Downtown Davis Powered by the People

DTD_Border_Logo_cmyk_7_12By Michael Bisch and Joshua Chapman

All too often, economic development is considered synonymous with real estate development in our lively community debates. The reality is that many individuals and organizations regularly generate economic activity in our community, most of whom have no connection with real estate development.

The Chamber of Commerce, Yolo County Visitors Bureau and Davis Downtown are primary examples of local economic developers, although many more also contribute. As leaders of Davis Downtown, we hope you’ll share our enthusiasm for what our dynamic organization does to spur economic activity.

As a nonprofit organization, Davis Downtown makes prudent use each year of a $140,000 budget funded by assessment fees from downtown business and property owners. These dollars are devoted almost entirely to economic development efforts, both directly and indirectly.

Our mission is carried out by a highly motivated professional staff of four and an all-volunteer board of directors and committee members. It is worth reflecting upon some of the activities Davis Downtown has either started or completed in 2013 to encourage more downtown visits, while steadily improving downtown as a hotbed of entrepreneurial and creative activity:

* Welcome-back concert on Saturday: Yes, a free street concert! Come downtown Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. to welcome UC Davis students and regional visitors. While D Street will be closed to vehicles between First and Second streets, it will be open for your enjoyment of six touring bands. The concert is sponsored by First Northern Bank. The seventh annual Jazz and Beat Festival, presented by the John Natsoulas Gallery, also will take place this weekend. Downtown will be hopping!

* Integrated downtown website and iPhone app: Davis Downtown has designed and launched the nation’s first fully integrated website and iPhone app for a shopping, dining, art and entertainment district, at http://davisdowntown.com.

Want to know what’s happening downtown on any given day of the week? Check out our events calendar. Want to enjoy a happy hour cocktail with your friends? Check out our happy hour listings. Want to know which retailers are running a sale? Check out our shopping listings. Want to share your downtown experience? Post a photo. All this and more can be explored virtually on our website and app. Real-time parking space availability? Coming soon!

* Wayfinding and parking management: Davis Downtown is working closely with the city of Davis to design, fabricate and install significantly more user-friendly signage to direct residents and visitors to destinations, such as the Davis Farmers Market, UC Davis and public parking lots and structures.

Paired with this effort, Davis Downtown is working collaboratively with the city and the Downtown Parking Task Force to develop and implement a new integrated downtown parking management plan to provide every downtown visitor an even more enjoyable experience.

* Downtown gateway improvement project: We have long felt that the primary entrance to downtown, the area around the Richards Boulevard tunnel, could use significant aesthetic and functional improvements. This is where visitors form their first impressions of our community.

In its current condition, the gateway fails to communicate anything about the character of our community, our history or our aspirations. Together with our partners — the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the city of Davis — we are developing design concepts that will be presented to the public for input to be followed by construction. Stay tuned for more details.

Following are additional programs and activities Davis Downtown has completed or initiated in 2013: Second Friday ArtAbout, downtown gift card, Sidewalk Sales, Valentine’s Day HeartAbout, May Bike Month, Halloween Treat Trail, Zombie Crawl, ARTober, summer concert series, Day of the Dead Festival, 12 Days of Downtown Davis, Discover Downtown Instagram contest and Discover Downtown Davis Fall Welcome Week.

In partnership with other community organizations, Davis Downtown also offered financial, promotional or organizational support to the following 2013 initiatives: A&E District/Arts Alliance, Davisbarnstorming Crowdsourcing/Placemaking, Fall Welcome, Pajamarino, Holiday Tree Lighting, Picnic Day, Aggie athletics events, Davis Music Festival, Jazz/Beat Festival, Tour de Cluck, Davis Art Center’s Discovery Art Program, Mother’s Day Tea, Soup’s On, downtown art and murals, Clips Beer and Film Festival, Rock Band University in E Street Plaza, Yolo Small Business Summit, Good Health Festival, Fourth of July Criterium, Davis High School Grad Night, ASUCD, A Taste of Davis, St. Baldrick’s Day, Davis Beer Week, Radiate Art Artists Collective and Downtown Giving Meter.

As much as Davis Downtown has accomplished toward economic development this year, our efforts are but one piece of the pie. The cumulative efforts of our members create impressive results. The shopping, dining, arts and entertainment, hospitality accommodations, professional services, social services and more offered in the downtown area result in an estimated 3,100 downtown jobs, $990,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city, $617,000 in annual hotel room tax revenue to the city, and an estimated $1.3 million in annual property tax revenue to the city and the Davis Joint Unified School District, all within a 96-acre area developed many generations ago. This economic activity is in addition to the downtown’s key role as a gathering place for the community.

