Ground was broken in Orem Tuesday for the new student housing development in the former Palos Verdes neighborhood.

The new name of the development, located just east of the Utah Valley University campus and west of Lakeridge Junior High School, is The Green on Campus Drive.

“This has been a long journey but we never gave up the vision,” said Astrid Tuminez, UVU president. “This is a game changer. It will give a sense of belonging, a sense of pride and a sense of inclusion to tens of thousands of students down the road.”

In her comments about the development, Tuminez thanked former president Matthew Holland for having vision for what this project could be.

“In the heat of the battle there’s been frustration,” said Taylor Woodbury, of the Woodbury Corporation. “But we are so proud of what we’re doing. Generations of students will benefit from this project.”

Woodbury is referring to the year of campaigning involving members of Let Orem Vote and the Southwest Orem Neighborhood Association, who sought to stop the project and garnered enough signatures for it to be a proposition on last November’s ballot.

“On the night of the elections we were up by one vote,” Woodbury said. He thanked the city and UVU staff for working hard to make the development happen.

About the name change to The Green on Campus Drive, Woodbury said they knew they wanted to divest of the Palos Verdes stigma. They worked with students and city staff on a number of ideas.

“It pays homage to UVU and to Palos Verdes,” Woodbury said.

Randy Woodbury, president of Woodbury Corporation, emphasized this was a long-awaited occasion.

“This is the premier housing opportunity for students on campus,” Randy Woodbury said. He also said that along with the city of Orem, the Woodbury Corporation is celebrating its 100th year in business.

“We’re excited. This project will make a difference for the next 100 years,” Randy Woodbury said.

The Green will offer 1,605 single-occupancy rooms for the residents, a parking structure and unique amenities to the area, including retail spaces.

“As part of the joint venture between developers, PEG Companies and Woodbury Corporation, the project will include the donation and construction of a pedestrian tunnel to allow for direct walkable access to campus, which will significantly reduce traffic congestion around the university — an area known for transportation gridlock and frequent crashes,” according to a Woodbury press release.

“This will magnify what we can do being so close to campus,” said Mark Reynolds, UVU student body president. “Partnerships with PEG and Woodbury is seriously what UVU is all about. They care about students’ success.”

Orem Mayor Richard Brunst took the time to thank the neighbors who spent time with the university and city council.

“There were 20 iterations to this project before it was finalized,” Brunst said. “It took effort and time and we had a referendum. This will be a benefit to the city and the neighbors but mostly the students.”

Cameron Gunter, CEO of PEG Development, said he was just a kid raised in Idaho. He didn’t expect this project to be as hard as it was.

“In the beginning of this game it was difficult,” Gunter said. “Two other developers had tried this and failed. We do the hard things at PEG. We’re excited to be a part of the university here.”

Gunter added, “I’m an Idaho kid. We don’t whine, we don’t complain, we just get s--- done.”

According to internal research, it is estimated that current student housing facilities collectively only accommodate less than 13 percent of the 39,931 students enrolled at UVU, forcing the large majority of students to either commute from across the Wasatch Front or to find their own lodging.

The first three buildings of The Green on Campus Drive are scheduled to open during the fall of 2020. The remaining two buildings are set to follow in fall 2021. PEG and Woodbury Corporation will work with R&O Construction as the project’s general contractor, and with Humphreys & Partners Architects on the design.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!