Is Davis Ready for Taller and More Box-like Downtown Buildings?

While the county continues its assault on the borders of the city of Davis from the outside, Davis’ own city council continues its assault on the core character of the city from the inside. Last month, the city approved the destruction of a number of older bungalows in the 3rd and B Street project in favor of three and four story condominiums.

Meanwhile, the council will be deciding on a 4 story, 65 foot building on 403 G Street that contains no setbacks and no stepbacks from the street. The ground floor will contain retail and restaurants and the upper floor offices and condominiums.

The specifics of this project include a giant box shaped building that will rise immediately off the street. It is designed to be a 21,910 four-story building. The project would either demolish or relocate the existing 2500 square-foot single-family residence.

However one feels about the project proposal itself, my own preference would be for a development that is more fitting with the character of downtown, that would include more setbacks and stepbacks from the sidewalk in addition to less of a box-like shape that will really destroy the character of downtown itself, there are actually much bigger consequences in the form of two zoning changes to all of downtown.

City staff has delayed any action taken on this item until a future date. The city council will hold an initial policy discussion on Tuesday and take any public comment. However, they will not vote on any proposal.

The following information is from the planning commission that met on June 27, 2007 to approve this project.

That staff report argues that the relative small size of this particular property, 6,030 square feet, creates a constraint on potential development of the site. Several nearby properties that have been redeveloped are two or three times larger than this property. Thus, in order to develop this site, the applicant is proposing a building that would exceed the allowable floor area ration (FAR) of 3.0. This projected would have a FAR of 3.6.

Instead of simply amending the FAR for this site, the city staff is looking much broader.

“In recognizing the potential development constraints on downtown lots that may prevent effective redevelopment consistent with City policies and objectives, the project also includes an amendment to the zoning ordinance for the C-C (Central Commerical) district.”

The amendment to the zoning ordinance would allow for projects to reach a FAR of 4.0 “based on a project’s ability to achieve additional downtown objectives.”

The amendment would change the FAR which currently reads “the total floor area of a building shall not exceed three times the lot area” and will add:

“except that through Design Review approved by the Planning Commission the allowable floor area ration may be increased up to a maximum of four times the lot area on sites within the Core Expansion North Subarea…”

There would be three “bonuses” one for incorporating design and layout for ground floor retail and restaurant use, one for public plazas and spaces, provision of underground parking, or proximity to a parking structure, and one for saving trees.

This current space would not have a public plaza, so the maximum FAR would 3.75.

In addition to changing the FAR, it also changes the two-story Conditional Use permit (CUP) requirement. This would eliminate a CUP requirement for all structures over two stories. And it would enable the erection of buildings of up to five or six stories without a CUP.

The staff is arguing that the Design Review process,

“which is required for all new buildings or new additions provides an adequate and more appropriate mechanism for reviewing new projects and addressing any issues related to height or design.”

So this proposal in essence does three things, first it building a huge box-like building at 403 G Street, second it enables future buildings to have an FAR of up to 4.0, and third, it will enable the building of much taller building without a CUP.

As with all of these changes, the key question is what do we want our downtown to look like. Drive to the corner of 5th and G, look at the new Chuck Roe Building that is being constructed there and decide whether that is the vision that you have for downtown. Perhaps it is and these kind of projects are fine.

Personally, I have seen some more innovative designs that can utilize more density and mixed uses of retail, office, and residential space in the Downtown Core Area. I think taller buildings that can incorporate plazas, open space, setbacks, and other devices will create a much better visual ambiance that fits with our existing Downtown Core Area. I have concerns about the vertical nature of this project that comes forth immediately from the sidewalk, that will act to close off and inhibit foot and bicycle traffic.

I simply do not believe that we are being creative enough in our usages with this project and am alarmed that the city is making changes that will seemingly make this sort of project more commonplace. Davis needs a discussion about what the future of the Downtown should look like. Densification is a good goal for saving land. But it should be done in a way that enhances rather than detracts from the visual and aesthetic nature of downtown and I simply believe based on the construction of the Roe Building, that this will not serve that sort of purpose.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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68 Comments

  1. brian in davis

    As a basic urban design principle, with ground floor retail in a downtown setting, you generally want reduced or zero setbacks. It encourages window shopping. It also creates the proper sense of enclosure that makes it inviting to walk around. You may disagree, but any urban design text will supports this logic. It is an extension of the downtown shopping experience where most of the buildings are built right up to the street. Plazas are great, but:

    1. Affect the ability to develop the parcel

    2. Affect the ability to mitigate traffic impacts by integrating some on-site off-street parking (a variance will likely be required anyway, or some kind of shared parking arrangement made).

    So are you willing to concede on-site parking for a plaza?

    I haven’t seen the building design but are you certain it’s four stories directly vertical from the sidewalk? Or does the building step back after two or three stories?

    Your opinion on zero setbacks discouraging walking or bicycling is baseless. Think about where the heaviest pedestrian traffic is downtown right now and whether those buildings have setbacks. They don’t.

    While, the devil is in the design details I think it is an appropriate densification of downtown property.

    Yes, the question is what we want the future of downtown to look like. My personal opinion is this is the correct way to go, especially if we want downtown to continue to compete against other shopping options. It seems to me you prefer to preserve downtown (and the rest of Davis) in its current state. I don’t, it’s not going to happen, and it’s probably not healthy, economically for downtown. I think improvements can be made and this is one of them, in my opinion.

  2. brian in davis

    As a basic urban design principle, with ground floor retail in a downtown setting, you generally want reduced or zero setbacks. It encourages window shopping. It also creates the proper sense of enclosure that makes it inviting to walk around. You may disagree, but any urban design text will supports this logic. It is an extension of the downtown shopping experience where most of the buildings are built right up to the street. Plazas are great, but:

    1. Affect the ability to develop the parcel

    2. Affect the ability to mitigate traffic impacts by integrating some on-site off-street parking (a variance will likely be required anyway, or some kind of shared parking arrangement made).

