West Village Expansion to Start Construction

Artist’s rendering of planned new student housing at UC Davis West Village. Construction is expected to begin in December 2018 with the first apartments available in fall 2020. The completed project will have space for about 3,300 students.

By Andy Fell

Construction of the West Village Expansion student housing project at the University of California, Davis, is set to begin before the winter holiday, with a formal groundbreaking ceremony to come in early 2019.

“This project is part of the significant commitment we’ve made to our students and to the community to provide on-campus housing for 100 percent of any growth in new student enrollment,” said UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. “I’m thrilled we can move forward in the new year.”

UC Davis secured financing for the project through a bond sale that closed Dec. 13. The tax-exempt bonds are financing the full $575 million of project costs, which is the largest-ever bond issue for a single project in the country.

The development will add approximately 3,300 beds, primarily for transfer students and continuing undergraduates. The first 1,000 beds should be ready for fall 2020, with the rest available in fall 2021.

“The successful sale of tax-exempt bonds is an exciting milestone and represents a vote of confidence by the financial markets for this ambitious student housing project,” said Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor for finance, operations and administration.

The new complex will comprise nine four-story apartment buildings along with indoor and outdoor community space and recreational fields, occupying 34 acres. A 10,000-square-foot community building will house a fitness center, multipurpose room and student support services.

The development project was approved by the UC Regents in July and is included in UC Davis’ new Long Range Development Plan, which projects adding 9,050 beds of on-campus housing.

“Increasing our on-campus housing inventory for our students has been a goal for us for many years. Moving this project into construction is an important step forward,” said Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Davis.

The development will be constructed through a public-private partnership between UC Davis, Collegiate Housing Foundation (a 501c3 nonprofit) and University Student Living of New Jersey.

When construction is complete, the apartment complex will be operated by Collegiate Housing Foundation, which will hold the ground lease from the University of California. UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services will provide on-site program and residence support services and be responsible for leasing and marketing activities.

The first phases of apartments at West Village opened from 2011 to 2013. In fall 2018, the existing complex had capacity for 2,261 students.

Andy Fell is with the UC Davis News Service

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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    1. Howard P

      Craig…only 98% sure, but this was included in an older LRDP doc, and EIR… I remember checking the maps for this ~ 5 years ago, and discussing it, as a City rep, with UCD folk well before I retired from Davis, nearly 9-10 years ago (when discussions took place… only ~7 years ago when I retired) there is a funny story related to that, that I’ll save for another time… and maybe another place… City won that argument, w/o atty’s…

      Am highly convinced that the current project is not subject to the current LRDP snafu… unless they have material changes (doesn’t look like there are, based on that earlier review)… if they sought direct access to Russell (doesn’t appear they are) that could trigger more EIR “stuff”… this sure appears to be fulfillment of the earlier LRDP/EIR, so am thinking “no worries, mate”…

      Oh, and after the new rules take effect (and I support them) for posting, likely would have to channel stuff via David… too much of my personal info is on the web, for many reasons…

      1. David Greenwald

        I am a bit confused on this myself – it says – “The development project was approved by the UC Regents in July and is included in UC Davis’ new Long Range Development Plan, which projects adding 9,050 beds of on-campus housing.”. I have an email into the university for clarification.

        1. Howard P

          Again,only 95-98% sure… past decisions are brought forward to new docs… there are differences between adopting a GP (LRDP) years ago, and making new funding and approval decisions… I believe that the current proposal/action, absent any material changes from previous docs is ‘free and clear’ of a “second bite of the apple”.

          This sure looks like what was proposed and approved (in concept) ~ 10 years ago… that goes to my 5-2% “hedge”…

          Am thinking this project was assumed as a given, due to previous actions,  in the new LRDP… might be incorrect, but sure looks like an affirmation of previous actions, covered by a previous EIR, if there are no material changes.  Don’t see any…

  1. James Richie

    I’m surprised that the usual suspects haven’t clamored on this announcement with their predictable cries of “destroying productive farmland,” or “building a new city on the outskirts of town,” or “changing the feel of the community”…when that is literally what a massive development like this does. They seem to be perfectly fine when UCD continues to expand at the sacrifice of the city’s own growth, financial future, and population size.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to hear this and even as a West Davis resident who watches West Village grow, I’m pro- anything that helps make Davis a more inclusive community. But, the silence is deafening.

    1. Ron

      It could be that they’re tired of rehashing the same old arguments on here, and getting abused in the process.

      Personally, I don’t like seeing sprawl on University land, either.  That’s part of the reason that some advocated denser housing (than what was ultimately approved), on campus.

      Regarding financial costs associated with housing, it seems that UCD is in a much better position to handle this, than the city.  (Perhaps due to non-resident tuition fees exceeding $43,000 per student).

      Seems like UCD might also have access to another $55 million or so, to replace Freeborn Hall:


      Regardless, I don’t think anyone would argue that the city hasn’t been “doing its part” regarding student housing. (To the point of compromising other needs.)

    2. Howard P

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to hear this and even as a West Davis resident who watches West Village grow, I’m pro- anything that helps make Davis a more inclusive community.

      And you’ll accept more traffic?  It will happen… disclosed years ago… I can accept that in my neighborhood… similar reasons… I was ‘welcomed’ to Davis… have seen no real degradation in my quality of life here, since then… some minor inconveniences since we moved here, “for reals” in 1979…

      Are you being honest with yourself?  If so, tres bien!

      I tend to get incensed by those who came here 2-5-10-20 years ago and opine that they are a “long-term resident, and as ‘mad as hell'” as to additional folk… we’re “newbies”… came here in 1972, spent five years (attending UCD… spouse spent 1 year in on campus housing, I spent 3), came back in ’79… good job, and to raise a family… “newbies”… we were welcomed by those who came before… we cannot do other than treat new folk the same…

    3. Rik Keller


      The West Village Master Plan was originally approved in 2003. Groundbreaking happened in 2009. This stuff has been hashed out, yes? But you want to take a cheap potshot about “deafening silence” and supposed hypocrisy among some?

  2. David Greenwald

    Got an answer from Andy Fell: “Litigation of a CEQA determination doesn’t necessarily (cause) all projects to stop. And we think it’s important to go ahead with this project so we can have units open in Fall 2020”

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