Thursday, November 30, 2006


University of California, Davis
November 16, 2006


The University of California Board of Regents today gave the go-ahead for the first phase of UC Davis' West Village -- a combination of faculty, staff and student housing, and schools and commercial development to be built just west of the main campus.

On the last day of a three-day regents meeting at UCLA, the full board ratified Tuesday's vote by the Grounds and Buildings Committee in favor of the West Village implementation plan and environmental findings, and Wednesday's vote by the Finance Committee in favor of the business terms of ground leases to be forged between the university and a private developer.

As now planned, the 120-acre Phase 1 includes 312 single-family homes and town homes for faculty and staff, apartment housing for up to 1,980 students, and a village square surrounded by ground-floor commercial space with housing above.

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, who presented the project to the regents, said: "We will now be better able to provide the opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to live adjacent to where they study and work, and to participate more fully in the range of campus life that makes Davis unique.

"West Village, with its innovative and environmentally sensitive features, will be a model university neighborhood," Vanderhoef added.

The entire West Village project encompasses 208 acres, all in agricultural use now. Come next summer, the university hopes to see builders putting in utilities and roads on the site that is west of Highway 113 and between Hutchison Drive on the south and Russell Boulevard on the north.

The plan for West Village comprises two phases resulting in a combined maximum 475 housing units for faculty and staff, and student housing for 3,000. Many of the faculty and staff homes will come with small cottages, like at the 32-unit Aggie Village next to campus.
Officials say cottages like these increase population density and provide more student housing options.

After completion of the final phase, planners estimate that West Village will be home to about 4,350 people -- including 500 faculty and staff members and their families, plus students. The plan calls for bike trails within the community, as well as bike trail connections to the campus, and frequent UNITRANS bus service.

The West Village plan also specifies 45,000 square feet of commercial space, a branch campus of the Los Rios Community College District (60,000 square feet) and a magnet high school for the Davis Joint Unified High School District (15,000 square feet). The plan also includes a site for what university officials say will be a child care facility or a preschool within the faculty-staff housing area.

The faculty-staff housing component is a key reason for the project, with university officials saying West Village will be key to recruiting and retaining top talent and making them part of the university community.

West Village will make this possible by adding to the Davis housing stock, and selling those homes at more affordable prices. The university's Office of Resource Management and Planning estimates that the homes will be priced about 30 percent below market price for similar homes in Davis.

UC Davis' development partner is the West Village Community Partnership, a joint venture of Urban Villages-Davis, of Denver, and Carmel Partners of San Francisco. The partnership has not yet decided on the builders.

At this week's regents meeting, UC Davis officials presented an 11-minute video that outlined the housing crunch in Davis, made the case for West Village and laid out the project's design.

In the video, Pat Turner, former interim dean of the College of Letters and Science, said "the single biggest deterrent in attracting high-caliber faculty is the cost of housing."

Staff is not immune, either. Police Chief Annette Spicuzza described "sticker shock" when she started looking, unsuccessfully, for a home in Davis. She ended up buying in Sacramento.

Also on Thursday, the Board of Regents acted on two other UC Davis

* King Hall (School of Law) renovation and expansion -- The regents approved the design and a declaration stating that environmental impacts will not be significant or can be mitigated. The project calls for the addition of 18,800 gross square feet and the renovation of about 14,300 gross square feet, at a cost of $21.8 million.

UC Davis law professor John Oakley, chairman of the systemwide Academic Senate, told the Grounds and Buildings Committee: "This expansion is sorely needed."

* Stockton Boulevard Research Center -- The regents approved the preliminary plans, working drawings and construction of Phase 2 of this project at the medical center in Sacramento. This project calls for the remodeling of about 27,800 gross square feet for a stem call lab, at a cost of $22.3 million.

Media contact(s):
* Mitchel Benson, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9844,

Our full UC Davis directory of media services and 24-hour contact information is available at .
Need information from campus news archives? The UC Davis News Service database contains past (and current) UC Davis news stories dating to 1991. Go to .
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