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 46 over time. If we can have a starting point that is slightly below market, then we can ensure that year over year, our rental increases will be modest, the 2 to 3 percent increase level. What we've been able to show is that in comparison to what the market does, our rents will con- tinue to be attractive to our stu- dents. This is California, so we've got prevailing wages and overall costs in general that truly are a challenge to us. Fortunately our students have financial aid options that will support them. With this new project, even though it is a public partnership, we're going to do the contracting ourselves, so that will allow our students to have on campus housing budgets. That will provide them with a little more financial aid support than they would have off campus. SHB: Your projects balance all stra- ta of student, from undergrad to grad to families. How are you tak- ing that into account when you bal- ance the creation of unit mix? Galindo: West Village was primar- ily for continuing students; we don't have any families out there. For this new project, we've split the intended residents between the two projects. One will have fami- lies and grad students, and then West Village will have undergrads, primarily continuing and transfer students. What we find with our families in particular is that when we consolidate them, it's just easier on the whole neighborhood idea and there is no concern of having single students as neighbors. The families like to be close together; it helps with programs. For con- tinuing or transfer students, their focus is on programming related to their transition to the campus and continuing toward graduation and their career path. Those stu- dents will only stay one to two years, whereas our families and grad students, depending on their program, could be with us for three to five years, so we try to take that into consideration. SHB: As you work into this new process with University Student Living, how are you doing that collaboratively? Galindo: Communication is key. We have weekly phone calls on the construction side, on the operations side, and on what we are referring to as the legal side because it has to do with the financial deal itself. In addition to the weekly calls, USL staff will come out in person and meet with us once a month. So we're doing all of that, but then at the same time we have to queue up all of the approvals that have to go through the Office of the President. In two weeks, we will be down at UCLA at the regents meeting with one of our residence hall projects for design and budget approval, and then with West Village and Orchard Park projects as a discus- sion item. We will go over what the vision is and request approval from the regents to move forward; and then we plan to return in July with the actual term sheet devel- oped. Our campus is also in the midst of a long-range development planning process, so that will also be going forward to the Regents for approval. There's a lot going on right now, but it's very exciting. It's exciting for me personally to be a part of it, and have a leadership role in terms of making it happen. SHB: On your PPP develop- ment, who is on the team from the university? Galindo: We've got some great partnerships. The Real Estate Services department is taking the lead on the project. Then we have our Design and Construction Management group, and they will weigh in on university standards and things like that. Then of course, Student Housing, because we are going to provide the residential programming, the contracting and leasing, because we have the infra- structure within our organization to make that happen. SHB: With all this going on, what are you doing in your free time? Galindo: There's the day-to-day operations. We have 6,000 students in our residence halls right now, and shortly we will have a new incoming class that we are prepar- ing to house. In addition, the cam- pus just started up self-operation of our dining program, after 40 years of having a great partnership with Sodexo. We made that change in July. So we've had a very suc- cessful year thus far, and we will continue to grow that program the next couple years. SHB: Can you give us an overview of the housing department, and tell us a little about it in terms of num- ber of people? Galindo: We have about 500 staff, which includes both student hous- ing and dining services. Depending on the time of the year, we provide employment opportunities for up to 1,000 students. Our department also facilitates the campus orienta- tion program, so that's a big part of our summer work. We also have a conference housing program and fraternity and sororities that we work with. Our budget is about $110 million. In total, we house about 6,000 students in residence halls and about 5,000 in third party properties, which are mostly apartments. SHB: What's the enrollment at UC Davis? Galindo: Just short of 39,000. So we house about 30 percent of students. We are looking to increase that per- centage. Davis has for years been a college town, that's part of its attraction. But we're at a place now where our vacancy rate has been less than one percent for the last three years, so it's really shed a light on a need for us to move as quickly as we can when it comes to building more housing and adding more inventory. In the midst of all of this, we are expanding in other areas such as a recently opened museum, a health and wellness center and a community center. We are adding classroom buildings and we just opened an internation- al center. So, there is a lot going on which is really exciting. SHB Cottonwood Hall houses about 150 students at UC Davis. It opened in fall 2017. West Village near UC Davis was developed by Carmel Partners and Urban Villages on university-owned land. The project, built in phases between 2011 and 2013, is managed by Greystone.

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