    So are you willing to concede on-site parking for a plaza?

    I haven’t seen the building design but are you certain it’s four stories directly vertical from the sidewalk? Or does the building step back after two or three stories?

    Your opinion on zero setbacks discouraging walking or bicycling is baseless. Think about where the heaviest pedestrian traffic is downtown right now and whether those buildings have setbacks. They don’t.

    While, the devil is in the design details I think it is an appropriate densification of downtown property.

    Yes, the question is what we want the future of downtown to look like. My personal opinion is this is the correct way to go, especially if we want downtown to continue to compete against other shopping options. It seems to me you prefer to preserve downtown (and the rest of Davis) in its current state. I don’t, it’s not going to happen, and it’s probably not healthy, economically for downtown. I think improvements can be made and this is one of them, in my opinion.

  3. brian in davis

    As a basic urban design principle, with ground floor retail in a downtown setting, you generally want reduced or zero setbacks. It encourages window shopping. It also creates the proper sense of enclosure that makes it inviting to walk around. You may disagree, but any urban design text will supports this logic. It is an extension of the downtown shopping experience where most of the buildings are built right up to the street. Plazas are great, but:

    1. Affect the ability to develop the parcel

    2. Affect the ability to mitigate traffic impacts by integrating some on-site off-street parking (a variance will likely be required anyway, or some kind of shared parking arrangement made).

    So are you willing to concede on-site parking for a plaza?

    I haven’t seen the building design but are you certain it’s four stories directly vertical from the sidewalk? Or does the building step back after two or three stories?

    Your opinion on zero setbacks discouraging walking or bicycling is baseless. Think about where the heaviest pedestrian traffic is downtown right now and whether those buildings have setbacks. They don’t.

    While, the devil is in the design details I think it is an appropriate densification of downtown property.

    Yes, the question is what we want the future of downtown to look like. My personal opinion is this is the correct way to go, especially if we want downtown to continue to compete against other shopping options. It seems to me you prefer to preserve downtown (and the rest of Davis) in its current state. I don’t, it’s not going to happen, and it’s probably not healthy, economically for downtown. I think improvements can be made and this is one of them, in my opinion.

  4. brian in davis

    As a basic urban design principle, with ground floor retail in a downtown setting, you generally want reduced or zero setbacks. It encourages window shopping. It also creates the proper sense of enclosure that makes it inviting to walk around. You may disagree, but any urban design text will supports this logic. It is an extension of the downtown shopping experience where most of the buildings are built right up to the street. Plazas are great, but:

    1. Affect the ability to develop the parcel

    2. Affect the ability to mitigate traffic impacts by integrating some on-site off-street parking (a variance will likely be required anyway, or some kind of shared parking arrangement made).

    So are you willing to concede on-site parking for a plaza?

    I haven’t seen the building design but are you certain it’s four stories directly vertical from the sidewalk? Or does the building step back after two or three stories?

    Your opinion on zero setbacks discouraging walking or bicycling is baseless. Think about where the heaviest pedestrian traffic is downtown right now and whether those buildings have setbacks. They don’t.

    While, the devil is in the design details I think it is an appropriate densification of downtown property.

    Yes, the question is what we want the future of downtown to look like. My personal opinion is this is the correct way to go, especially if we want downtown to continue to compete against other shopping options. It seems to me you prefer to preserve downtown (and the rest of Davis) in its current state. I don’t, it’s not going to happen, and it’s probably not healthy, economically for downtown. I think improvements can be made and this is one of them, in my opinion.

  5. Anonymous

    Thank you brian in davis. A voice of reason that understands that towns must grow to thrive and even survive, and that businesses must be competitive. I admire the support for small local businesses, but cities cannot mandate that mom and pop businesses survive, those businesses have to find their nitches and win the competition for customers. If we want our locally owned businesses to survive, we have to give them the planning and design flexibility that allows them to draw customers in and sell their goods and services at a reasonable price. People in this community can attempt to mandate anything that they want, but the forces of the marketplace and capitalism will ultimately overwhelm any attempt by a community like Davis stop them in their tracks.

  6. Anonymous

    Thank you brian in davis. A voice of reason that understands that towns must grow to thrive and even survive, and that businesses must be competitive. I admire the support for small local businesses, but cities cannot mandate that mom and pop businesses survive, those businesses have to find their nitches and win the competition for customers. If we want our locally owned businesses to survive, we have to give them the planning and design flexibility that allows them to draw customers in and sell their goods and services at a reasonable price. People in this community can attempt to mandate anything that they want, but the forces of the marketplace and capitalism will ultimately overwhelm any attempt by a community like Davis stop them in their tracks.

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you brian in davis. A voice of reason that understands that towns must grow to thrive and even survive, and that businesses must be competitive. I admire the support for small local businesses, but cities cannot mandate that mom and pop businesses survive, those businesses have to find their nitches and win the competition for customers. If we want our locally owned businesses to survive, we have to give them the planning and design flexibility that allows them to draw customers in and sell their goods and services at a reasonable price. People in this community can attempt to mandate anything that they want, but the forces of the marketplace and capitalism will ultimately overwhelm any attempt by a community like Davis stop them in their tracks.

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you brian in davis. A voice of reason that understands that towns must grow to thrive and even survive, and that businesses must be competitive. I admire the support for small local businesses, but cities cannot mandate that mom and pop businesses survive, those businesses have to find their nitches and win the competition for customers. If we want our locally owned businesses to survive, we have to give them the planning and design flexibility that allows them to draw customers in and sell their goods and services at a reasonable price. People in this community can attempt to mandate anything that they want, but the forces of the marketplace and capitalism will ultimately overwhelm any attempt by a community like Davis stop them in their tracks.

