Frequently Asked Questions
We are happy to answer questions. Below are questions we hear quite a bit.
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+ Will the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project have the ability to rent to non-UVU students, e.g., the general public or BYU students, etc.?
Yes. The project does have the ability to rent to non-UVU students. Similar to other projects in Orem, our zoning permits “Student Housing” and “Apartments”. The “Apartments” designation would allow us to rent to anyone. Despite having this ability, we don’t anticipate the project will have many non-student residents. We have felt safe saying this, and the Orem City staff and City Council have ultimately agreed with us, for multiple reasons.
First, BYU students can’t live in our project because it is not BYU approved housing. This project will not add BYU comuter traffic on University Parkway.
Second, even though student housing projects in Orem have the ability to rent to anyone (because of the “apartment” designation in their zoning), they don’t. If they did, it would dramatically impede those projects' ability to rent to students. Students want to live in designated student housing specifically because they are living with their peers. They want to live in a community of individuals in similar circumstances. They don’t want older, non-stundents around. If a project adopts a more open policy, the students will likely seek somewhere else to live and detroy the property's reputation and ability to lease in the future.
This idea is supported by the ages of residents in other projects in Orem. Again, despite the fact that each of these student housing projects has zoning that gives them the ability to rent to anyone, they aren’t. A survey conducted on buildings representing half of the student housing beds in Orem showed that almost 90% of the residents of those projects were under the age of 25 and almost 99% of those residents were under the age of 29. Of the students 30 and older in those projects, 100% of them were students. The management company for those projects estimates that around 95% of the residents are students at UVU.
A couple of common stories explain the situations where a non-student is living in these projects. For example, an 18-year-old girl, graduated from high-school, who has decided to work for a year prior to an LDS mission. She might have friends that are attending UVU and she wants to live with them. Or a student who is taking a semester off to work, or even a student who graduated a semester ahead of his peers that wants to continue to live with them while they finish school. Bottom line, the non-student renters are similarly aged kids who still fit in the student housing community.
Third, the project is designed to cater to single students. Units in the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project are much smaller than other apartments in the market. The Units have small bedrooms with private bathrooms, often less than 100 square feet, and a small kitchen and communal area. Plumbing in most of the project is designed to accommodate 4 small bathrooms. It is highly likely that even if we wanted to rent to the general public, the project would not be desirable.
Fourth, the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project will focus on amenities and programming that caters to students. Unlike traditional apartment projects, this is part of what you are paying for at a student housing project. Study spaces, social events focused on UVU, family home evening gathering areas, and other amenities geared towards students are programmed into the development. A non-student renter would be paying for programming and amenities that would likely not appeal to them.
Fifth, we aren’t going to rent to people that don’t fit in the project. In quizzing the management company that manages most of the student housing in Orem, we learned that they do, in fact, get a few people every year that try to rent student housing beds that they must turn away. It becomes a safety concern for our younger residents when 40+ aged individuals come to try to rent at a student housing project. Our management team will be given broad discretion to turn people like this away and instructed not to rent to them.
+ Will your project have enough parking? How will you prevent parking from spilling over into the neighborhoods?
The Palos Verdes Student Housing project will have 1,304 parking stalls on site. That works out to over .8 parking stalls per resident in the project. Orem City and Provo City have been grappling with the parking issues associated with student housing in their respective cities. To date, all projects in Utah County have been built with somewhere between .5 parking stalls and .65 parking stalls per resident. This has been identified as too little on site parking for student housing. As a result, Orem City required Palos Verdes to adopt the highest parking ratio to date required of a student housing project in Utah County.
When one considers that the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project will have the highest parking ratio of any student housing project in Utah County, it is important to remember that the project also has one of the most walkable locations of any project in the county. The project is surrounded by University land and is minutes’ walk from the University Wellness center, classroom buildings, and LDS Institute. The future BRT stop will be located directly in front of the project and the development includes a walking tunnel under campus drive. If there ever was a project that allowed a student resident to leave their car at home, it is this one.
Another requirement of Orem City was that the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project provide its parking free of charge. Unlike most projects in town that charge extra for parking, all residents will have the ability to have parking included in their rent. This free parking means that the residents have no reason to try to park in the adjacent neighborhood.
Additionally, the development has agreed to cooperate with the city in helping identify any residents who receive parking citations on Orem Streets. Residents will be fined, lose their security deposit, and eventually evicted if they become serial parking violators.
