I wonder if, like Tim Ruff at Nishi, who is paying for the undercrossing there and the bike path undercrossing for the Arboretum, if the developers are proposing to pay for all or part of the Hickorey to “I” Street tunnel as mitigation, or if they want to the City to do it.


    As well, the tunnel does nothing to mitigate the cars going in and out to Richards/Olive, the ONLY auto exit, already poorly flowing, with Nishi and the Conference Center about to impact as well. Richards/Olive may do about as well if we just dropped a giant block of cement in the intersection.


    Stay tuned!

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