Council Reluctant, But Unanimous in Support of Advisory Vote on Innovation Parks

Proposed Location for Mace Innovation Park
Proposed Location for Mace Innovation Park

The ultimate 5-0 vote on Councilmember Rochelle Swanson’s motion belies the vast difference in viewpoints each councilmember has on the process. However, the council did vote 5-0 to bring back language on an advisory vote ahead of a Measure R process for each of the three business park proposals, plus a potential fourth proposal on the city’s 25 acres east of Mace.

Councilmember Swanson moved that “staff come back on July 15, working with applicants and those that want to do an advisory vote, have the language and the money to back up the advisory vote, and then we’ll make a final decision on the 15th.”

Lucas Frerichs would second it. It was clear throughout the discussion that one council member was very much opposed to the concept and three were apprehensive. In addition, while Dan Ramos pushed the idea as a way to provide assurance for Tyler Schilling, the other two potential project teams were opposed to the idea.

Dan Ramos presented language for a potential advisory measure: “Shall the City of Davis pursue a proposal for a 230 acre Innovation and Technology Center, to be located east of Mace Boulevard and north of Interstate 80, which will involve no housing, accommodate the growth needs of existing businesses, enhance employment opportunities and increase the local tax base? Said proposal will undergo environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act and be subject to a Measure J/R vote by the electorate.”

“We are planning to file a formal application for our project, including a detailed project description by September 1, 2014. Our intent is that we will hold public workshops in August to secure public input for our project description,” Mr. Ramos told council. “Our commitment to you is that we will move expeditiously with this process.”

He suggested that the other projects “be allowed to proceed in an identical fashion to what we are doing.” They too would file an application and be allowed “to have their own advisory measure if they so choose.”

Mr. Ramos told council that they, the applicant, would pick up all costs for the advisory measure.

John Hodgson, speaking for the Northwest Quadrant Team, said, “We question the advisory vote, but if there’s going to be one, we’d like to be included and we appreciate Dan’s (Ramos) offer.”

“These things are all happening with 20 minutes’ notice to the other participants,” he told council. “These things are multimillion if not billion dollar decisions. It would be nice to have a process that is a little bit more orderly in following RFEI. Having said that, this is the real world and we’ll deal with it.”

He added, “We will, as aggressively as possible, work on getting a project through. We filed an application with the city today.”

George Phillips, representing the Davis Ranch project, told the council, “We as one of the applicants know that we have quite a bit of work to do in a compressed time period and we are committed to participating in whichever the council defines for the three proponents to follow.” However, he added, “We think advisory measures provide potential benefits and also potential risk.”

He was uncertain about whether the risks outweigh the benefits, “particularly if there’s not a sufficient amount of detail about these proposals available to the public about which they can make their decisions on a public vote. If there is to be an advisory measure we would probably urge that there’s more time allowed for those proposals to take shape.”

“If one proponent is allowed to have an advisory measure, we definitely want to be in that mix and participate,” he said.

Mayor Dan Wolk said while he has little doubt that the council and community would support peripheral economic development, he was concerned about this process.

“Despite this RFEI process,” he said, which he said was great and produced three excellent projects, “we have the council now getting backed into a corner because it’s got this advisory vote pressure coming.”

Dan Ramos said, “We want the advisory vote. It would send a strong signal to have the public weigh in. This is an advisory vote. We want to send a strong signal, to our user, Schilling Robotics, that this community (finds) that this site is acceptable.” He thinks they’ll have a full description by September 1.

Councilmember Brett Lee said “I think this is a bad public policy just to put something relatively unvetted on the November ballot.” He added, “We need to have some sort of vetting process before we just put something out to the voters, we should have confidence that it’s something good for the city of Davis. As it stands now, the wording is just so vague and open. It will be up to the developer in the fall to add specificity, but we don’t really have control over that.”

Rochelle Swanson said, “For me it’s all about retaining our business partner here.” She would add, “We’re going to sit here and decry process. This time it’s a process issue and we’re being told that the timing is bad. We have people who are willing to take the risk. Am I worried about an advisory vote? We don’t know how it’s going to go, but I think it’s the job of council, to set the starting line, the starting gate has to be the same. We have R and everyone needs to do that.”

“Am I thrilled with the process? No,” she said, but her bottom line is saving jobs.