All of this is critical to fostering a sustainable Davis community. So if you want to know what economic development looks, sounds, tastes and feels like without requiring further open space development, go downtown!

— Michael Bisch is president of Davis Downtown and Joshua Chapman is vice president.

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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94 Comments

  1. Anon

    Just curious – does the statement “So if you want to know what economic development looks, sounds, tastes and feels like without requiring further open space development, go downtown!” indicate the authors of this article are opposed to an innovation park?

    Thanks for the information about what is going on in regard to economic development thus far.

    1. Davis Progressive

      think about it. when did bisch come forward and offer an objection? when the vanguard had an article pushing business parks. i suspect this runs deeper than that, but the timing suggests that the answer is yes, he is opposed to an innovation park.

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        Once again, DP draws a conclusion about what someone else thinks with not evidence and no real logic. Why don’t you ask questions and wait for answers once in a while before you declare what other people think. Have you no shame?

          1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            John, I am not sure what I have ever said that suggests censorship. I am against libel. DP is engaged in false attacks against people by name, and he does so under the cover of his own fake name. Is ceasing libel censorship in your view?

          2. John

            Rich, how is what DP said libel? He cited his sources, Steve Tracy and members of the City Council, all of whom were directly involved with the process. Are the opinions that those primary sources chose to share with DP libelous? Or does the libel come as a result of the fact that DP has relied on the statements of those primary sources?

      2. Anon

        To DP: I would like to hear the answer from the authors, as to whether they are indicating in their article a disfavor of innovation parks or not. I don’t want to rely on my or anyone else’s interpretation of what they may or may not have said.

    2. Bill

      Rich Rifkin, thank you for chiming in here. This is a “pro” piece, not a “con” piece. It is impossible for anyone to draw a conclusion either way about the Innovation Park. And it’s coming from the President AND Vice-President of Davis Downtown, not simply from Michael.

      I thought it was excellent and provided some helpful information.

  2. Frankly

    I think the point here is not to forget about our downtown, our existing business and merchants in our discussions, plans and actions about economic development. I agree.

    However, the main driver of the discussion about peripheral development is to increase tax revenue. I don’t see this list above as significantly increasing tax revenue. In fact, I see the cost of these things having a very long-term payback of the costs.

    I think we need to be looking at downtown and regional shopping center revitalization in concert with the discussions and plans for peripheral innovation parks. When we add these well-compensated workers they will spend money here. So a revitalized business environment will help us prevent sales tax leakage that might otherwise occur.

    But, I am a bit confused about the tone here. It would make much more sense if we were talking about peripheral retail. In that case I would absolutely demand that we factor the need to revitalize the downtown so that we don’t cause necessary sales leakage from the downtown to the new retail. But innovation parks bring customers… and an increased demand for the businesses that will provide services to the new companies and their employees. I don’t see the innovation parks as competing with any of the ideas/projects listed above.

    Is the point about attention… the fact that we are all so caught up talking about innovation parks that these other ideas and projects are not getting enough attention? If that is the case then I would respectfully ask that the Chamber and DDBA pause for a bit and consider the bigger picture. We are already resource constrained with city staff. And if working on any of this other stuff impacts or delays the work to bring in these innovation parks, then I don’t think it is a good idea. I say put this stuff as the second priority.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i think you raise a lot of good points. for me the question is what is the biggest bang for the buck on tax revenue. the more people i talked to this weekend, the more people thought most of these things are at best revenue neutral. the innovation parks are what is going to drive tax revenue.

    2. Anon

      Well said Frankly! I agree that downtown business is important, but so is peripheral retail that does not hurt the downtown. And innovation parks have the potential to bring in tens of millions of dollars. It is not that we are “forgetting” downtown by concentrating on innovation parks. It is that innovation parks have the potential to benefit everyone in town, including downtown businesses, unless I am missing something.

    1. Frankly

      Woodland downtown seems to be on the rise. The new courthouse on main street will help too.

      Been checking on old town Folsom revitalization. Seems that is on the rise too and doing well. http://www.historicfolsom.org/

      Vacaville downtown is also seeming to be doing pretty well: http://www.downtownvacaville.com/

      But regardless, Davis can double its retail by expand its peripheral retail and it still would not come close to Folsom or Vacaville. In other words, we have capacity to add peripheral retail without suffering any sky-is-falling predictions about the downtown losing viability.

