Student Housing Business

MAR-APR 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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VIE W FROM THE ACADEME March/April 2018 42 and it's going to bring about 1,400 beds for families and grad stu- dents, and then about 3,800 beds for our incoming transfer students and continuing students. SHB: In a year or two, housing on the UC Davis campus will look a lot different than it did 10 years ago. When you look at what will be, what are some of the numbers and how, in your view, will hous- ing have changed? Galindo: I've been in student housing since the early 1990s on this campus, and we started really being aggressive about our hous- ing program around 2005. We have redeveloped or added 2,500 residence hall beds; that's been our primary focus for student housing. We've seen tremendous growth in the residence halls. For example, in our Tercero area, we brought on 1,200 new beds in 2014, and this past fall we opened 500 additional beds. Some of those were replacement beds, but the overall net increase is very signifi- cant. I think it had a very positive impact on our ability to attract new students — those 5,000 stu- dents that we wanted to add. We are now seeing a housing take rate of our first-year students at 95 percent, and that's up about 6 percent over our historical trend. On the apartment side in West Village, we've been very success- ful with the 2,600 beds that are in place now, and we've got this new project that we're working on now with our new developer partner. SHB: How do you expect this new, as-of-yet un-named project, to be different than other housing on campus? Galindo: We're still in the design phase, but one project will be for families. We're looking at town- homes, approximately 200 units. There will also be single graduate apartments in the same immedi- ate area. Those will be two to four bedrooms each, where students will have the privacy of their own space. For those apartments we are looking at configurations of four to five stories. Amenities will include study spaces and laun- dry rooms. The design is not fully complete, but we feel like every- thing we have seen thus far will be very attractive. Again, we are in the early stages and we still have to go obtain the required approvals from the Office of the President. SHB: This is not your first rodeo with a private developer. How has this process gone compared to last time when you did the West Village project? Galindo: What was great this time was that the Office of the President had pre-approved eight different developers. Right away, you could feel a lot of confidence in terms of the ability to deliver for these projects, because they had been vetted by the system. That allowed us in many ways to expedite our process. The Davis campus has been doing public- private partnerships since the late 1980s, so we focus on things like communications. We look for folks that understand and have patience for how universi- ty systems work, where there's an understanding of the balance between what a partner can do best versus what the university can do for itself and coming to the table with that understanding. That's where I think USL did a great job in being able to articulate those kinds of goals for the proj- ect that we thought met what we were looking for. SHB: What's the impetus for doing projects in public-private partner- ship versus self-development? Galindo: It depends on what the project is. There are pros and cons. At Davis, we have done univer- sity built for most of our residence halls. We have just a little bit more control when it comes to our first- year students because we deliver an important programming ele- ment. These young people are transitioning to our campus for the first time. Currently, with so many of our facilities being devot- ed to first year students, it makes sense to continue down that path. We are under construction right now in our Cuarto area to develop 400 beds, which will open in 2019. We have another project for which we are seeking approval that will add an additional 800 residence hall beds in 2022. We feel like we do a good job with development in that we have a great proto- type for what the layout would be of our residence halls. On the other hand, we have not built apartments in many decades, so it makes sense for us to explore a partnership path because his- torically that has worked well for us. Sometimes it can just be a leadership decision. If you look at the finance behind some of these development opportunities, sometimes you can't see a clear delineation between what's the best way to go or not, especially over time, because as we all know, once the project is built, it is an asset. The university is giving up what could be a long-term asset, certainly once the buildings are FLIGHT + VESPER FLIGHT + VESPER S E AT I N G + TA B L E S

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