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs indicated that he is not sure he would support the motion. “One thing that’s really quite frustrating… is this issue of being backed into a corner and the sense of urgency on this,” he said. “The RFEI process is working really well, it has been an excellent process so far… Three potential projects have come forward.”

Brett Lee noted, “It’s interesting that two of the respondents are not interested in having an advisory measure on their proposal, unless one goes, then me too.” He added, “To me that tells me that when all of the project details are spelled in their proposal then they will have strong community support and going to the public with a more general hey would you like to develop in the northwest area of Davis near the hospital, they feel like their proposal will be much stronger when all the details are filled in.”

Lucas Frerichs indicated he would be more comfortable with a spring vote rather than November. Rochelle Swanson stated, “They made it very clear last night that it was November.” She added that there was a good point about the advisory vote and the risk involved. “If you put the language that you just described on the ballot and you garner a sixty percent vote you would probably have investors come forward and get behind you.” She argued even if it was just on paper, “they are asking for a temperature read in the community that their investors would say yes we should go forward on this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis made the point that typically a city council would do an advisory vote when they need advice, and “we’re not looking for advice. We don’t need any advice. We know what we want to do, we want to move forward.”

He spoke toward the developers, “I’m not sure you’re going to get what you want.” He added, “I don’t know what you do with a 51-49 either way.” He asked them to consider another route. He suggested a citizens’ initiative as a way to get the certainty that you want, “You won’t get this through this process.”

In the end, Robb Davis said he voted for this motion for one reason, that he questions the wisdom of this approach but he wants to keep Schilling Robotics here. That was really the message that four and possibly all five councilmembers sent.

Brett Lee ultimately voted for the motion with the understanding and a separate motion to allow the city to come forward with its own project potentially on the 25 acres of land that it received east of Mace.

—David M. Greenwald 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.

Related posts

60 Comments

  1. SODA

    How would this work with the Davis Ranch proposal with the 200 acres being given to the city. Is that what you meant at the end with your statement about the 25 acres, was that a typo? If it is city owned, the city would need to pay for the advisory vote correct?

      1. Barack Palin

        That’s another thing I found odd, the council doesn’t like the process but then again they might seek an advisory vote on its city owned property.

        1. David Greenwald

          I think that this is Brett Lee looking for a way to house Schilling if Ramos can’t get a project approved. Just my opinion on that.

  2. davisite4

    Brett Lee ultimately voted for the motion with the understanding and a separate motion to allow the city to come forward with its own project potentially on the 25 acres of land that it received east of Mace.

    This refers to the land that was originally kept out of the Mace 391 easement in order to build a community park, is that correct? Does that mean that the Ramos advisory vote will concern 200 acres, not 230?

    Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis made the point that typically a city council would do an advisory vote when they need advice, “we’re not looking for advice. We don’t need any advice. We know what we want to do, we want to move forward.”

    This seems like a telling point. We’ve got developers seeking advice through our political process. There is something quite disturbing about that, even though the advisory vote might otherwise seem relatively benign.

    Live streaming of the meeting was not working last night. 🙁

    1. Mr. Toad

      The 25 acres was kept out of the 391 deal. The Open Space Commission had a rough idea of some sort of community farm but the council has never weighed in on what should happen with that land.

  3. Barack Palin

    You have to laugh, the council votes for the advisory measure 5-0 but none of them like it therefore leaving themselves an out if it was to fail.

  4. Mr. Toad

    As I watched their deliberations last night the quote often falsely attributed to Winston Churchill came to mind “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”

    Nobody was happy and nobody was in control. The council did what they could to keep Schilling here but the council doesn’t have the power because measure R took that power away from them and gave it to the voters. I looked at Schilling after the vote and after he had been lectured by newly minted council member Robb Davis. Schilling looked angry, frustrated, and beleaguered. It will be a miracle if he stays. Robb Davis went on about the advisory vote and how he didn’t need advise and wasn’t asking for advise. I’ll give you some anyway Robb, your tone was condescending and didn’t match what I expected from you after hearing your friends from the parking task force talk about your thoughtfulness.

    Robb also told Schilling that they might not get what they wanted from an advisory vote. He threw out some numbers 51-49, 49-51, or 53-47 as I recall, arguing that the vote wouldn’t be conclusive. Actually Robb was wrong about this point. A vote in that range would advise Schilling to leave town and that its not worth risking his time and money coming up with a plan that might get voted down. My guess is only a clear and decisive majority vote will keep him here.

