Spokespersons for the Northwest Quadrant proposal on Wednesday night made it clear to the council that, while they question both the advisory vote and the need for a November election, they are prepared to proceed if called on it.
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.”
That echoes some of his previous comments to the city.
In a letter to Rob White on Thursday, he indicated that “the process should ensure that the City is well positioned to implement the very best ideas for creating a world-class facility.”
He wrote, “Our suggested approach is to work collaboratively with the City, the County, the Davis community, UC Davis and interested technology companies to create a proposal that works well for everyone.”
He continues, “In our view, significant outreach to all parties within a reasonable period of time is needed to assure the best possible innovation Center, and we further believe that such an approach is consistent with the process the City initiated in its issuance of the RFEI.”
Mr. Hodgson indicated that, while he does not believe it is good public policy or strategically wise to place a ballot measure on the ballot at this time, if the city is inclined to consider that approach, they are requesting the same treatment as the Mace Innovation Proposal.
“We believe it would be in the best interest of the City to ensure both proposals are covered by any such Council action,” he wrote. “We respectfully request that our proposal likewise be advanced.”
“We do not, however, believe that placing any proposal on the ballot at this particular time is good public policy, particularly given the City’s very recent receipt of this information and lack of public input and consideration,” Mr. Hodgson wrote. “The purpose and intent of the RFEI process are sound, and we believe it would be unwise to abandon it. It is unclear what purpose the RFEI served if the City disregards those submittals and elects instead to immediately place a project on the ballot with little public discussion.
On Wednesday, Mr. Hodgson told the Vanguard that the group had submitted a pre-application to the City of Davis for development of an Innovation Center on their 207-acre property near the corner of Hwy 113 and Covell Blvd. He told the Vanguard, “We believe this shows our seriousness and intent in going forward with our proposal.”
PRE-APPLICATION REVIEW: DAVIS INNOVATION CENTER
In response to the City of Davis Request for Expressions of Interest for development of an innovation center, the project team of Hines/SKK respectfully submits this pre-application form. This team brings expertise developing large scale research centers, capacity to meet capital requirements, past work experience with the City of Davis and UCD, and a sincere interest in delivering a project from which the City of Davis and its residents can derive long-term economic stability, job opportunities, far-reaching recognition for innovation, and community pride.
LOCATION AND SETTING
The 207-acre site for the proposed Davis Innovation Center (Project) is located near the corner of Highway 113 and Covell Boulevard, adjacent to the Sutter Davis Hospital to the southeast and Binning Tract to the north. The project site consists of Assessor’s Parcel Numbers (APN): 036-060-05 and 036-020-12 through 036-060-18 (See Figure, 1 Project Location). Surrounding land uses include agricultural uses to the west, and existing residential neighborhoods to the north, south and east.
The project site is currently under agriculture designation, however, provides excellent locational advantages for creating a successful innovation-business hub for the following reasons:
• Closest proximity to the University campus (1-mile) and UC Davis West Village;
• Primary access to the least impacted Highway 113;
• Relatively low-quality agricultural land for development (Class III/IV soil);
• Close proximity to underutilized Yolo County Airport and Sacramento International Airport;
• Adjacency to Sutter Davis Hospital, which provides opportunities for health science and technology partnerships; and
• Property is in the City of Davis Sphere of Influence.
The Project team is uniquely poised to deliver a world-class tech-industry hub allowing Davis to retain young technology entrepreneurs from the UC Davis community and attract successful technology companies eager to grow their discoveries, companies, and revenues. The Project envisions creation of flexible and collaborative work environments that foster innovative thinking, trending business philosophies and the flexibility to expand with the needs of tenants. While the specific project details for site design and building types have not been identified, the Project team believes that for the successful design and implementation of this Project, it is important to incorporate the following goals:
3. Value creation
4. Community input
There are essentially 3 components critical to flexibility by design – 1) space programming, 2) phasing of construction, and 3) mix of building types. Flexibility in the design of buildings, interiors, and outdoor spaces that help to meet the changing needs of emerging practices, new technologies and diverse workforce. Phasing the project to sequentially allow for business growth, while respecting market demand also require flexibility in project implementation strategy. Designing of a mix of building types with respect to intensity of uses, building envelope and character promote experientially interesting places. While adhering to City of Davis’s community attributes and desire for mixing density and building heights, the Project buildings will strive to achieve a minimum of 1.0 FAR (or greater) balanced with premium outdoor amenities (such as collaborative gathering places, outdoor landscaped plazas for both employees and visitors. Flexibility in space programming will also promote seamless flow between interior and outdoor spaces.
High-performance with respect to energy efficient building design, water-sensitive indoors and outdoors and quality in construction is another key ingredient for the success of this Project. All buildings in the Project will be designed to incorporate national or local sustainable design standards and certification procedures (for example, LEED, and Built-it Green). Energy efficient buildings will also help to market to innovative, cutting-edge business tenants who thrive on business productivity increases by reducing operating costs. Inclusion of sustainable building design techniques such as passive solar design, natural daylighting, and ventilation will also promote healthy workplaces and employee satisfaction. The Project will also explore new technologies for integrating solar, wind and other alternative energy sources to maximize on-site energy generation.
Landscape design will integrate low-impact development design strategies (for example, bioswales, bioretention areas) to reduce stormwater runoff and promote climate-appropriate planting that are drought-tolerant and low maintenance. Water conservation strategies will be integrated into interior plumbing design and fixtures and also outdoor irrigation needs.
Creating a successful, world-class Innovation Center in the City of Davis will help to create value for the existing community, by adding high-wage jobs, opening collaboration opportunities with the University, retaining intellectual capital, and enhancing public and alternative transportation systems. A business park as being envisioned here will create new high-paying jobs that will attract and retain high-value employees—giving more highly qualified Davis residents opportunities to live and work in the community. The Project team is confident that tenant demand supports investment and that this project will have a positive effect on the real estate market, affecting demand for residential, commercial, and office/R&D property and increasing property values. The Project will offer incubation spaces for small start-up business and growing mid-to-large size companies, reducing loss through out-migration. Due to the Project site’s close proximity to UC Davis campus, the Project will also offer opportunities for technology transfer capture through student internship opportunities and collaboration with researchers at the University. Finally, the Project will open up opportunities to integrate sustainable transportation concepts within the site and connect with the larger community context. This could be in terms of creating a neighborhood transit system for employees and residents, or by enhancing the Project site’s connections with existing Davis bike paths and public transit.
The Project team believes that a successful Innovation Center should serve both the requirements of tenants and the community. The Davis community, while understanding the need for revenue enhancement, must also feel pride of ownership in the Project and view an Innovation Center as a community asset. The Project team will engage in a thoughtful and open listening process to ensure that a world-class campus reflects the unique culture of those who already live and work in Davis.