      1. Don Shor

        There is no current proposal for peripheral retail. I assume that none of the sites under discussion include peripheral retail, except small service businesses for those who work there. If you want to spark opposition to these business/innovation park proposals, just keep talking up peripheral retail.
        Your comments about Woodland and Vacaville being ‘on the rise’ or ‘doing pretty well’ are not supported by any evidence that I am aware of.

          1. Frankly

            Don – your numbers are not controlled for the differences. And Vacaville downtown has 134 Barber/Beauty/Full Service Salons and plenty of other types of business.

            The Vacaville downtown is plenty vibrant. It is not boarded up with vacancies.

            So I really struggle to get your point unless you view downtown restaurants and retail as a new victim class.

          2. Don Shor

            My point is that Davis downtown is much stronger, more diverse, more “vibrant” than Woodland and Vacaville by any measure.

            your numbers are not controlled for the differences.

            That’s really funny.
            What’s with your “victim class” rhetoric? I don’t even know what you mean by that any more.

        1. Frankly

          Don – they are plenty vibrant. Woodland downtown has shops and restaurants, and so does Vacaville.

          They are not Davis, but Davis is more vibrant because of the captive UCD customers. If Woodland or Vacaville had the same you would see more people hanging out in close proximity to the campus.

          Let’s not confuse the issue here.

          1. Don Shor

            50% higher population, and 1/3 as much retail. I don’t think you can ascribe the complete evisceration of downtown Vacaville to a lack of student customers.
            Vacaville retail has all migrated to the freeway. You and I have lived here long enough to watch what has happened to both Vacaville and Woodland as they have built first malls, and then peripheral big box. It is a simple process that has played out in cities across America: it destroys the downtown. It always does. Davis, fortunately, has avoided that by disallowing that kind of development.
            But this is all irrelevant. Nobody is proposing peripheral retail here right now. If they did, it would kill the business park proposals.

          2. Frankly

            “Destroys the downtown”… this is just hyperbole.

            Sunsanville has a destroyed downtown. Neither Vacaville nor Woodland has anything close to a destroyed downtown. And when you compare the level of per capital sales tax dollars flowing into those cities, your nebulous demands for a certain Davis downtown (that apparently can only be measured by the number of restaurants and retail) should be viewed as very, very costly indeed.

          3. Don Shor

            It is a simple process. It isn’t hyperbole at all. First the malls are built. Then one by one, the larger retailers in the downtown close. Then the peripheral retail is built. Gradually the smaller retailers in the downtown close. Vacancy rates increase. Professionals and service businesses (such as beauty parlors) move into locations that would normally be filled with retailers. Then the redevelopment process begins. Ironically, in Woodland the developer who built the peripheral retail is the same one who proposed much of the redevelopment; he seems to do fine either way. And what is the current vacancy rate at the County Fair Mall? 40%? I think it’s just this side of bankruptcy. There was to be a hearing before the planning commission about the request by a couple of the other larger retailers in that mall to move out to the periphery. That would probably be the end of the County Fair Mall.
            It is all predictable, observable, factual, and none of it is hyperbole. It’s not a “nebulous demand.” You’re already lapsing into your all-too-predictable rhetoric. If you want to preserve your city’s downtown, you don’t build large retail on the periphery. Simple as that, and a firm and guiding principle in our General Plan.

          4. Frankly

            The County Fair Mall is not downtown Woodland. It was/is a peripheral development. Your post rambles and makes no sense.

            You are lapsing into just repeating things that have no factual basis… the world as Don sees it even though there isn’t any actual existence of it.

            There is very little vacancy down Woodland’s main street.

            Same with Vacaville’s down town. Pietros is still doing fine after all these years. In fact, there are two now.

            You WANT to make the case that peripheral retail will kill downtown Davis because your views and your business are supported by that fear argument. But the facts are the facts. These other communities you denigrate as some boarded up loser abomination of a location are all just fine and vibrant… and the majority of the Davis advantage is because of the captive customer base from UCD right next door. If we did not have that captive customer base or it was not located right next door, Davis would not have any bragging rights about a vibrant downtown.

            Go check out a Vacaville party in the park event downtown instead of just counting stores on the internet.

          5. Don Shor

            Your post rambles and makes no sense.
            You are lapsing into just repeating things that have no factual basis… the world as Don sees it even though there isn’t any actual existence of it.

