Will the City Attract Suitors for a Business Park?


innovation-centerAt the last council meeting, the council unanimously approved the city putting out an RFEI (Request for Expressions of Interest).

As the city explains, “The City of Davis is requesting ‘expressions of interest’ from parties interested in developing Innovation Centers that will serve the Davis research and technology sectors and create a place for Davis technology companies to continue to grow. This RFEI is intended to determine if there is sufficient market interest and alternative options to be considered by the City and its partner agencies. This RFEI may result in a more formal process, but it is currently intended to outline the community’s desires and gain insight in to the concepts for Innovation Centers.”

Here is the full request…

Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI): Davis Innovation Center

Release Date: May 21, 2014

Responses Due: 3 pm PST, June 23, 2014

The City of Davis is requesting “expressions of interest” from parties interested in developing Innovation Centers that will serve the Davis research and technology sectors and create a place for Davis technology companies to continue to grow. This RFEI is intended to determine if there is sufficient market interest and alternative options to be considered by the City and its partner agencies. This RFEI may result in a more formal process, but it is currently intended to outline the community’s desires and gain insight in to the concepts for Innovation Centers.

The City is interested in information about a variety of opportunities, including peripheral locations (like the ones previously identified by the Davis Innovation Park Task Force), downtown locations that lead to densification and mixed use, reuse of commercial centers, repurposing of private and publically owned assets (such as the City’s corporation yards on Fifth Street or the PG&E Corporation yard on Second Street), and densification of existing commercial/industrial centers (such as those in South Davis and along Second Street). The City is open to creativity and encourages respondents to identify new opportunities to meet the demand for increased research and technology business spaces using this process.

In the event there is sufficient interest, the City may, but is not obligated to, initiate a request for proposals and a more formal selection process. The City will be collaborating with its partner agencies, including the County of Yolo, in considering options and next steps based on the information received from the RFEI.

To respond to this RFEI, interested parties should submit a response letter to the City no later than 3 pm PST on June 23, 2104. Total length of the response should be no more than five (5) pages, double-sided with typeface not smaller than 8-point Arial. Submissions greater in length may be rejected or not reviewed. The response letter should address the following:

  1. Statement of interest, including potential team members;
  2. Relevant qualifications demonstrating previous successful projects;
  3. General overview of financial ability to perform (and willingness to demonstrate that ability to the City and its partner agencies in a verifiable manner);
  4. Statement of control of land (and ability to demonstrate that control in a verifiable manner);
  5. General overview of a suggested schedule (timing) should a project be proposed (discuss in months from submittal of a proposal, not as absolute dates);
  6. General overview of benefits to the community (financial, economic, infrastructure, etc.);
  1. Discuss concepts on ways that the “identified community character and desirable guiding attributes” might be met (see list below); and
  2. Provide stock graphics and pictures as examples of building types, heights, character, and surrounding context – should reflect the respondent’s concepts on how they would meet Davis values and objectives from the guiding attributes (should be one of the 10 page response letter).

The submissions will not be used for evaluation, ranking, or selection of respondents as a result of this RFEI. It will not be used to pre-qualify or screen respondents for a subsequent selection process, if any. The responses will be used to demonstrate interest and advise the City and its partner agencies on opportunities.

This RFEI process will result in presentation by City staff of the responses at a public City Council meeting and will allow the Davis City Council the opportunity to direct staff in next steps. Respondents are welcome to attend that meeting and make public comment as appropriate. The date and time of the City Council meeting will be provided to all respondents once the meeting schedule is set.

If subsequent selection opportunities are issued, the City is under no obligation to advise any respondent to this RFEI, although it is the City’s intent to notify all qualified respondents of any such plans.

Responses should be delivered by hand, regular mail, facsimile or email to the following location before 3:00 pm PST on June 23, 2014:

City of Davis

Contact Person: Rob White, Chief Innovation Officer

23 Russell Blvd., Suite 1

Davis, CA 95616


Office (530) 747-5803

Fax: (530) 757-5660

Following is additional information regarding the City of Davis, including:

  • Identified Community Character and Desirable Attributes
  • Information Relevant to an Innovation Center in Davis
  • Relevant Links to Resources
  • An overview of the City and area demographics

This information is meant to guide responses but should not be construed to imply approvals or community approval. Any proposals that may be used as a basis for future discussions will not be determined to imply entitlement approval or electorate outcomes.

Identified Community Character and Desirable Guiding Attributes

The community of Davis has a long history of embracing its surroundings. This includes sustainability goals and protection of agriculture coupled with the dynamic setting created by a top-tier research university and the resultant technology development.

