Largest US Student Housing Project Breaks Ground

Developed by the Michaels Organization and designed by Stantec, the $575 million UC Davis West Village community will have a total of 3,300 beds, with 1,000 scheduled for delivery by fall 2020.
West Village at UC Davis

The largest student housing development in the U.S. is underway at the University of California, Davis, (UC Davis), where a $575 million new community will add nearly 3,300 beds to the university’s West Village neighborhood—the largest planned net-zero campus in the country. The first 1,000 beds are due for delivery for the fall 2020 academic year, with the rest available one year later.

Located at 1580 Jade St. in Davis, Calif., less than 20 miles from downtown Sacramento, UC Davis West Village is in proximity to a nursery school, restaurants and Highway 113.

“Increasing our on-campus housing inventory for our students has been a goal for us for many years,” Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, at UC Davis, said in a prepared statement. “Moving the project into construction is an important and exciting step.”

Record Financing

The Michaels Organization, the developer for the UC Davis project, recently announced it had closed $575 million in financing through a tax-exempt bond sale that closed in December. This is the largest bond sale for a single student housing project in the U.S., according to a news release from Stantec, the global design, architecture and engineering firm that is providing lead architectural, interiors, buildings engineering and landscape architecture services for the project. CBG Building Co. is the general contractor.

The 34-acre UC Davis West Village project will comprise nine four-story buildings along with indoor and outdoor community space and recreational fields, including a 10,000-square-foot community building housing a fitness center, multipurpose room and student support services. West Village was originally planned to get 1,875 beds but UC Davis, the Michaels Organization and Stantec worked together to develop a plan that reduced the space set aside for student vehicles and added more living space to substantially increase the number of residential units. The new housing also has a goal of reaching 100 percent net-zero energy efficiency on an annual basis.

“This revised approach strengthens the pedestrian and bike culture of the overall campus and will promote a strong communal environment for the enrichment of the student residents,” Sean Studzinski, Stantec principal, National Residence Life, said in a prepared statement.

“UC Davis is truly thinking about the future of the university, its student population and the community. To be part of a public-private partnership team helping to develop this new phase of on-campus housing is a tremendous privilege, and we are excited to break ground,” added Richey Madison, Stantec principal, West Coast Education.

Stantec and the Michaels Organization are also collaborating on the Orchard Park student housing expansion at UC Davis. That project will provide housing for students with families and single graduate students. Stantec is providing interior design, landscape architecture and planning for the Orchard Park expansion.

Other Multifamily Projects

While Stantec is a leading design firm for educational projects across the U.S. with more than 450 education clients, it’s also active in other aspects of multifamily housing, including designing a new 68-unit affordable housing development in Newtonville, Mass., using modular blocks to form the residential portion of the mixed-use project. 

The firm’s Miami office designed MiMo Bay Apartments, a 236-unit mixed-use waterfront community that recently began construction on Miami’s Upper East Side. Developed in a joint venture between Asia Capital Real Estate Management (ACRE) and a large Canadian pension fund, the five-story building is being developed on a 3.5-acre site in the Miami Modern (MiMo) District. Stantec’s design pays homage to the neighborhood and the Miami Modern architecture.

Last week, the Michaels Organization closed on $61 million in financing for Mission Trail at El Camino Real, a mixed-income community in San Marcos, Texas, near Texas State University. Designed as workforce housing, the 352-unit project will break ground this spring with preleasing set for the fall. Most of the units will be reserved for households earning 60 percent of less of the area media income (AMI) and 10 percent will be set aside for those earning less than 49 percent of the AMI. It will also have 35 apartments without income restrictions.

Rendering courtesy of Stantec