            Everything I have stated is provable, observable, predictable, and basic to urban planning.
            Everything you have said is anecdotal.
            I give facts and numbers.
            You give your biased personal impressions and denigrate facts and numbers.
            And then when you’ve completely lost the argument, you just lapse into your usual insults, and that’s where the discussion ends.

          6. Alan Miller

            Susanville? Wow, talk about not comparable and non sequitur.

            How about Bridgeville as long as we are going there? Not only is the downtown is destroyed, the whole town is destroyed.

            OK, we’ve solved nothing . . .

          7. Frankly

            The point was to introduce Don to a real “destroyed” downtown. You can pick many cities, but not Vacaville, Folsom or Woodland. I don’t think Don gets out enough to actually visit these places, so I was helping expand his desktop understanding of the true meaning of the word he was using.

          8. Don Shor

            I don’t think Don gets out enough to actually visit these places,

            What you “think” is incorrect. Again: anecdotes and your own biases vs. my data. But I also go to those places quite regularly, and have been doing so for years. Peripheral retail had a huge impact on downtown Vacaville and downtown Woodland.
            You know, instead of denying things that are obviously true, why don’t you just say you don’t care about them? Trying to deny the obvious impact of peripheral retail on Woodland and Vacaville is silly.

          9. Mark West

            Peripheral retail has altered the downtown regions of the towns that Don talks about, but it has not ‘destroyed’ them as he claims. The downtown areas in Woodland, Vacaville, and Sacramento for that fact, have been altered over the years by changes in the retail environment throughout the region. There has been, and will continue, an ebb and flow of economic activity in these regions as they evolve with demand.

            The same is true for Davis, which has seen our downtown change from a general retail environment, to one that is primarily entertainment with some specialty retail. The big difference is that Woodland, Vacaville and Sacramento were all able to adjust their retail developments in a way that kept their tax dollars in town instead of giving them away to surrounding communities. Davis failed at that. By sticking to our downtown only focus, we effectively killed retail in town, pushing shoppers to leave town taking their tax dollars with them. We refused to build peripheral retail, but doing so did not save our downtown as a retail environment.

            Sure, we never had the vacancy rates found in downtown Woodland at times, but that was only because of the general scarcity of commercial space in town. Had we allowed more development around the City, we would now have a stronger retail environment, more tax monies to pay for the amenities that we all like, and with an occasional period of downtown vacancy, we might have generated the demand to redevelop the older, dilapidated buildings into something more valuable.

            Davis’ retail environment does not now, and has not for several years, provided for the shopping needs of the citizens. From that point of view our downtown is just as big a failure as are Don’s favorite failures in Woodland and Vacaville. Those cities however have had the last laugh since they also have our tax monies to help fund their own growth and redevelopment while all we have are higher taxes and decaying infrastructure.

          10. Frankly

            Let’s focus on your unwavering opinion that Vacaville has a “destroyed downtown”

            First point Vacaville has the highest per capita concentration of electric cars in the world. Sorry Davis.

            I have lived in the area since 1974. My family used to shop in Vacaville quite a bit. The downtown is not materially changed from back then. Your point that it was “destroyed” makes absolutely no sense and is factually untrue.

            There is not much information out there that can prove that the number of retail and restaurants has declined. Ironically when you search for that type of information, most of the hits are VG articles on this very debate/topic.

            Now, you can make the point that the downtown failed to benefit from the population growth, but that is a completely different argument than “destroyed”. Really Don… you rail against hyperbole and extremism in content and tone, you should really follow your own advise. “Destroyed”? Give me a break.

            The problem you and others have is dealing with the critical mass of population shopping needs. There is really not a comparable community to be found the size of Davis or larger that does not have a notable percentage of peripheral retail.

            Even the Norwegian cities that are the only examples I every hear about when I ask for an example have more peripheral retail. And they certainly all have more business.

            I get how a small retailer like you has developed a sort of economic jihad against big box stores and peripheral retail. But you lose credibility using inflammatory terms that you cannot defend.

            Vacaville does not have a “destroyed downtown”. And for once you should just admit that you were wrong in using that word a move on.

            Now Davis does have a destroyed city budget that is largely because of the demand that we protect our NIMBYs and downtown merchants at all costs. In that context “destroyed” factually works.