    Now we will have two votes because of measure R. One demanded as advisory before developers spend a lot of time and money on a project then a second demanded by the voters who supported measure R. You can argue that Schilling represents a special case and he does because he is already here and needs to grow. Yet this argument misses the point that others who might want to come here look elsewhere because of our “process.” Look no further than UC Davis considering building the World Food Center in Sacramento as a prime example. Sacramento is going to bend over backwards to get the project while we tell interested businesses spend lots of money and time and if you can please a majority of an anti-growth population that never passed a measure J vote you might get to come here. I bet Rob White could list a bunch of companies that looked at Davis and then said no. How many more Mori Seiki size businesses might we be able to attract if we could streamline our “process” to what other communities do?

    It was shameful to watch the city council beg Schilling to stay yet not have the actual power to do what is needed to keep him, provide the clarity he needs to grow his business here. At a time when we can’t even afford to maintain our tennis courts the city council’s hands are tied. If we lose him because our process takes too long or is too uncertain then we will need a new business park just to break even. Measure R was supposed to guarantee our community remain sustainable. It has done just the opposite. It has made doing business here unattractive to the kind of companies that can sustain our lifestyle of public amenities. The Cannery showed that a demanding city council and the threat of a referendum was enough to get good projects. Measure R and Schilling show that the process as currently structured is broken.

      1. Frankly

        I think Robb might be missing the point.

        The Ramos group is looking for help making their decision to invest in the design and proposal. They did their feasibility study and there is a big blinking red light saying “Danger, danger… Davis no-growth people and their reactionary cohorts don’t want a development where you are proposing no matter how great you make it.” They want to test the waters. And correct me if I am wrong, but the Ramos group has more experience developing in Davis than does the other two.

        The other two either believe they are either farther along, think they have better odds, or are naive about the potential for the enemies of growth and progress to derail any attempt to develop on the periphery.

        I have made the point that nobody… even all of us experienced VG posters… knows how a Measure J/R vote on any or all of these business parks would play with Davis voters. We are all apprehensive.

        Let’s say that the advisory vote barely passes or does not pass. Then the developer has to decide if they will take the risk. If the advisory vote is strong, then the developer has clear path and will likely invest more energy into the proposal.

        One question… if all three are on an advisory ballot and all three pass, will we move all three along? I certainly hope so.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “I have made the point that nobody… even all of us experienced VG posters… knows how a Measure J/R vote on any or all of these business parks would play with Davis voters. We are all apprehensive.”

          it’s reasonable to be apprehensive. it is. but the question is whether this will help anything.

          1. Frankly

            It will help the developer make a decision for go or no go. And it will help Schilling decide to plan to stay or plan to leave. Why is that so hard to understand?

          2. Davis Progressive

            it might. but it might be leave a lot of gray area with a close vote. and there’s also the problem of an advisory measure. i remember choice voting passed overwhelmingly as an advisory measure but went down in flames when a real proposal came up. someone told me the water project polled at 70% before the campaign started and ended up narrowly passing.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i didn’t come away with that take at all. robb was addressing the point that many of us are worried about – that an advisory vote will not answer the key questions – especially if we don’t have enough project specifics. robb was not arrogant or condescending, he was pointed but sometimes that’s helpful. he also was not directing his comments to schilling but rather ramos.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      If businesses are effectively told to pound sand by this laborious process, does that mean there will be more incentive to build more homes, to bring in more revenue? Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but this could be a potentially perverse implication.

  5. noname

    “Shall the City of Davis pursue a proposal for a 230 acre Innovation and Technology Center, to be located east of Mace Boulevard and north of Interstate 80, which will involve no housing, accommodate the growth needs of existing businesses, enhance employment opportunities and increase the local tax base?”

    What? No promises of ponies and rainbows for everyone, too?

    What a ridiculous waste of time. The developers’ efforts and money would be better spent on putting together a solid project that pencils out and generates community buy-in and will survive a Measure R vote. A vote on this vague, pie-in-the-sky language would signify nothing. It could pass 80-20. But unless Ramos and friends craft something specific for the final vote, they could lose 25-75. How does that help anyone in this process?

    1. Frankly

      You are talking about a multiple thousands of dollar investment to put a project design together and put it on the ballot just so the population of professional critics and reactionaries can kill it.

      The demand for the advisory vote is a consequence of Measure J/R.

      This is a test of the Davis silent majority. If they don’t come out, then the enemies of progress win again and Davis sinks back into that sinkhole of financial ruin.