  9. Anonymous

    Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?

  10. Anonymous

    Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?

  11. Anonymous

    Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?

  12. Anonymous

    Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?

  13. Anonymous

    anonymous 10:07 am,

    Please re-read the first post in this blog, which was posited as a counter-point to DPD’s original post. By providing space that promotes window shopping and easy entrance to retail shops and restaurants, on-site parking and efficient use of land so that rents are not too high for the business to survive, we can actually help the local businesses, which are in fact far and away the preponderance of the current Davis downtown mix. It just won’t look like it did in 1930, which doesn’t mean much to people when they decide where to shop or transact business.

  14. Anonymous

    anonymous 10:07 am,

    Please re-read the first post in this blog, which was posited as a counter-point to DPD’s original post. By providing space that promotes window shopping and easy entrance to retail shops and restaurants, on-site parking and efficient use of land so that rents are not too high for the business to survive, we can actually help the local businesses, which are in fact far and away the preponderance of the current Davis downtown mix. It just won’t look like it did in 1930, which doesn’t mean much to people when they decide where to shop or transact business.

  15. Anonymous

    anonymous 10:07 am,

    Please re-read the first post in this blog, which was posited as a counter-point to DPD’s original post. By providing space that promotes window shopping and easy entrance to retail shops and restaurants, on-site parking and efficient use of land so that rents are not too high for the business to survive, we can actually help the local businesses, which are in fact far and away the preponderance of the current Davis downtown mix. It just won’t look like it did in 1930, which doesn’t mean much to people when they decide where to shop or transact business.

  16. Anonymous

    anonymous 10:07 am,

    Please re-read the first post in this blog, which was posited as a counter-point to DPD’s original post. By providing space that promotes window shopping and easy entrance to retail shops and restaurants, on-site parking and efficient use of land so that rents are not too high for the business to survive, we can actually help the local businesses, which are in fact far and away the preponderance of the current Davis downtown mix. It just won’t look like it did in 1930, which doesn’t mean much to people when they decide where to shop or transact business.

  17. Don Shor

    DPD: “…city council continues its assault…destroy the character of downtown itself…”
    Interesting characterizations.

    “Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?”

    The more people working and living downtown, the better it is for the retail and food service businesses nearby.
    How do you know it will be ugly, by the way? Big buildings aren’t intrinsically ugly. Roe’s building on 5th Street is going to be a big improvement over what was there before.

  18. Don Shor

    DPD: “…city council continues its assault…destroy the character of downtown itself…”
    Interesting characterizations.

    “Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?”

    The more people working and living downtown, the better it is for the retail and food service businesses nearby.
    How do you know it will be ugly, by the way? Big buildings aren’t intrinsically ugly. Roe’s building on 5th Street is going to be a big improvement over what was there before.

  19. Don Shor

    DPD: “…city council continues its assault…destroy the character of downtown itself…”
    Interesting characterizations.

    “Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?”

    The more people working and living downtown, the better it is for the retail and food service businesses nearby.
    How do you know it will be ugly, by the way? Big buildings aren’t intrinsically ugly. Roe’s building on 5th Street is going to be a big improvement over what was there before.

  20. Don Shor

    DPD: “…city council continues its assault…destroy the character of downtown itself…”
    Interesting characterizations.

    “Okay Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: how does designing big ugly buildings, most of which are not occupied with the type of business you are speaking of, further that goal?”

    The more people working and living downtown, the better it is for the retail and food service businesses nearby.
    How do you know it will be ugly, by the way? Big buildings aren’t intrinsically ugly. Roe’s building on 5th Street is going to be a big improvement over what was there before.

  21. voice of reason.

    I see DPD’s arguments to be against the extreme of lifeless box-like buildings downtown. A fantsyland 1940 small-town downtown atmosphere is an equally unacceptable notion. All arguments here have real weight. With full citizen engagement, we can find Davis’ middle ground.

  22. voice of reason.

    I see DPD’s arguments to be against the extreme of lifeless box-like buildings downtown. A fantsyland 1940 small-town downtown atmosphere is an equally unacceptable notion. All arguments here have real weight. With full citizen engagement, we can find Davis’ middle ground.

  23. voice of reason.

    I see DPD’s arguments to be against the extreme of lifeless box-like buildings downtown. A fantsyland 1940 small-town downtown atmosphere is an equally unacceptable notion. All arguments here have real weight. With full citizen engagement, we can find Davis’ middle ground.

  24. voice of reason.

    I see DPD’s arguments to be against the extreme of lifeless box-like buildings downtown. A fantsyland 1940 small-town downtown atmosphere is an equally unacceptable notion. All arguments here have real weight. With full citizen engagement, we can find Davis’ middle ground.

  25. Anonymous

    The building next door to this property has a zero set back. After you go one block past Jack in the Box, the buildings all have zero set backs. The building across the street has a zero set back.

    Having a zero setback is not an issue on this street or this location. It might make it easier to walk – cover from the rain during the winter.

  26. Anonymous

    The building next door to this property has a zero set back. After you go one block past Jack in the Box, the buildings all have zero set backs. The building across the street has a zero set back.

    Having a zero setback is not an issue on this street or this location. It might make it easier to walk – cover from the rain during the winter.

  27. Anonymous

    The building next door to this property has a zero set back. After you go one block past Jack in the Box, the buildings all have zero set backs. The building across the street has a zero set back.

    Having a zero setback is not an issue on this street or this location. It might make it easier to walk – cover from the rain during the winter.

  28. Anonymous

    The building next door to this property has a zero set back. After you go one block past Jack in the Box, the buildings all have zero set backs. The building across the street has a zero set back.