          11. Don Shor

            There has been, and will continue, an ebb and flow

            All of the flow is outward: to the peripheral malls and the big box stores. There’s no “flow” back to the downtown or the neighborhood shopping centers.
            The Draft EIR for the Gateway II project in Woodland indicated that it would have “significant, unavoidable impact” increasing vacancy and urban decay in Downtown Woodland, County Center Mall, West Woodland, East Street Corridor, and even the area east of I-5 if one or more of the big box retailers relocate.
            The County Fair Mall is probably beyond saving at this point, potentially becoming a major area of blight. Gateway II just accelerates that. Development agreements? Here is what was going on in Woodland this spring, as more businesses sought to leave the mall for Gateway: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/health/ci_25574663/county-fair-mall-owner-protesting-gateway-expansion-woodland
            “Approval of the expansion of Gateway I commercial uses will push our County Fair Mall further (into urban decay), blight and slums, and possibly bankruptcy….” said the owner.

            The EIR makes the comment (paraphrasing) that saturated retail reduces the likelihood of significant investment in downtown properties. How added peripheral retail would motivate or change the downtown of Davis is anybody’s guess, since retail isn’t saturated here. But it isn’t automatic that it would cause the building owners to invest and revitalize those buildings.

            I have lived in the area since 1974. My family used to shop in Vacaville quite a bit. The downtown is not materially changed from back then. Your point that it was “destroyed” makes absolutely no sense and is factually untrue.

            I have lived in the area since 1974. My family used to shop in Vacaville quite a bit. The downtown is substantially changed from back then. My point makes perfect sense and is factually true.

            I get how a small retailer like you has developed a sort of economic jihad against big box stores and peripheral retail. But you lose credibility

            You lose credibility when you use inflammatory rhetoric.

            Vacaville does not have a “destroyed downtown”. And for once you should just admit that you were wrong in using that word a move on.

            Vacaville’s downtown has been destroyed by peripheral retail. For once you should acknowledge that you simply don’t care about downtown retail anywhere. I was not, am not, wrong in using that word, so I will certainly continue to use it whenever necessary to counter your basic disregard for sound principles of urban planning.
            The budget issues are being addressed with a balance of additional commercial space, budget cuts, and taxes. There seems to be broad consensus on that. I don’t think you’ll find broad consensus on adding peripheral retail.

          12. Frankly

            and with an occasional period of downtown vacancy, we might have generated the demand to redevelop the older, dilapidated buildings into something more valuable.

            Great point.

            We are so afraid of change that we are willing to stay mediocre.

          13. Davis Progressive

            “We are so afraid of change that we are willing to stay mediocre.”

            i think you have a weird definition of mediocre. people would kill to live in davis. look at the cost of housing. and you can fudge around the issue of limited growth, but the driver for cost of housing is demand exceeding supply. people don’t demand to live in mediocre communities. you want to see mediocre go to elk grove or natomas.

          14. Mark West

            “people would kill to live in davis. look at the cost of housing. and you can fudge around the issue of limited growth, but the driver for cost of housing is demand exceeding supply. ”

            How much demand would there be absent the University? The demand has been generated due to the people attending and working at the University, not due to the character of the town. The high cost of housing is directly due to our limiting the supply of the same.

            That said, Frankly’s comment on mediocrity was regarding the downtown and that descriptor fits. Downtown Davis is nothing special. There are some nice aspects, and a number that are not so nice, but one thing it cannot accurately be described as is a good retail environment. While Don will pull out his statistics showing the number of retail establishments, all you need to do to invalidate his argument is to ask yourself if you can buy a majority of the things you need in life at a decent price in downtown Davis.

          15. Don Shor

            Mark West:

            While Don will pull out his statistics showing the number of retail establishments, all you need to do to invalidate his argument is to ask yourself if you can buy a majority of the things you need in life at a decent price in downtown Davis.

            I don’t expect you or anyone else to buy “a majority of the things you need in life” at any one place. People shop all over, for any number of reasons. I do know that sound principles of urban planning can keep a downtown strong, and peripheral development is usually to the detriment of that. I don’t consider your metric useful as a basis of sound planning policies. If that was your only criterion, I suppose many people would be happy with nothing but WalMart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and CostCo. Because with those, I’d bet many people could buy “a majority of the things” they “need in life” at what they consider decent prices.

