UC Davis Pushes Back: We Are Well Positioned to Complete This Housing


The City of Davis, among others, is concerned that, while UC Davis has committed to building a reasonable amount of housing through the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), its track record from previous LRDPs has shown that it has not followed through on such commitments.

In her letter to the university, Attorney Whitney McDonald, representing the City of Davis, wrote that the LRDP commits to 9050 beds over the course of the LRDP, but does not provide any assurances, including an identifiable and enforceable implementation plan, “that this will actually occur.”

Mayor Brett Lee, in an interview with the Vanguard this week, expressed concerns about the ability of the university to meet their stated housing goals and to address the unmet student housing needs of this community.

“The university, in terms of what we’ve asked for, they’ve committed to the lion’s share of that,” he said.  “But the commitment is probably not in the form that we’re comfortable with, given the fact that previous MOUs, there have been goals… in many instances we ended up nowhere near the goals we have set.”

He said, “We need something a little more tangible for the nature of the agreement.”

UC Davis is now pushing back, with a letter dated July 27 to Mayor Brett Lee from Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff.

It states: “UC Davis is well positioned to complete this housing. Housing for 6,115 students is well underway and either in construction, final design, or poised for approval.”

They state: “We expect and are committing with this letter that these housing projects for 6,115 students will all be completed by 2023, with over 4,700 beds online by 2021.”

They continue: “To reach the 9,050 housing number, we are forecasting that the additional projects for 2,935 students would occur in construction phases beginning at different times between 2023 and 2028.”

In the letter, they claim that their campus planners “have identified site options” and tested site planning concepts “to verify basic project feasibility for the group of projects.

“For housing projects under the 2018 LRDP, we have identified no height limits and no density maximums. For each site, we will continue to test design options that could result in achieving even higher numbers of student housing within those future projects,” they write.

“We are continuing to work with the City of Davis on the entitlement and timing details for the Nishi housing project,” the letter adds, noting that the 2200 people to be housed adjacent to campus is not included in the 2018 LRDP.

The LRDP notes: “UC Davis is pursuing the most ambitious student housing construction initiative in its history – one that even exceeds the university’s potential enrollment growth.”

In a section provided to the city, the LRDP notes: “By 2023 UC Davis will add 6,115 new beds – 118% of potential enrollment growth. UC Davis will add an additional 2,935 beds by 2030 and so realize all 9,050 beds identified within the LRDP. Finally, the campus will continue to actively partner with the City to entitle the Nishi project which may accommodate an additional 2,000 student immediately adjacent to campus.”

They also include two attached charts:

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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6 thoughts on “UC Davis Pushes Back: We Are Well Positioned to Complete This Housing”

  1. Don Shor

    Dear UCD:

    We understand that you have plans for these sites and projects. The first phase (Committed Projects through 2023) is not really in question. It’s the second phase (Planned Projects through 2030) that we’d like to have a firmer timeline for. That’s about 1/3 of the overall commitment. UCD fell way short of previous commitments, so we’d like to have some benchmarks and a process for progress reports. Orchard Park and Solano Gateway seem especially important since that housing stock has been removed from the current market and they actually provided affordable housing for families.

    Also, when will you be ending the master leases? Those cause serious problems in the current rental market.

    Thanks for getting back to us….

    1. Howard P

      “figures don’t lie, but liars can figure”…

      If the master leases are considered in existing, that begs the question of what is “new” per the UCD charts.  Do the numbers include net new construction, including the elimination of ‘master-leased’ beds, or do they assume the master leases remain?

  2. Ken A

    The Orchard Park entry lists 200 units 1,200 beds or 6 beds per unit.  Any idea if they will be making families “double up” since not many (is there even one?) married grad students have 4 older/not in a crib kids to fill all 6 “beds” in a unit.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I think their language is poorly constructed: “The project includes land for 200 two-bedroom apartments for students with families and apartment buildings for about 1,200 graduate students.”

      I’m reading this as 200 two bedroom apartments for students with families AND in addition, apartment builds for 1200 graduate students. Not 200 units with 1200 beds in them.

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