UC Davis Completes West Village Housing Project, Breaks Ground at Orchard Park

By Andy Fell

The University of California, Davis, today (July 19) celebrated milestones in two major student housing projects. The final phase of The Green at West Village is now complete, and a ceremonial groundbreaking marked the beginning of work on the Orchard Park housing development.

“These important milestones on Orchard Park and The Green at West Village are helping to fill a critical need for on-campus housing,” said UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. “This is a big win for students, the university and our surrounding communities. It’s all thanks to close collaboration with the city of Davis, Yolo County and our development partners.”

The Green at West Village includes about 3,300 beds primarily for transfer and continuing undergraduate students. The first phase of the project, with 1,000 beds, opened in fall 2020. The complex includes nine four-story apartment buildings, indoor and outdoor community space, recreational fields, and a community building with a fitness center, multipurpose room and student support services.

Ryan Manriquez, president of the Associated Students of UC Davis, has lived at The Green since transferring to UC Davis in 2020.

“I love living at The Green,” he said. “It’s the most ADA-friendly housing complex in Davis — every door is automatic with your keycard,” said Manriquez, who uses a powered wheelchair.

The focus on transfer students also helps build community, he said.

At the time of groundbreaking in 2019 The Green was the largest student housing construction project in the country.

Building community

The Orchard Park development is an apartment complex for graduate students and students with families. It will include almost 1,600 beds in just over 600 apartment units and community facilities for both single graduate students and for families. Apartments will be rented at below-market rates for comparable properties. The complex will also include two community buildings, for families and for graduate students. Orchard Park will be open for tenants in fall 2023.

“It will make a substantial difference for graduate students,” said Jonathan Minnick, president of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association. “A significant percentage of each cohort of graduate students will have the opportunity to live on campus.”

Minnick praised the accommodations for student parents in the complex.

“The fact that students with families can be in this community and be supported is just a great opportunity,” he said.

The new Orchard Park complex replaces a former apartment complex that was closed in 2015 after 51 years of service. Over the intervening time, numerous graduate students have worked on committees conceiving and advising on the new Orchard Park.

“I can’t thank them enough for their hard work,” Minnick said.

Because of the scale of the projects, both are being carried out as public-private partnerships funded through tax-exempt bond sales. The Michaels Organization is the developer for both projects. The Green at West Village is owned by a national nonprofit organization, Collegiate Housing Foundation, with a ground lease from UC Davis. The facility is managed by Michaels Student Living Management, with UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services providing marketing, leasing and on-site student support services. Orchard Park will be managed in the same way once complete.

Andy Fell is with the UC Davis News and Media Relations

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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35 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    Seems like a pretty good deal, even for a studio apartment at The Green:

    https://housing.ucdavis.edu/_pdf/s/2021-the-green-apartments-fee-schedule.pdf

    A lot cheaper than Sterling.

    Research shows living on campus is correlated with academic success.

    Well, that’s a different message than what we hear on the Vanguard, regarding “forcing” students to live on campus against their will, “denying” them the right to vote (regarding city-specific issues), etc.

    https://housing.ucdavis.edu/guaranteed-housing/

    1. Don Shor

      Research shows living on campus is correlated with academic success.

      Well, that’s a different message than what we hear on the Vanguard, regarding “forcing” students to live on campus against their will, “denying” them the right to vote (regarding city-specific issues), etc.

      https://housing.ucdavis.edu/guaranteed-housing/

      It’s also pretty funny that one of the studies linked on their page where they make that assertion contradicts it. Also they are citing work from over four decades ago. Demographics of college students have changed since 1966.

      A Meta-Analysis of the Influence of College Residence Halls on Academic Performance.
      Blimling, Gregory S.
      Journal of College Student Development, v40 n5 p551-61 Sep-Oct 1999
      Originally published in July 1989, uses meta-analysis to integrate and summarize the empirical research from 1966 through 1987 regarding the influence of college residence halls on the academic performance of undergraduate students in the United States. Results indicate that residence halls do not generally exert a major influence on students’ academic performance compared with living at home. (Contains 33 references.) (Author/GCP)

      I do agree that “a residence hall experience” has many benefits for entering and transfer students. But a high percentage of students after their first year prefer to live in the community.
      In any case, it’s good to finally see West Village fully open, or nearly so, after over a dozen years of discussion.