The City has spent many years in developing a vision of the character of its environment, embracing heavily the concepts of quality of life and sustainability. As such the following desirable attributes are derived from approved City planning documents, previous City Council findings and community engagement.

The following list is not comprehensive, but is meant to represent some of the high-level concepts that will be important to the community in considering an innovation center for Davis. Please address each concept below (which are in no particular order of importance) and include descriptions in the Response Letter on how a project proposal might address these guiding attributes.

  1. Ways to achieve a minimum 0.5 floor area ratio (FAR), consistent with the General Plan and previous business park land strategies;
  2. Mix of building types and heights to meet user needs – including potential for corporate headquarter buildings. The City is not looking for general warehousing or processing plants to be part of an innovation center and is highly interested in maximizing density, which should encourage respondents to offer examples of building types that include building heights greater than one or two stories that would be suitable for research, grow labs, commercial services, etc. NOTE: the City is not looking for new elevations or schematics, but stock photos and drawings from other projects that would be reflective of the vision of the respondent;
  3. Significant LEED/sustainability throughout the innovation center (building materials, storm water retention through bio swales, etc.);
  4. Net-zero energy goals – Use of parking and rooftops for energy generation;
  5. Integration of alternative transit (including pedestrian, bike and mass transit);
  6. Engaged and inviting workplace (i.e. open spaces, gathering locations, shared facilities).
  7. Unique parking concepts;
  8. Warehouse uses auxiliary only to research and manufacturing;
  9. Opportunities for densification over time (i.e. parking structures and new buildings);
  10. Potential build out scenario and timing (based on previous experience);
  11. Identified concept on how to meet Measure R/J requirements; and
  12. Acknowledgement of communities current desire for no residential to be included.

Information Relevant to an Innovation Center in Davis

Significant community discussion and formal City Council engagement regarding the development of an Innovation Center in proximity to Davis has been in progress for several years. The City Council has set a policy direction of working with interested landowners and/or Innovation Center proponents to identify appropriate opportunities to create a place for primarily Davis-based research and technology companies to grow.

There is a significant catalogue of studies, reports and workshops that are documented and located on the City’s website under the Innovation Park Task Force heading. This information is located at:


Respondents to the RFEI are encouraged to review this information as part of their assessment for a response.

Relevant Links to Resources

Video of Staff Presentation at the May 13, 2014 City Council Meeting on RFEI for the Davis Innovation Center (starts at hour 2:10:00):


PowerPoint of the May 13, 2014 City Council Meeting on RFEI for the Davis Innovation Center:


Innovation Park Task Force background documents:


2013 Association of University Research Parks (AURP)/Battelle Report on “Driving Regional Innovation and Growth”:


Video of Presentation by Kevin Byrne, President of AURP/President of The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), given at City Hall on May 20, 2014:


City of Davis Overview and Area Demographics

Located in Yolo County in the Central Valley of northern California, the City of Davis offers a high quality of life to a population of approximately 66,000. Home to the University of California, Davis, the City is a unique university and residential community internationally known for its commitment to environmental awareness and implementing progressive and socially innovative programs. Situated at the hub of several highways, a nearby deep-water port, international airport and transcontinental rail lines, the area enjoys considerable location advantages. Interstate 80 and State Highway 113 run through Davis with the junction of these two major roadways located just outside town at UC Davis. Interstate 5 is 11 miles to the north and 13 miles to the east. The Interstate 505 junction is 14 miles west. Just minutes from the State Capitol and a few hours from Lake Tahoe, San Francisco Bay Area and the California coast, Davis offers excellent access for business and recreation.

Davis’ greatest economic and social resource is its residents. Outstanding professional and technical skills, coupled with progressive and innovative thinking make the population a valuable regional asset. Davis residents boast the highest level of education in the state with more than 80% of Davis’ adult population completing a minimum of one year of college training and more than 60% having attained at least a four-year college degree. The average family household income in Davis is $133,640, while the average household income is $89,640, reflecting the large number of student households (2013 ACS).

The highly ranked University of California, Davis has approximately 33,000 students,100 undergraduate majors, 90 graduate programs, 4 colleges (Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, Letters and Science) and 6 professional schools (Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing), more than any other UC campus. UC Davis is also home to numerous academically acclaimed research institutes and the newly established World Food Center. The growing technology sector in the community directly benefits from the ongoing research and intellectual capital generated by the University.

The City recognizes that the availability of high quality broadband fiber (gigabit and above) and other “next generation” communications services is an increasingly important factor for businesses and households in considering where to locate. Access to high quality broadband fiber and communications infrastructure is also important to government, schools and community institutions. The City desires to expand the availability of such infrastructure to serve to all households, businesses and institutions and public facilities throughout the City.


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.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for