    Having a zero setback is not an issue on this street or this location. It might make it easier to walk – cover from the rain during the winter.

  29. Anonymous

    take a look at the building that replaced the Aggie Hotel- the chen building. it does not go straight up and is appropriate, (despite the controversy in destroying the most historic building in davis!). it’s upper stories are “setback” from the street. the plans for 4th and G are for an ugly building with fake facades- and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street. Think USDA building. Also, the house that is there now is being moved by Bob Bowen’s daughter to 323 I street, where another old house will be destroyed to make way- a plan which she said has been in the works since January. moving this big house will require trees to be cut or move.

  30. Anonymous

    take a look at the building that replaced the Aggie Hotel- the chen building. it does not go straight up and is appropriate, (despite the controversy in destroying the most historic building in davis!). it’s upper stories are “setback” from the street. the plans for 4th and G are for an ugly building with fake facades- and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street. Think USDA building. Also, the house that is there now is being moved by Bob Bowen’s daughter to 323 I street, where another old house will be destroyed to make way- a plan which she said has been in the works since January. moving this big house will require trees to be cut or move.

  31. Anonymous

    take a look at the building that replaced the Aggie Hotel- the chen building. it does not go straight up and is appropriate, (despite the controversy in destroying the most historic building in davis!). it’s upper stories are “setback” from the street. the plans for 4th and G are for an ugly building with fake facades- and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street. Think USDA building. Also, the house that is there now is being moved by Bob Bowen’s daughter to 323 I street, where another old house will be destroyed to make way- a plan which she said has been in the works since January. moving this big house will require trees to be cut or move.

  32. Anonymous

    take a look at the building that replaced the Aggie Hotel- the chen building. it does not go straight up and is appropriate, (despite the controversy in destroying the most historic building in davis!). it’s upper stories are “setback” from the street. the plans for 4th and G are for an ugly building with fake facades- and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street. Think USDA building. Also, the house that is there now is being moved by Bob Bowen’s daughter to 323 I street, where another old house will be destroyed to make way- a plan which she said has been in the works since January. moving this big house will require trees to be cut or move.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “Meanwhile, the council will be deciding on a 4 story, 65 foot building on 403 G Street that contains no setbacks and no stepbacks from the street. The ground floor will contain retail and restaurants and the upper floor offices and condominiums.”

    Because this project has come through the Historic Resources Management Commission process, I have been dealing with it (in a minor way) for more than a year.

    Let me inform your readers that the existing 2,500 sq. foot house will not be demolished. It will be relocated to a traditional neighborhood in Davis. It’s fortunate that Chuck Roe, the owner, has worked so hard to save this historic structure from being demolished. He did not have to do that. He put his own money into saving the house.

    Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the Grieve house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed. (This, of course, is a big problem of changing the nature of the new 3rd & B district.)

    I basically agree with the others regarding the new mixed use building: the zero setback makes a great deal of sense here. In architectural parlance, the building engages the street very well.

    It is quite the opposite of the USDA building at 5th and G, which divorces itself from the street. Maria Ogrydziak, herself a brilliant architect, told me that she thinks the design of 5th & G was a ‘horrible mistake.’ I think most Davis architects agree with Maria on that.

    As far as the pulchritude of the building itself goes, I think it looked great in the drawings. However, some really ugly buildings can be made to look good by talented illustrators. We’ll just have to see when it is in place.

    “Drive to the corner of 5th and G, look at the new Chuck Roe Building that is being constructed there and decide whether that is the vision that you have for downtown.”

    Yes, that building is exactly the way downtown Davis should go. It is excellent in that it engages the street, much like the Crepeville building does at 3rd & C. I would prefer the Roe Building to be four or five stories, but there is not enough parking for that. My ideal would be to have a dense core area, so that people living in that area could walk to all of the services they need. It’s not ideal for families with kids. But that is a preferred lifestyle for a lot of young couples and some older folks.

    I’m surprised that you, David, are so narrowmindedly conservative on this type of change.

    “I think taller buildings that can incorporate plazas, open space, setbacks, and other devices will create a much better visual ambiance that fits with our existing Downtown Core Area.”

    The key point you are ignoring is that most downtown Davis lots are quite small. So having plazas and the like isn’t possible to achieve. That was done at the USDA, but that was built over an entire block — the old Ford car dealership lot for those of us who remember Davis prior to 1995.

    When the old Davis Lumber Building — the one behind the city parking lot between 2nd and 3rd — is demolished, it will most likely include the kind of amenities you are suggesting.

    “I have concerns about the vertical nature of this project that comes forth immediately from the sidewalk, that will act to close off and inhibit foot and bicycle traffic.”

    That is simply a false charge. The new project at 4th & G will not inhibit foot or bike traffic in any way.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “Meanwhile, the council will be deciding on a 4 story, 65 foot building on 403 G Street that contains no setbacks and no stepbacks from the street. The ground floor will contain retail and restaurants and the upper floor offices and condominiums.”

    Because this project has come through the Historic Resources Management Commission process, I have been dealing with it (in a minor way) for more than a year.

    Let me inform your readers that the existing 2,500 sq. foot house will not be demolished. It will be relocated to a traditional neighborhood in Davis. It’s fortunate that Chuck Roe, the owner, has worked so hard to save this historic structure from being demolished. He did not have to do that. He put his own money into saving the house.

    Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the Grieve house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed. (This, of course, is a big problem of changing the nature of the new 3rd & B district.)

    I basically agree with the others regarding the new mixed use building: the zero setback makes a great deal of sense here. In architectural parlance, the building engages the street very well.

    It is quite the opposite of the USDA building at 5th and G, which divorces itself from the street. Maria Ogrydziak, herself a brilliant architect, told me that she thinks the design of 5th & G was a ‘horrible mistake.’ I think most Davis architects agree with Maria on that.