        1. Frankly

          Maybe. I think several hundreds of thousands to complete a design and proposal.

          You are just making my point.

          Why make the investment?

          Why waste all the money if it would just be voted down by a city that has a solid track record of voting down developments.

          Look what happened to Mace 391… if I was the Ramos group, I would see that as an ominous sign that the city leadership is kowtowing to the anti-development crowd and it only playing lip service to the need for business parks… or is favoring one or the other.

          I think the hesitancy to approve the advisory vote was already a sign that our city leadership is in fact leaning in toward the no-growther group.

          1. Davis Progressive

            because there’s a billion payoff at the end. plus if you become the developer that brought a business park to davis, you can write your checks for the rest of your career.

          2. Frankly

            Developers like all businesses have limited resources and have to chose the business path that provides the best feasibility of return. You and others that debate this topic seem to not understand the risk-return assessment that goes into all business decisions. The opportunity to make millions (and you need to be real here… Davis will demand amenities above and beyond what other communities demand… and it will cut into the developer profits) is only an opportunity. And that opportunity is only as valuable as is the risk that it will go forward or not.

            There is another strategy. Wait.

            Because the financial pressure building on this town will undoubtedly result in a greater acceptance of economic development. Are we there yet? That is what the advisory vote will help with.

            I get the push back… if there is strong support from and advisory vote, maybe that causes the developer to feel like he is in a stronger position to resist all the myriad of demands that are likely to come out of the woodwork for our entitled population.

            But then the entitled population should have considered that point of leverage when it either went silent on, or pushed the CC on, giving away our $90 million dollar Mace 391 asset that we owned and would have controlled.

            If we are worried about the developer leveraging a strong advisory vote to push back on Davis demands for expensive amenities, then we should favor the Davis Ranch project as we would own it and control it.

          3. davisite4

            I think the hesitancy to approve the advisory vote was already a sign that our city leadership is in fact leaning in toward the no-growther group.

            You’re forgetting that 2 out of the three developers were not enthused about an advisory vote.

          4. David Greenwald

            I think Frankly is misreading this – I don’t see anyone on council not being strongly in favor the projects, the question is best way forward.

          5. Frankly

            That is a reasonable point. There are risks going both ways. It appears that the other two believe they have a better chance, or are more willing to gamble.

          6. Davis Progressive

            i just think we can make this work within the measure j / r framework and we’ll be in better shape.

          7. South of Davis

            DP wrote:

            > because there’s a billion payoff at the end.

            You don’t make a “BILLION” developing an tech park in Davis (out of the guys that have developed dozens of tech parks not even one is a billionaire).

            P.S. to David any news on getting back the “recent comments” on the right side below the ads?

      1. Tia Will

        “if you can please a majority of an anti-growth population ”

        I find this an interesting point for two reasons. If you start out knowing that you have an “anti-growth population”
        should you not respect the majority position ? If you are designing a product, or a development, why would you not design it with the desires of the target group or population in mind. I remember reading an article about Steve Jobs design process in which he desired to make every detail of his products “perfect”, even those that could not be seen or felt by the user. It seems to me that he did pretty well financially.

        We have heard the phrase “Not let the perfect be the enemy of the good” from the dais and in posts a number of times. I favor a different slogan which I would paraphrase as “Don’t let the adequate by the enemy of the best fit”. This is what I feel that we got in the Cannery project. There is no doubt that the people who live there will “enjoy” it. That does not mean that it was the best project for our community considering our stated values. This is the concern I have about going forward with an advisory vote before we have a fully vetted project.

        “I wasn’t telling her what she should do with her money I was saying what I was willing to do with my money. ”

        This comment misses the point that development has a unique feature quite different from the decision to make an individual purchase. A development may be someone else spending their own money, but the impact is on everyone’s environment and ultimately health, safely and wellness. What the attitude inherent in the idea that this is merely “telling someone else what to do with their money” ignores is “money” is not all that is at stake here.
        Also at stake are traffic congestion and flow patterns, increased demands on city infrastructure, decrease in air quality, safety factors, loss of other potential applications for the resources involved, loss of the future decision making of our children and their children. It is not simple, it is not static and only about this moment in time, it is not only about the money.

    2. Mr. Toad

      Actually Schillings time could be better spent working with a jurisdiction that has a sensible process. We are lucky he is so committed to being here that he puts up with this nonsense. The council has kept him here through November. If this town keeps lecturing him about what he should be doing it will be a miracle if he stays.