+ How will you handle visitor parking?
The Palos Verdes Student Housing project will have 1,304 parking stalls on site. That works out to over .8 parking stalls per resident in the project. Orem City and Provo City have been grappling with the parking issues associated with student housing in their respective cities. To date, all projects in Utah County have been built with somewhere between .5 parking stalls and .65 parking stalls per resident. For all other projects, their visitor parking is included in this parking ratio.
With the ebb and flow of needed parking throughout the day, the on-site parking should prove sufficient to meet resident and visitor parking needs. Orem City, however, was very concerned that this would not be sufficient to meet parking needs in the evenings. Evenings, from about 6:00 pm till 10:00 pm, are viewed as peak parking times for the project. All residents will be back home for the evening and potential visitors will require additional parking. To address this concern, the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project has an agreement from UVU to be able to utilize the adjacent parking lots for visitor parking. There are over 1,400 parking stalls on the adjacent UVU land within 500 feet of the Palos Verdes Project.
+ Will the project be affordable for students? I’ve heard that rents will be over $500.
The Palos Verdes Student Housing Project will be similarly priced to other student housing projects serving UVU. It would not be realistic for a new project to enter the Orem/UVU market and expect to fill up if it wasn’t competitively priced. UVU’s students are frugal and they have been raised to understand the value of money. While proximity to campus is a huge plus for some, it has never been felt that this was enough of a draw to justify above market rents.
One aspect of the project that makes the rents seem higher than other projects is that virtually all of the units at the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project are private, single-occupancy rooms. Unlike many other projects that offer mostly shared-room experiences for residents, Palos Verdes has followed the national trend and opted for private rooms. In fact, the majority of the project will feature 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom units where every resident has a private bedroom and bathroom. With growing concerns over privacy in society, the private bedroom/bathroom layouts provide safe and secure living experiences for the residents.
The current Wolverine Crossing website reports that private bedrooms range from $465 to $640.
Projected rents for the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project for private bedrooms range from $493 to $573.
It is true that Wolverine Crossing has listed the price of their shared (double occupancy) bedrooms at a range of $335 - $375. Shared units at the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project would be similarly priced, but admittedly there aren’t very many of these units. As a result, if all one is doing is examining the weighted average rent at Palos Verdes, it is easy to reach the mistaken impression that the project is not affordable.
+ If the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project is blocked by the referendum, what will happen to the property?
The Palos Verdes land will never be single family homes in the future. If the project is ultimately blocked by the referendum, the most likely scenario involves the ground either being sold to or swapped with Utah Valley University. The University has already expressed interest in the ground were the student housing project to fail.
If the University gained control of the ground, the City and its residents would lose any ability to control what was constructed. As a state entity, the University is not required to comply with zoning or other city land use controls. The University would have the ability to build an administrative building, a classroom building, or even parking lots. In fact, the University could build the exact same project without any city or neighborhood oversight. Additionally, under this scenario, the city would lose any property tax revenue associated with the Palos Verdes property.
A referendum is an important civic process, but its important to fully think through the natural consequences of a successful referendum with regard to this land. In the City Council meeting, one of the city councilmembers asked city staff if there was any other use that would result in less traffic to the surrounding neighborhood. It was reported that student housing was by far the best use for the property.
+ The Orem Planning Commission voted against the project, what changed before the City Council voted in favor of the project?
At the Planning Commission meeting, Orem City staff gave a negative recommendation to the project. By the time the project was presented to the City Council, Orem City Staff was giving a positive recommendation to the project. Among the factors that likely led to the positive recommendation from the Orem City Staff and the Orem City Council were a series of changes made to the development plan. The largest of these changes were:
- Increases in dedicated visitor parking and the agreement from UVU to allow the project’s visitors to park at UVU’s adjacent parking lots.
- Parking being offered for free to residents (included in rent)
- Dramatic changes to the design of the project focusing on improving the aesthetics on all four sides of every structure.
- Completion of a Development Agreement between the Developer and Orem City governing many concern aspects of the project.
+ Is the Palos Verdes Student Housing Project receving any public funding from the state, county or city?
The Palos Verdes Student Hosuing project is 100% privately funded. There are no city, county, or state funds being contributed to the project. Additionally, private funds are being contributed to pay for a new traffic signal at 400 West and 960 South. These traffic improvements will be given to Orem City once they are completed.