    As far as the pulchritude of the building itself goes, I think it looked great in the drawings. However, some really ugly buildings can be made to look good by talented illustrators. We’ll just have to see when it is in place.

    “Drive to the corner of 5th and G, look at the new Chuck Roe Building that is being constructed there and decide whether that is the vision that you have for downtown.”

    Yes, that building is exactly the way downtown Davis should go. It is excellent in that it engages the street, much like the Crepeville building does at 3rd & C. I would prefer the Roe Building to be four or five stories, but there is not enough parking for that. My ideal would be to have a dense core area, so that people living in that area could walk to all of the services they need. It’s not ideal for families with kids. But that is a preferred lifestyle for a lot of young couples and some older folks.

    I’m surprised that you, David, are so narrowmindedly conservative on this type of change.

    “I think taller buildings that can incorporate plazas, open space, setbacks, and other devices will create a much better visual ambiance that fits with our existing Downtown Core Area.”

    The key point you are ignoring is that most downtown Davis lots are quite small. So having plazas and the like isn’t possible to achieve. That was done at the USDA, but that was built over an entire block — the old Ford car dealership lot for those of us who remember Davis prior to 1995.

    When the old Davis Lumber Building — the one behind the city parking lot between 2nd and 3rd — is demolished, it will most likely include the kind of amenities you are suggesting.

    “I have concerns about the vertical nature of this project that comes forth immediately from the sidewalk, that will act to close off and inhibit foot and bicycle traffic.”

    That is simply a false charge. The new project at 4th & G will not inhibit foot or bike traffic in any way.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “Meanwhile, the council will be deciding on a 4 story, 65 foot building on 403 G Street that contains no setbacks and no stepbacks from the street. The ground floor will contain retail and restaurants and the upper floor offices and condominiums.”

    Because this project has come through the Historic Resources Management Commission process, I have been dealing with it (in a minor way) for more than a year.

    Let me inform your readers that the existing 2,500 sq. foot house will not be demolished. It will be relocated to a traditional neighborhood in Davis. It’s fortunate that Chuck Roe, the owner, has worked so hard to save this historic structure from being demolished. He did not have to do that. He put his own money into saving the house.

    Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the Grieve house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed. (This, of course, is a big problem of changing the nature of the new 3rd & B district.)

    I basically agree with the others regarding the new mixed use building: the zero setback makes a great deal of sense here. In architectural parlance, the building engages the street very well.

    It is quite the opposite of the USDA building at 5th and G, which divorces itself from the street. Maria Ogrydziak, herself a brilliant architect, told me that she thinks the design of 5th & G was a ‘horrible mistake.’ I think most Davis architects agree with Maria on that.

    As far as the pulchritude of the building itself goes, I think it looked great in the drawings. However, some really ugly buildings can be made to look good by talented illustrators. We’ll just have to see when it is in place.

    “Drive to the corner of 5th and G, look at the new Chuck Roe Building that is being constructed there and decide whether that is the vision that you have for downtown.”

    Yes, that building is exactly the way downtown Davis should go. It is excellent in that it engages the street, much like the Crepeville building does at 3rd & C. I would prefer the Roe Building to be four or five stories, but there is not enough parking for that. My ideal would be to have a dense core area, so that people living in that area could walk to all of the services they need. It’s not ideal for families with kids. But that is a preferred lifestyle for a lot of young couples and some older folks.

    I’m surprised that you, David, are so narrowmindedly conservative on this type of change.

    “I think taller buildings that can incorporate plazas, open space, setbacks, and other devices will create a much better visual ambiance that fits with our existing Downtown Core Area.”

    The key point you are ignoring is that most downtown Davis lots are quite small. So having plazas and the like isn’t possible to achieve. That was done at the USDA, but that was built over an entire block — the old Ford car dealership lot for those of us who remember Davis prior to 1995.

    When the old Davis Lumber Building — the one behind the city parking lot between 2nd and 3rd — is demolished, it will most likely include the kind of amenities you are suggesting.

    “I have concerns about the vertical nature of this project that comes forth immediately from the sidewalk, that will act to close off and inhibit foot and bicycle traffic.”

    That is simply a false charge. The new project at 4th & G will not inhibit foot or bike traffic in any way.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “Meanwhile, the council will be deciding on a 4 story, 65 foot building on 403 G Street that contains no setbacks and no stepbacks from the street. The ground floor will contain retail and restaurants and the upper floor offices and condominiums.”

    Because this project has come through the Historic Resources Management Commission process, I have been dealing with it (in a minor way) for more than a year.

    Let me inform your readers that the existing 2,500 sq. foot house will not be demolished. It will be relocated to a traditional neighborhood in Davis. It’s fortunate that Chuck Roe, the owner, has worked so hard to save this historic structure from being demolished. He did not have to do that. He put his own money into saving the house.

    Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the Grieve house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed. (This, of course, is a big problem of changing the nature of the new 3rd & B district.)

    I basically agree with the others regarding the new mixed use building: the zero setback makes a great deal of sense here. In architectural parlance, the building engages the street very well.

    It is quite the opposite of the USDA building at 5th and G, which divorces itself from the street. Maria Ogrydziak, herself a brilliant architect, told me that she thinks the design of 5th & G was a ‘horrible mistake.’ I think most Davis architects agree with Maria on that.

    As far as the pulchritude of the building itself goes, I think it looked great in the drawings. However, some really ugly buildings can be made to look good by talented illustrators. We’ll just have to see when it is in place.

    “Drive to the corner of 5th and G, look at the new Chuck Roe Building that is being constructed there and decide whether that is the vision that you have for downtown.”