    2. Ron Oertel

      It’s also pretty funny that one of the studies linked on their page where they make that assertion contradicts it. Also they are citing work from over four decades ago.

      There’s a bunch of citations listed, so have at it if you want to quote them.

      Demographics of college students have changed since 1966.

      So what?  (But it is true, in that Asian (and/or female) students now predominate.  It could be that they actually prefer on-campus living, more-so than previous generations.)

      But a high percentage of students after their first year prefer to live in the community.

      I’ve seen no studies which show this.  However, there is nothing preventing them from living in the community – same as anyone else.

      For the most part, it seems to me that students are most interested in cost.  And in this case, it appears that housing on campus is significantly cheaper.

      (Cost is also a reason that “mini-dorms” will never totally disappear.  Along with “freedom” which apparently doesn’t always work out in the best interest of their neighbors.)

      The question is, what is best for the city – overall (in regard to development choices).  Especially when reasonable alternatives are available for students (which are NOT available to anyone else).

      Up until recently, “megadorms” did not exist, nor were they proposed in the city. And yet, many students found a way to live in the city.

      1. Keith Y Echols

         it appears that housing on campus is significantly cheaper.

        I’m somewhat infamous here about my attitude about students living in town…..but I do not believe that living on campus is cheaper than living in town.  Somewhere (and I can’t recall where) I read that the opposite (though with rising housing prices and rents….I do not know to what degree that continues to be true).

        For one I think UCD does not house students out of duty or obligation.  No, I believe they build student housing if it pays for itself (again, I do not know where I read this).  So like new housing anywhere; new on campus student housing tends to be more expensive than existing homes for rent in town.

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          The comparison I made was with Sterling (off-campus).

          It appears that The Green (on-campus) is significantly less-expensive than Sterling.

          Both are “new” developments.

          The argument has been that “new” developments in the city offer less-expensive rents (compared to those on campus). Which apparently isn’t the case.

        2. Don Shor

          No, I believe they build student housing if it pays for itself (again, I do not know where I read this).

          You read it here. It is not just true, it is the policy of UCOP* that housing shall pay for itself and all associated costs.
          (*UC Office of the President)

        3. Matt Williams

          I believe Don is correct in his quote from the UC Office of the President.  And I don’t believe the Regents or the Office of the President are going to change that stance any time in the forseeable future.

          That is why I believe that Governor Newsom and his staff need to get involved … under the banner of providing the necessary funding to make a college education both available and affordable.  Housing is a central part of the cost of education.  If Newsom is truly a Progressive, then he ought to be taking a page from Bernie Sanders’ book (or Elizabeth Warren’s book) and address the cost of a California university education.

          On a separate note, this article practices a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand when it uses the term “Residence Hall.”  What proportion of the West Village units are residence hall rooms and what proportion are apartments?   I doubt anyone would call the Sterling project on Fifth Street a residence hall … and if a project identical to Sterling were constructed adjacent to West Village, it wouldn’t be a residence hall either.

        4. Richard_McCann

          That is why I believe that Governor Newsom and his staff need to get involved … under the banner of providing the necessary funding to make a college education both available and affordable. 

          Housing supply is best provided by the private sector. Public agencies should only provide resources and services only when it’s either a “public good” in which limiting access so it can be priced is difficult (think parks) or with significant market failures (think health care where providers have a significant market advantage over patients). Neither is the case in housing.

