The ceremonial ground breaking for a hotel expected to open January 2010 on the southern edge of campus took place on Thursday, with representatives from the University Hospitality Group, Hyatt, the city of Davis and UC Davis officials including Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
The majority of funding for the 75-room Hyatt Place boutique hotel comes from the University Hospitality Group, which is acting as the developer of the project and will staff and manage the hotel upon its completion.
“Planning for this project goes back into the late 1980s,” Chancellor Vanderhoef said in his ceremonial opening speech. “That’s how long we’ve been thinking about this, I’m excited that we finally have gotten here today.“
Vanderhoef said in his speech that he hopes this hotel, along with the new conference center being constructed directly across from the Mondavi Center, will increase attention not only to the university but also to the surrounding community.
“Conferences are not just 75 people” Vanderhoef said. “The traffic produced by this hotel will spill over into the community, and people who would normally go to larger venues in San Francisco will notice that this is UC Davis.“
The hotel, conference center, as well as the new Graduate School of Management building – all of which are located directly adjacent to the Buehler Alumni Center – are being constructed through a partnership between two Sacramento-based construction companies, Tricorp and Tony Moayed Construction Service (TMCS).
“The goal for this project is to have a first rate hotel together with the conference center,” Vanderhoef said.
The two companies have worked on campus since 1994 and are responsible for the construction of a number of major buildings including the Activities and Recreation Center, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Buehler Alumni Center. They are also currently in the process of constructing the new Student Health and Wellness Center on La Rue Drive, the new Graduate School of Management and the conference center, which will include a restaurant.
“We’re based out of Sacramento but we do work from the Bay area to Reno,” said Tony Moayed, president of TMCS construction. “[The university] is not one of our biggest contractors; we’re currently doing work on the Sacramento airport and we were also involved in a number of renovations in the capitol area downtown.“
The hotel will be open to the public, and along with the planned restaurant will be run by the University Hospitality Group, which is currently leasing the land from the university.
“The Hyatt Place is a new brand,“ said Mary Hayakawa, executive director for real estate services in UC Davis‘ Office of Resource Management and Planning. “It’s a little more contemporary, this along with one that’s being built in Roseville will be the first two [of this brand] on the West Coast.“
The conference center and graduate school of management are expected to open this fall.
“This project will complement the ARC and Freeborn Hall, which are usually used for conferences,” Hayakawa said. “It will give us the opportunity to host academic conferences that we really don’t have the capacity for right now.“
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.