    Yes, that building is exactly the way downtown Davis should go. It is excellent in that it engages the street, much like the Crepeville building does at 3rd & C. I would prefer the Roe Building to be four or five stories, but there is not enough parking for that. My ideal would be to have a dense core area, so that people living in that area could walk to all of the services they need. It’s not ideal for families with kids. But that is a preferred lifestyle for a lot of young couples and some older folks.

    I’m surprised that you, David, are so narrowmindedly conservative on this type of change.

    “I think taller buildings that can incorporate plazas, open space, setbacks, and other devices will create a much better visual ambiance that fits with our existing Downtown Core Area.”

    The key point you are ignoring is that most downtown Davis lots are quite small. So having plazas and the like isn’t possible to achieve. That was done at the USDA, but that was built over an entire block — the old Ford car dealership lot for those of us who remember Davis prior to 1995.

    When the old Davis Lumber Building — the one behind the city parking lot between 2nd and 3rd — is demolished, it will most likely include the kind of amenities you are suggesting.

    “I have concerns about the vertical nature of this project that comes forth immediately from the sidewalk, that will act to close off and inhibit foot and bicycle traffic.”

    That is simply a false charge. The new project at 4th & G will not inhibit foot or bike traffic in any way.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “… and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street.”

    The only trees that will be destroyed will be done so in order to move the old Grieve house. If Roe had decided instead to demolish the historic home, he could have saved all the street trees. So that was the choice: destroy a few trees or destroy the house.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “… and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street.”

    The only trees that will be destroyed will be done so in order to move the old Grieve house. If Roe had decided instead to demolish the historic home, he could have saved all the street trees. So that was the choice: destroy a few trees or destroy the house.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “… and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street.”

    The only trees that will be destroyed will be done so in order to move the old Grieve house. If Roe had decided instead to demolish the historic home, he could have saved all the street trees. So that was the choice: destroy a few trees or destroy the house.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “… and will necessitate removing some of or all of the sycamore trees lining that side of the street.”

    The only trees that will be destroyed will be done so in order to move the old Grieve house. If Roe had decided instead to demolish the historic home, he could have saved all the street trees. So that was the choice: destroy a few trees or destroy the house.

  41. 無名 - wu ming

    i would love for all the non-historic buldings downtown to be replaced by taller, mixed-use buildings with housing (rental as well as owner-occupied) downtown. while i tend to agree that the aesthetics of the roe building (and to that i would add the pence gallery and lofts) leaves much to be desired, i’m all for taller buildings downtown. we ought to be encouraging architecture that blends into the old brick buildings like the anderson bank building and the aggie hotel that is no more, IMO.

    if possible, the trees ought to be preserved, but i don’t mind the lack of setbacks in a general sense.

    get that population close to the train station, close to the university, close to the downtown, and the city is better prepared for the future of expensive gas that we’re heading towards. if you don’t like sprawl, build up in central locations.

    (as an aside, were these new tall buildings to be basically office towers without lots of residential units, my enthusiasm for them ends)

  42. 無名 - wu ming

    i would love for all the non-historic buldings downtown to be replaced by taller, mixed-use buildings with housing (rental as well as owner-occupied) downtown. while i tend to agree that the aesthetics of the roe building (and to that i would add the pence gallery and lofts) leaves much to be desired, i’m all for taller buildings downtown. we ought to be encouraging architecture that blends into the old brick buildings like the anderson bank building and the aggie hotel that is no more, IMO.

    if possible, the trees ought to be preserved, but i don’t mind the lack of setbacks in a general sense.

    get that population close to the train station, close to the university, close to the downtown, and the city is better prepared for the future of expensive gas that we’re heading towards. if you don’t like sprawl, build up in central locations.

    (as an aside, were these new tall buildings to be basically office towers without lots of residential units, my enthusiasm for them ends)

  43. 無名 - wu ming

    i would love for all the non-historic buldings downtown to be replaced by taller, mixed-use buildings with housing (rental as well as owner-occupied) downtown. while i tend to agree that the aesthetics of the roe building (and to that i would add the pence gallery and lofts) leaves much to be desired, i’m all for taller buildings downtown. we ought to be encouraging architecture that blends into the old brick buildings like the anderson bank building and the aggie hotel that is no more, IMO.

    if possible, the trees ought to be preserved, but i don’t mind the lack of setbacks in a general sense.

    get that population close to the train station, close to the university, close to the downtown, and the city is better prepared for the future of expensive gas that we’re heading towards. if you don’t like sprawl, build up in central locations.

    (as an aside, were these new tall buildings to be basically office towers without lots of residential units, my enthusiasm for them ends)

  44. 無名 - wu ming

    i would love for all the non-historic buldings downtown to be replaced by taller, mixed-use buildings with housing (rental as well as owner-occupied) downtown. while i tend to agree that the aesthetics of the roe building (and to that i would add the pence gallery and lofts) leaves much to be desired, i’m all for taller buildings downtown. we ought to be encouraging architecture that blends into the old brick buildings like the anderson bank building and the aggie hotel that is no more, IMO.

    if possible, the trees ought to be preserved, but i don’t mind the lack of setbacks in a general sense.

    get that population close to the train station, close to the university, close to the downtown, and the city is better prepared for the future of expensive gas that we’re heading towards. if you don’t like sprawl, build up in central locations.

    (as an aside, were these new tall buildings to be basically office towers without lots of residential units, my enthusiasm for them ends)

  45. Rich Rifkin

    “Will the new building at 4th and G have offices and condominiums or just office condominiums?”

    No residential. I believe all of the office portion will be sold as ‘office condos.’ I’m not sure if he will rent or sell the commercial space on the ground floor.

    One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically, because of the cost of ‘litigation insurance.’