          55% of UC students receive aid and of the remainder, a large portion are international and out of state. The housing affordability can be solved simply with more money, not foisting another role on UCD.

          https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/University-of-California-will-consider-raising-16310228.php

        1. Bill Marshall

          Richard… you forget one of Ron O’s frequent comments… they should stay home and go to community college unless they live in a “university” city, if finances are ‘tough’… reminds me of an Austrian princess, who became queen of France, allegedly quoted as as saying… (her ‘head rolled’)

          In the mid ’70’s, (one of my two points of reference) it was marginally cheaper for me and my parents to live off campus… mainly due to the “food plans” (we were not ‘allowed’ to cook in the dorms [except if you shared one kitchen for 60-90 students], and didn’t matter how much you ate in the cafeteria, all were charged the same)…

          My then future spouse moved off-campus, mainly to reduce food costs, so the total of housing and food were less…

          When our child attended Cal Poly SLO, it was again, marginally cheaper to live off-campus, where she could decide what to eat, and pick her foods…

          Things may have changed, on-campus, as to food options… but I’m a skeptic on that… could be that with more opportunities to forgo the “food plan”, it offsets the ‘housing’ piece… but maybe not…

          The other problem is ‘occupancy’… both I and then future spouse lived in 2 people/room situations… not individual rooms, which today’s students seem like they believe they are entitled to… UCD’s price structure (another post, another thread) is weird… a ‘single’ vs. a ‘double’ is not 50% different… small fraction of that… that makes little sense…

          Historically, living on campus was a “package deal” … housing and food… I leave to others who have college students in the family as to the current situation…

           

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          On campus housing is much more expensive than living off campus. Here’s UCD’s comparisons:

          Again, I was comparing the cost at The Green, vs. Sterling.  The Green is significantly less-expensive than Sterling.  Both are new developments.

          One would have to examine how UCD performed their calculations, but it clearly does not include most new housing (on-campus, or off).

          Seems reasonable to conclude that new housing may NOT be less-expensive in the city, compared to that on campus.  Further comparisons can be performed, as more student housing is built at both locations.

          In the mid ’70’s, (one of my two points of reference) it was marginally cheaper for me and my parents to live off campus… mainly due to the “food plans” (we were not ‘allowed’ to cook in the dorms [except if you shared one kitchen for 60-90 students], and didn’t matter how much you ate in the cafeteria, all were charged the same)…

          In reference to your parents, I already figured that they lived “off-campus”.  That cost is “sunk”, and there was no extra room cost for you to live there (unless they charged you rent, in which case it was a transfer of money within the same family).

          The Green includes kitchens, and it appears that the “meal plan” is optional regardless.

          In any case, if any development is “too expensive”, it won’t be able to attract tenants.  That’s how “supply and demand” works.

          So yeah, if students want to waste literally tens of thousands of dollars (by living either on campus, or off) rather than staying at home (e.g., for the first couple of years), I don’t have a lot of empathy regarding their resulting student debt. Seems like others do, so I assume they’re the same folks advocating for the government to “forgive” that unnecessary debt.
           

           

          1. Don Shor

            In reference to your parents, I already figured that they lived “off-campus”. That cost is “sunk”, and there was no extra room cost for you to live there (unless they charged you rent, in which case it was a transfer of money within the same family).

            Unless I read the comment wrong, my assumption was that the “my parents” part referred to their share of his costs, not to where they lived.

            I think that UCD has adjusted their pricing for some units this/last year for the first time such that there may be some cheaper options on campus than in town. That was certainly never the case before. So we may all be discussing an issue for which there is new information.

          2. Don Shor

            So yeah, if students want to waste literally tens of thousands of dollars (by living either on campus, or off) rather than staying at home (e.g., for the first couple of years), I don’t have a lot of empathy regarding their resulting student debt.

            You’ve mentioned this idea many times and I find it baffling, honestly. My lower-division courses were very much focused in my ag science field at UCD and could not in any way have been replicated at any community college near me. There may be majors where community college could provide the first two years as well as the university does, but it certainly wouldn’t have been my experience.

        3. Ron Oertel

          My lower-division courses were very much focused in my ag science field at UCD and could not in any way have been replicated at any community college near me.

          Regardless of the major, community colleges generally offer the same prerequisite courses required for a bachelor degree. Did you take English 1A and 1B, for example? How about chemistry and biology courses, which are offered at community colleges? (Or State universities, for that matter.)

          One would have to look at the percentage of students who could have met those requirements at home, but who chose to attend the entire 4-years away from home for other (voluntary) reasons.  Those are the students I’m referring to, and I suspect they comprise a very significant portion of the student body.