      David it felt like Robb was lecturing everybody.

      I had a friend a long time ago who got himself elected mayor of Blue Lake, California. A tiny lumber town about the size of Winters. He probably won with 200 votes. There was a dispute about the water system with a local lumber company that owned about 200,000 acres in the county. My friend the mayor declared “The honeymoon with Simpson Timber is over.” So the company clearcut the entire watershed.

      Davis needs Schilling much more than Schilling needs Davis and Robb Davis’ tone didn’t do much to retain Schilling last night.

      1. Davis Progressive

        what davis needs is a coherent policy going forward that is not ad hoc and unpredictable. i think that getting it right on a business park and getting voter approval for two or three in the long run is more important than any one industry. i’m not trying to downplay the jobs and taxes, i’m not even trying to downplay schilling’s important, but if we end up trying to do the wrong process, we end up losing schilling and future clients. that’s bad policy.

        1. Frankly

          But Measure J/R is the thing that makes it unpredictable. You are really advocating doing away with Measure J/R.

          If Schilling goes and these parks do not move forward, I think we are building an argument that might lead to a new measure to significantly alter Measure J/R and maybe even Measure O.

          The enemies of change and development might consider that risk and might stop with their over-exploitation of these things to push their agenda of extremes.

          Measure J/R and O are all “bad policy” with respect to economic development.

          1. Davis Progressive

            i’m really not advocating doing away with measure r at all. i think we can win with good, sound projects. why does everyone think only in terms of covell and whr – both of which were very flawed projects or put forward at the wrong time. no one thinks about wild horse, nugget and target which all passed. btw, cannery was as convoluted as any measure r vote without the measure r vote.

          2. Frankly

            I have heard that many people have explained the same to the Ramco group. And maybe this has started to sink in. But again, none of us really know how the population will respond to request to vote on the development.

            I can just see the conference meetings with the partners for this parcel… they are all bad mouthing the Davis direct democracy process and challenging the idea of sinking maybe millions of dollars into a design and proposal when it will just get shot down.

            Somebody needs to make them feel at ease about this investment.

            I don’t think the CC did a good enough job doing that last night. It was clear that they were being hammered by the reactionaries and no-growthers and were not in favor of any circumvention of Measure R as if is was/is some holy grail of public policy.

            I wish I had been able to attend last night. I am following up with a letter to council, but my message is that there needs to be solidarity in messaging for this. They should stop playing politics and focus on what are the right things for Davis. And there are a lot of citizens in this community that do not have enough information, or are prone to denial, and hence are not in the “good for Davis” space… and worrying about the political consequences of pissing them off means that we end up doing the wrong thing for Davis.

            Do the right thing even if it means your political career might suffer! We elected you to do the right thing not to launch a political career.

      2. Alan Miller

        So your point is, because developers/private corporations can be run be complete pricks that take revenge on entire cities, Davis better be careful, or else. Am I reading your comment correctly?

  6. Barack Palin

    I believe once the citizens of Davis realise all the jobs that will be created along with the new tax revenue that will be generated they will definately vote for the new business parks. Let’s just hope our city council and the crowd that hangs around city hall and tries to control everything doesn’t muck it all up.

    1. Frankly

      I really hope you are right, but my interaction with all these smart VG posters on the subject has me worried.

      I was thinking about this NWQ proposal and for the first time I think I acquired a bit more understanding of the drivers of a no-growther. I live in Stonegate… close to Lake Blvd. Thinking about a big commercial development at the NWQ parcel causes a bit of a flutter thinking about the potential impacts. Lake Blvd is already a problem in that the cops rarely go there and kids drive 50 MPH down it on a regular basis. I would expect the traffic down Lake to multiply exponentially with a NWQ development. In fact, the developers have even trumpeted the proximity to the campus as a benefit… so it is clear that they view Lake as at least part of that traffic connection.

      But my rational mind kicks in real quick and I realize that:

      1. There are opportunities to require the developer to improve Lake Blvd. including traffic calming measures.

      2. The development can include open space and other amenities that I would enjoy.

      3. My kids and their friends might find jobs.

      4. More business for the Delanos market and other retailers.

      5. More tax revenue.

      6. The likelihood that my property values will rise as a result of proximity to that business park.

      7. Improvements to Covell.

      8. More interesting people in and around Davis to make friends with and forge new business relationships with.

      9. Did I mention more tax revenue.

      There are a lot of benefits to be considered, and I hope a lot of Davisites get that and would vote yes on all three of these projects.