    Thanks to the trial lawyers, (almost) every time a residential condo project is built, the builder is sued. The cost of defending against these nuissance suits is enormous. Therefore, banks that lend money to developers of any residential condo project require that they purchase ‘litigation insurance.’

    That is just a cost of doing business when a developer builds 500 or more units. But when the project has only 4 or 8 units, like The Roe Building, the cost of insurance can make a profitable project into a huge loser, even if you never lose a lawsuit.

    Roe told me there is a great amount of demand for residential condos in downtown Davis. However, because of his experience with the lititgation insurance, he could not afford to put any residential units in 4th & G. The scale would not support it.

    I never asked him why he didn’t consider for rent apartments in that building, but I assume it’s because they don’t pencil out as well.

  46. Rich Rifkin

    “Will the new building at 4th and G have offices and condominiums or just office condominiums?”

    No residential. I believe all of the office portion will be sold as ‘office condos.’ I’m not sure if he will rent or sell the commercial space on the ground floor.

    One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically, because of the cost of ‘litigation insurance.’

    Thanks to the trial lawyers, (almost) every time a residential condo project is built, the builder is sued. The cost of defending against these nuissance suits is enormous. Therefore, banks that lend money to developers of any residential condo project require that they purchase ‘litigation insurance.’

    That is just a cost of doing business when a developer builds 500 or more units. But when the project has only 4 or 8 units, like The Roe Building, the cost of insurance can make a profitable project into a huge loser, even if you never lose a lawsuit.

    Roe told me there is a great amount of demand for residential condos in downtown Davis. However, because of his experience with the lititgation insurance, he could not afford to put any residential units in 4th & G. The scale would not support it.

    I never asked him why he didn’t consider for rent apartments in that building, but I assume it’s because they don’t pencil out as well.

  47. Rich Rifkin

    “Will the new building at 4th and G have offices and condominiums or just office condominiums?”

    No residential. I believe all of the office portion will be sold as ‘office condos.’ I’m not sure if he will rent or sell the commercial space on the ground floor.

    One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically, because of the cost of ‘litigation insurance.’

    Thanks to the trial lawyers, (almost) every time a residential condo project is built, the builder is sued. The cost of defending against these nuissance suits is enormous. Therefore, banks that lend money to developers of any residential condo project require that they purchase ‘litigation insurance.’

    That is just a cost of doing business when a developer builds 500 or more units. But when the project has only 4 or 8 units, like The Roe Building, the cost of insurance can make a profitable project into a huge loser, even if you never lose a lawsuit.

    Roe told me there is a great amount of demand for residential condos in downtown Davis. However, because of his experience with the lititgation insurance, he could not afford to put any residential units in 4th & G. The scale would not support it.

    I never asked him why he didn’t consider for rent apartments in that building, but I assume it’s because they don’t pencil out as well.

  48. Rich Rifkin

    “Will the new building at 4th and G have offices and condominiums or just office condominiums?”

    No residential. I believe all of the office portion will be sold as ‘office condos.’ I’m not sure if he will rent or sell the commercial space on the ground floor.

    One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically, because of the cost of ‘litigation insurance.’

    Thanks to the trial lawyers, (almost) every time a residential condo project is built, the builder is sued. The cost of defending against these nuissance suits is enormous. Therefore, banks that lend money to developers of any residential condo project require that they purchase ‘litigation insurance.’

    That is just a cost of doing business when a developer builds 500 or more units. But when the project has only 4 or 8 units, like The Roe Building, the cost of insurance can make a profitable project into a huge loser, even if you never lose a lawsuit.

    Roe told me there is a great amount of demand for residential condos in downtown Davis. However, because of his experience with the lititgation insurance, he could not afford to put any residential units in 4th & G. The scale would not support it.

    I never asked him why he didn’t consider for rent apartments in that building, but I assume it’s because they don’t pencil out as well.

  49. Rich Rifkin

    “This doesn’t seem like a good way to plan. The building’s plans has those fake, non utilitarian “overhangs” that you see in just about every strip mall (look at the fake overhangs at the Cost Plus plaza).”

    I’m not an architect or a planner or even on the planning commission. It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies, is nice looking. I think, in the context of that neighborhood — the USDA and McCormick buildings — the 4th & G project will fit in and be an asset. It will fit in even better once the ugly single story buildings on the west side of G, between 4th and 5th, are replaced by similar structures.

    I should note that one of the architects on the HRMC, Gale Sosnick, agrees with you. She told Roe in our meeting that his building was unattractive. I don’t recall any of the other architects on our commission offering such a specific opinion.

  50. Rich Rifkin

    “This doesn’t seem like a good way to plan. The building’s plans has those fake, non utilitarian “overhangs” that you see in just about every strip mall (look at the fake overhangs at the Cost Plus plaza).”

    I’m not an architect or a planner or even on the planning commission. It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies, is nice looking. I think, in the context of that neighborhood — the USDA and McCormick buildings — the 4th & G project will fit in and be an asset. It will fit in even better once the ugly single story buildings on the west side of G, between 4th and 5th, are replaced by similar structures.

    I should note that one of the architects on the HRMC, Gale Sosnick, agrees with you. She told Roe in our meeting that his building was unattractive. I don’t recall any of the other architects on our commission offering such a specific opinion.

  51. Rich Rifkin

    “This doesn’t seem like a good way to plan. The building’s plans has those fake, non utilitarian “overhangs” that you see in just about every strip mall (look at the fake overhangs at the Cost Plus plaza).”

    I’m not an architect or a planner or even on the planning commission. It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies, is nice looking. I think, in the context of that neighborhood — the USDA and McCormick buildings — the 4th & G project will fit in and be an asset. It will fit in even better once the ugly single story buildings on the west side of G, between 4th and 5th, are replaced by similar structures.