          There is a cultural “belief” that attending college away from home is some kind of “necessity” for personal growth.  I don’t have much empathy for that point of view, unless the parent or student assumes the full cost (and without complaint).

          Also, there are many majors at UCD (for example) that are (also) offered at other 4-year universities.  It is not just an “ag” or “vet” school.

           

          1. Don Shor

            In my first two years I took plant sciences, introductory hort classes, soil science, viticulture, plant taxonomy, some landscape design, and much more that was within my field, and my botany and bio sci classes were ag-focused. I also did internships in my field.
            Also, back then, UC did not allow direct transfer of all comm college course credits, as they felt they weren’t up to UC’s rigor. Some were allowed, some weren’t.
            Community college would have been a waste of my time.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Also, back then, UC did not allow direct transfer of all comm college course credits, as they felt they weren’t up to UC’s rigor.

          Things change, don’t they.

          From what I understand, SAT scores are now frowned-upon, as well. (Of course, SATs weren’t even needed in the first place, if you transferred in after the first couple of years.)

          https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/05/17/university-of-california-system-will-no-longer-require-sat-and-act-scores-for-admission-after-settlement-reached/

          On a broader level, there seems to be an effort to increase diversity, even if it means lowering academic standards.  Sort of an end-run around the intent of voters, regarding their rejection of Affirmative Action.

          Or maybe it’s just due to the vastly-shrinking pool of potential university students, across the country.  Causing universities to “compete” for those students. (Perhaps that’s the “real” reason.)

          But one might question any reason put forth (by any university), if they claim that another college’s identical course is not “up to their rigor”. (But as you noted, that was a long time ago.)

          In any case, your personal experience from decades ago is not what I was referring to in regard to the ability of many students to meet initial requirements closer to home, where there usually is NO cost for housing. I have no idea why you’re repeatedly trying to argue that fact, when doing so makes no sense whatsoever.

           

           

    3. Ron Oertel

      Don: Results indicate that residence halls do not generally exert a major influence on students’ academic performance compared with living at home.

      Kind of ironic that you made that particular comparison, given that some have repeatedly-pointed out that many students can attend college while living at “home” (especially for the first couple of years).

      The most cost-effective method BY FAR, and one which (according to your citation) results in the same level of academic success.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Did you attend COM and live at home for your first 2 years of college?   (Assuming you attended college)…

        I would have had to attend CSM in order to live at home, and even then I would have needed a car (our family only had one)… CSM’s nickname was “College of Small Minds”, or “Harvard on the hill”… [can only guess what COM stands for, in the nickname department]… different counties, same concept.

        I would have not thrived, the way I did, @ Community College… I was bored thru much of HS… and, I probably would have never found my life partner/friend/spouse had I lived at home and gone to CC for two years… others might thrive with that ‘model’…

        My parents and I made the sacrifices to send me to UCD… it helped big time, that I had a NMS to pay tuition… books, housing, food were on me and my folks…

  2. Craig Ross

    In my experience, having a second year option to live on campus would have been helpful for a lot of first year students not ready to find housing in January, three months after moving to town.  beyond that, I agree, most students don’t want to live on the pseudo nanny residence hall rules.  Exception would be international students – more reason to have more international students, eh, Ron O?

    1. Ron Oertel

      beyond that, I agree, most students don’t want to live on the pseudo nanny residence hall rules.  

      Perhaps you should explain that (e.g., in regard to The Green).

      Regardless, is that a valid reason for the city to pursue megadorms, and the various types of costs/impacts those entail?

      Exception would be international students – more reason to have more international students, eh, Ron O?

      Well, if they’re paying full cost (for tuition and housing), perhaps they’re the only ones actually paying their way (and without complaining, to boot). And I assume without U.S. financial aid, as well.

      1. Craig Ross

        Call me crazy, but the valid reason for the city to pursue more student housing was that we didn’t have enough housing at the time.  (And probably still don’t though I no longer live in the area)

        1. Keith Y Echols

          Craig: Call me crazy, but the valid reason for the city to pursue more student housing was that we didn’t have enough housing at the time.

          You’re crazy.