      Yes again, the posters on this blog have me worried because they seem to be unable to get rid of the flutter and focus on the positive. They are glass half empty people and I am worried that there are enough of them motivated to vote no.

          1. Mr. Toad

            No I told DP that the first time. This is the problem with measure R. We get 10,000 judges each with their own vision. There is an old joke where I come from. A person is visiting someone with a new homestead with a little tiny cabin and starts telling the owner “If this was my place I’d build an octagon goat shed with stained glass windows.”

            The owner replies “I have some other things to do first.”

            I have a personal rule I don’t try to tell other people what they should do with their property or their money. Lemongello tried to call me out for that the other day but had it wrong. I wasn’t telling her what she should do with her money I was saying what I was willing to do with my money. One is being a busybody the other leading by example, the finest form of teaching.

      1. Jim Frame

        There are opportunities to require the developer to improve Lake Blvd. including traffic calming measures.

        Lake already has traffic-calming improvements, at least north of Arlington. Bulbouts, median islands, stop signs are probably as good as it gets there.

        I would expect some business park traffic to patronize the commercial center on Lake, but little through traffic to/from Russell. Anything coming from UCD would use 113. Trucks would use 113 or Road 98.

        1. Frankly

          Talking about north of Arlington… and there will be traffic coming from west of Davis and from the west end of the campus that will take Pedrirck and some will take Lake fpr various reasons.

          I agree that the market will benefit.

          1. Jim Frame

            Why would anyone coming from the west end of campus bother with Russell Boulevard and Lake when they can zip up Road 98 to Road 31? Maybe a few who want to stop at the market on the way or just don’t know their way around, but I sure as heck wouldn’t go that way.

          2. Frankly

            Or from Arlington.

            Funny, I really mostly agree with you. Playing a bit of devils’ advocate. given the stink over the Russel connection from the University from all the people living in Stonegate.

  7. Mr. Toad

    Something that everybody on the council has missed and except for David’s mention of it in the wrong context are the previous election results. R passed by 3 or four to 1. Parlin WHR lost by the same and Covell lost 60-40. Its obvious that with numbers like that nobody in their right mind wants to spend the money to bring forth a project under the current rules. Maybe with the city reaching out for proposals some groups have expressed interest and have the deep pockets to take the risk. Ramos and Schilling want better visibility before spending a bunch of money. I wonder how much Parlin lost on their WHR proposal in planning and election costs. Robb Davis lectured Ramos (and Schilling whether you or he recognizes it) from the dais about inconclusive advisory election results. I don’t know what they do about a tie but perhaps what is making them shy away from spending a lot of up front money are the 60, 75 or 80 percent votes against development that have occurred in the not so distant past. Robb asked what do you do if you get a 51-49 vote. That may be tough buy if you get a 60- 80 no vote you have a clear answer.

    1. Frankly

      I heard from authority that pre-entitlement costs including the reserves for legal challenges etc. will be about $5 million per proposal. The work for the advisory vote would be $250,000 plus or minus.

      My estimate of total profit for an entitled developer is $450,000 per acre minus development costs and the value of the bare land undeveloped. Or a total of $90 million.

      And I am estimating full project expenses to the developer to be about $25 million. Plus the value of the land today at about $100k per acre or $20 million.

      So we are talking about a $5 million dollar bet for a potential $45 million in profit.

      That is a pretty big bet if you are not confident you would win.

      1. Jim Frame

        Plus the value of the land today at about $100k per acre or $20 million.

        Do you have reliable numbers on this? I would expect unannexed and unentitled raw farmland to go for something closer to $10k per acre. It’s the annexation and entitlement process that accounts for the huge spike in value.

    2. Frankly

      I mean the total gross profit to be $90 million, and the net profit to be $45 million.

      This seems high to me, but then I am being generous to make a point.

      Also remember that there is a value to just holding out and holding on for a development is more a sure thing.

      1. Jim Frame

        Also remember that there is a value to just holding out and holding on for a development is more a sure thing.

        There’s also opportunity cost to holding out and missing the moment. Especially since “development” and “sure thing” are terms that don’t go together in Davis.

        It’s all about timing — catching the intersection between burgeoning demand and rapidly improving voter sentiment. I think those curves are about to cross.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

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