    I should note that one of the architects on the HRMC, Gale Sosnick, agrees with you. She told Roe in our meeting that his building was unattractive. I don’t recall any of the other architects on our commission offering such a specific opinion.

  52. Rich Rifkin

    “This doesn’t seem like a good way to plan. The building’s plans has those fake, non utilitarian “overhangs” that you see in just about every strip mall (look at the fake overhangs at the Cost Plus plaza).”

    I’m not an architect or a planner or even on the planning commission. It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies, is nice looking. I think, in the context of that neighborhood — the USDA and McCormick buildings — the 4th & G project will fit in and be an asset. It will fit in even better once the ugly single story buildings on the west side of G, between 4th and 5th, are replaced by similar structures.

    I should note that one of the architects on the HRMC, Gale Sosnick, agrees with you. She told Roe in our meeting that his building was unattractive. I don’t recall any of the other architects on our commission offering such a specific opinion.

  53. Rich Rifkin

    “It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies…”

    Let me correct that. There are no balconies, now that I think about it.

  54. Rich Rifkin

    “It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies…”

    Let me correct that. There are no balconies, now that I think about it.

  55. Rich Rifkin

    “It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies…”

    Let me correct that. There are no balconies, now that I think about it.

  56. Rich Rifkin

    “It is simply my opinion that the buiding itself, including its balconies…”

    Let me correct that. There are no balconies, now that I think about it.

  57. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin wrote:
    “Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the [403 G Street] house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed.”

    Seems like an inverted Catch-22 “reality” Rich describes here. As Joseph Heller, author of the eponymously-titled novel wrote (a classic example of “circular logic):

    In the book, “Catch-22” is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic of which, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions. In Heller’s own words regarding a WWII combat flyer’s desire to no longer participate in the insanity of war:

    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Lieutentant Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.

    Perhaps a more succinct description of this type of “logic” was emitted, circa 1967, by a Pentagon spokesperson explaining why a certain Vietnamese hamlet was destroyed:

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

  58. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin wrote:
    “Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the [403 G Street] house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed.”

    Seems like an inverted Catch-22 “reality” Rich describes here. As Joseph Heller, author of the eponymously-titled novel wrote (a classic example of “circular logic):

    In the book, “Catch-22” is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic of which, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions. In Heller’s own words regarding a WWII combat flyer’s desire to no longer participate in the insanity of war:

    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Lieutentant Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.

    Perhaps a more succinct description of this type of “logic” was emitted, circa 1967, by a Pentagon spokesperson explaining why a certain Vietnamese hamlet was destroyed:

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

  59. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin wrote:
    “Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the [403 G Street] house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed.”

    Seems like an inverted Catch-22 “reality” Rich describes here. As Joseph Heller, author of the eponymously-titled novel wrote (a classic example of “circular logic):

    In the book, “Catch-22” is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic of which, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions. In Heller’s own words regarding a WWII combat flyer’s desire to no longer participate in the insanity of war:

    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Lieutentant Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.

    Perhaps a more succinct description of this type of “logic” was emitted, circa 1967, by a Pentagon spokesperson explaining why a certain Vietnamese hamlet was destroyed:

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

  60. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin wrote:
    “Because the neighborhood has changed so drastically from the time it was built, the [403 G Street] house could not be saved by our existing ordinances. It lost its historic merit when the neighborhood changed.”

    Seems like an inverted Catch-22 “reality” Rich describes here. As Joseph Heller, author of the eponymously-titled novel wrote (a classic example of “circular logic):

    In the book, “Catch-22” is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic of which, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions. In Heller’s own words regarding a WWII combat flyer’s desire to no longer participate in the insanity of war:

    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Lieutentant Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.

    Perhaps a more succinct description of this type of “logic” was emitted, circa 1967, by a Pentagon spokesperson explaining why a certain Vietnamese hamlet was destroyed:

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

  61. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin:
    “One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically…”

    UC Davis got uncharacteristically creative in financing the building of Aggie Village (just west of the Borders strip mall), which is a development that truly respects its human inhabitants in terms of the density, parking, access to downtown. Plus it fulfills the quality of life…take a stroll through the quiet neighborhood (notice the porches, which, of course are designed to integrate life with the structures…) streets of Aggie Village and you’ll think you’re not caught up in the hustle-bustle of downtown.

  62. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin:
    “One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically…”

    UC Davis got uncharacteristically creative in financing the building of Aggie Village (just west of the Borders strip mall), which is a development that truly respects its human inhabitants in terms of the density, parking, access to downtown. Plus it fulfills the quality of life…take a stroll through the quiet neighborhood (notice the porches, which, of course are designed to integrate life with the structures…) streets of Aggie Village and you’ll think you’re not caught up in the hustle-bustle of downtown.

  63. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin:
    “One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically…”

    UC Davis got uncharacteristically creative in financing the building of Aggie Village (just west of the Borders strip mall), which is a development that truly respects its human inhabitants in terms of the density, parking, access to downtown. Plus it fulfills the quality of life…take a stroll through the quiet neighborhood (notice the porches, which, of course are designed to integrate life with the structures…) streets of Aggie Village and you’ll think you’re not caught up in the hustle-bustle of downtown.

  64. Anonymous

    Rich Rifkin:
    “One thing Chuck Roe told me is that building small scale residential condos — such as his 5th and G project — is almost impossible economically…”

    UC Davis got uncharacteristically creative in financing the building of Aggie Village (just west of the Borders strip mall), which is a development that truly respects its human inhabitants in terms of the density, parking, access to downtown. Plus it fulfills the quality of life…take a stroll through the quiet neighborhood (notice the porches, which, of course are designed to integrate life with the structures…) streets of Aggie Village and you’ll think you’re not caught up in the hustle-bustle of downtown.

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