          Why should the city be obligated to plan for housing and provide services for UCD’s revenue producing assets?

           

          Ron: is that a valid reason for the city to pursue megadorms, and the various types of costs/impacts those entail?

          I think if the city can capitalize on the student community; encouraging student housing (under controlled circumstances) might be a good idea.  I think if the city zoned the areas between 1st and 3rd and A & B streets as high density mixed use residential…it could work.  The city could enter into an agreement with UCD over the sharing of provided services (UCD police for example).  The area is next to the University so parking wouldn’t be as much of an issue as are road/infrastructure support costs less of an issue (and again can be shared to a degree with UCD…if obviously they were agreeable).  But how does this benefit the city?  By creating a destination entertainment area.  This town has no bars or much entertainment.  In the mixed use high density residential zone; create an entertainment commercial zone.  Lots of cheap eats, live music, dancing…etc…all that stuff young people like to do.  Do that and you attract youngsters from Vacaville, Dixon, Woodland, West Sac, Sac…etc…  you bring people here to spend their money.

          1. Don Shor

            Why should the city be obligated to plan for housing and provide services for UCD’s revenue producing assets?

            People who attend UCD and people who move here to work at UC Davis expect to live somewhere. Why should the city block builders from providing housing for that market of customers if they wish to make that investment and take that risk?

          2. Don Shor

            This town has no bars or much entertainment. In the mixed use high density residential zone; create an entertainment commercial zone. Lots of cheap eats, live music, dancing…etc

            This is a very baffling statement. The trend over the last decade has been that downtown retailers are being replaced by downtown bars and restaurants. It’s practically, to use one phrase coined by another Vanguard commenter, a food court at this point. The nightclubs that have opened have created significant problems prior to the pandemic.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          People who attend UCD and people who move here to work at UC Davis expect to live somewhere.

          What they want is irrelevant.

          Why should the city block builders from providing housing for that market of customers if they wish to make that investment and take that risk?

          Don…we’ve gone over this MANY times.  You know my answer to that question.  A city should only take on new housing IF it in some way benefits the EXISTING residents.  Building new housing for anyone is a cost to the community.  Therefore it needs to provide a tangible benefit above it’s cost.

          This is a very baffling statement.

          There is nothing baffling about it.  My statement is about trying to capitalize on the student population for the benefit of the city.

           The trend over the last decade has been that downtown retailers are being replaced by downtown bars and restaurants. It’s practically, to use one phrase coined by another Vanguard commenter, a food court at this point. 

          While I want more and better restaurants.  I too would like a move away from the food court offerings of: pizza, burritos, burgers…etc…If you move (encourage) the food court to a new entertainment district, it frees up the downtown for other types of retail.

          The nightclubs that have opened have created significant problems prior to the pandemic.

          Night clubs and bars almost always cause trouble.  It’s in their nature.  You could simply decide to no try to capitalize on an entertainment zone opportunity.  Or you could try to manage and mitigate it properly.  If it were up to me, I’d throw a large fence around the entertainment area to protect the rest of the town….but I suspect that wouldn’t go over too well.  One thing would be to have a heavier police presence.  Maybe some sort of joint assignment by UCD and city police?  I think having less automobile traffic might also help mitigate some problems (as I’ve suggested the area is next to the University so it wouldn’t need any extensive car/road support….in fact I’d recommend limiting traffic and maybe closing some of the streets).

          1. David Greenwald

            “A city should only take on new housing IF it in some way benefits the EXISTING residents. ”

            The problem with that view is that there is no objective answer. So who decides? Answer: city council and in Davis, the voters on peripheral projects. Given that Nishi was ratified by the voters, we seem to have an answer on that.

        3. Keith Y Echols

          The problem with that view is that there is no objective answer.

          What do you mean “no objective answer”?   Compare the projected tax revenue compared to the projected costs.  Or whatever else new development can net the city (a new park, fire station, library, public pool…etc..).  If the tangible benefit outweighs the costs…we have a winner!

           city council and in Davis, the voters on peripheral projects. Given that Nishi was ratified by the voters, we seem to have an answer on that.

          Well, I’ve said many times what I think about the inmates running the asylum here.  I was answering for how a PROPERLY run city should make it’s decisions.  Telling me that the city council and the voters make the decisions is a rather captain obvious statement to make.  If the past four years have taught us anything, it’s that the electorate can make some colossally stupid decisions.

          1. David Greenwald

            For one thing, that’s an extremely limited way to determine benefit. And since you believe that housing is a net fiscal loser, it works out that you believe that cities should never add residential housing. Clearly impractical.

          2. Don Shor

            By Keith’s logic, every city should disincorporate, since the residents and their houses are causing the city to lose money.
            Or, perhaps there is or was some special equilibrium that each city reaches where it is just the addition of new houses and residents that causes them to lose money, so they should all stop growing.

        4. Keith Y Echols

          David:

          . And since you believe that housing is a net fiscal loser, it works out that you believe that cities should never add residential housing. Clearly impractical.

          Don:

          By Keith’s logic, every city should disincorporate, since the residents and their houses are causing the city to lose money.
          Or, perhaps there is or was some special equilibrium that each city reaches where it is just the addition of new houses and residents that causes them to lose money, so they should all stop growing.

          You both have unfortunately decided to narrow your thinking and comments to the simplistic goal of opposing me.  Both of your comments are absolutely absurd given that within this very comment section I PROPOSED A RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT IDEA.  One that is for a a segment of the population that I’m notoriously not a fan of.  David takes the reductio ad absurdum approach; which if he bothered to even try to understand what I’m trying to teach him is that residential development is fine as long as there’s a tangible benefit for the existing population.  I even gave some basic examples like a new fire house, park, public swimming pool, water treatment plant expansion, direct request/support of an employer (located in the city), significant tax revenue (that goes beyond simply what new residents would spend locally….in my proposal the goal is to lure people from out of town to spend money here in Davis).  Don, your comment is even more baffling and absurd given that you critiqued my  mixed use residential/entertainment zone area idea in this very comments section.

          UCD takes the approach that new residential construction should at least pay for itself.  Why shouldn’t the city of Davis (or any rational city) do the same?

        5. Richard_McCann

          We have had several presentations that show how housing and business development can be structured to create net benefits to everyone. The Vanguard has published articles on these presentations several time. The problem is that we haven’t followed through on this advice.  This involves increased density. It doesn’t need to be, and shouldn’t be, focused solely on student housing as we have needs across a spectrum of residents.

          See more here: https://www.urbanthree.com/

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/03/commentary-davis-economic-death-spiral/

  3. Bill Marshall

    Why should the city block builders from providing housing for that market of customers if they wish to make that investment and take that risk?

    Much more complex than that… but it is a part…

    If all rental owners (SF & MF) were required to ban all UCD students (not suggesting, patently illegal) from renting, would that free up space for non-students, families, at more affordable rates?  I do not know.  If all “seniors” had to sell their homes for what they paid for them, inflation and depreciation considered, to new residents, young families (not suggesting, patently illegal), at more affordable rates? Again, I do not know…

    Unless the community adopts one or both of those two, we have a housing deficit.

  4. Bill Marshall

    By Keith’s logic, every city should disincorporate, since the residents and their houses are causing the city to lose money.

    Interesting concept you bring up… goes to “alternatives”, and whether residential (or non-res, for that matter)  has EVER paid enough… for services, infrastructure used/received…

    What if, every resident had to provide their own water, sewer, drainage, walkway, vehicle travel way, and depended on everyone else to do the same (or pay them for the privilege) so they could use the common travel ways for them to use those facilities for their purposes?  Interesting concept… I wouldn’t want to “go there”.

  5. Ron Oertel

    By the way, there’s an article in the SF Chronicle which notes the following:

    UC Davis and UCLA tied for the lowest rate of admitted students with low family income, 36%, and UC Merced had the highest rate of 58%.

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/UC-system-admits-its-largest-most-diverse-16324743.php

    But for the most part, that article is essentially a misleading advertisement on behalf of the UC system, which totally ignores the impact of non-resident students in regard to the diversity of the student body. (For that matter, the relative wealth of non-resident students is probably not included, either.)

     

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