          16. Don Shor

            To expand on this: I think each city should stick to its strengths. Davis is, in fact, quirky, small-townish, with lots of boutiques and a whole lot of eateries aimed at a particular demographic. It happens that, from a sales tax standpoint, boutiques are great for revenues. Very high tax generated per square foot. If anything, we should encourage more of them. Woodland’s strength is great freeway access and a plethora of big box retail options. Our two cities are somewhat symbiotic in the retail offerings. We should do whatever we can to encourage more little shoppes all over Davis, especially in or adjacent to the downtown. That requires careful planning. And it generally argues against peripheral retail.

          17. David Greenwald

            “How much demand would there be absent the University?”

            Mark: That’s kind of an unfair question. After all we don’t know what Davis would look like without the university and what it’s politics might have been with respect to growth control.

            Given all of that, if we take away the university from the picture, but left the rest of the community in tact – as is – I would say – Davis would still be upscale and therefore more expensive than its neighbors.

          18. Frankly

            There are a lot of places that people would “kill” to live in. But there are a lot of people that would have to be killed to drag to Davis to “live” in it.

            Everyone has their preferences.

            It is not cool to be so elitist to denigrate other communities just because they are not like Davis. Davis has its problem… in fact lots of problems. And so what you see is not what you get because it is not sustainable.

            And we ARE mediocre. Like Don you seem to be missing the perspective of UCD. UCD is most of the reason that people want to live in Davis because Davis residents can live off the soft money of government and then use that soft money to try and keep Davis quirky and small. Davis is their compromise. They don’t want to live in a REAL rural community because of all those uneducated farm workers and salt of the earth Republicans. They want to live in a small urban place with lots of liberals that gives them some of the amenities of a big city without the negatives of a big city. And that would all be fine if it was sustainable. But it is not. And Vacaville would also not be sustainable trying implement Don’s dysfunctional urban planning ideas.

          19. Frankly

            Yes, Mark is correct that my mediocre comment as directed at our downtown and our overall retail design that apparently Don thinks is orders of magnitude better to Vacaville’s “destroyed” downtown and retail design.

            Obviously since I have lived here for about 40 years and chose to keep a company here, I must like Davis. I like it so much that I want to keep it sustainable. How about you?

          20. David Greenwald

            Frankly: I would agree with you that the Davis retail situation is mediocre and probably worse than that. The downtown while not in my top 5, is well above average in my opinion, although it pales in comparison to SLO’s downtown.

          21. Mark West

            Don: “To expand on this: I think each city should stick to its strengths. Davis is, in fact, quirky, small-townish, with lots of boutiques and a whole lot of eateries aimed at a particular demographic. It happens that, from a sales tax standpoint, boutiques are great for revenues. Very high tax generated per square foot. If anything, we should encourage more of them.”

            Yes, those ‘very high tax generated per square foot’ businesses are why our per capita sales tax revenues are so much higher than our neighbors…Oh wait.

            The reason Davis has migrated to these small retail shops downtown is because there isn’t space for anything else.

            ‘I don’t expect you or anyone else to buy “a majority of the things you need in life” at any one place.’

            Why not? I think a City the size of Davis should be able to supply and support most of the retails needs of the citizens of the town. Why should people have to leave town to buy what they need? What are the people who don’t have access to a car supposed to do Don? Oh yes, you are right of course, we don’t need to worry about them since they can just order from Amazon.

            “We should do whatever we can to encourage more little shoppes all over Davis, especially in or adjacent to the downtown. That requires careful planning. And it generally argues against peripheral retail.”

            Actually getting shops to open all over town doesn’t require careful planning at all, it requires getting out of the way and allowing businesses to open in any available commercial property, but that has always been true and has absolutely nothing to do with peripheral retail. It is in fact the careful planning that Don advocates that has killed retail in Davis, turned downtown into primarily an entertainment zone, and helped to make Davis a more expensive place to live for everyone.

          22. Don Shor

            Just curious: what are you missing here? During the Target debate, the most common mentions were consumer electronics, inexpensive clothing (especially kids clothing), and larger appliances.

          23. Mark West

            Don Shor: “Just curious: what are you missing here?”

            You don’t have a clue do you? Priceless!

            If you lived and shopped here you wouldn’t have to ask, but never let reality interfere with your beloved theory.

          24. Don Shor

            I do shop here. I’ve already answered that before. I spend a lot of my retail dollars here, and there are, in fact, some things I can’t get in Davis. Always have been.
            I am curious, genuinely: what is it that you are missing from retail in Davis?

          25. Frankly

            Don – the list of things I cannot get in Davis is too long to list. I will have to go through my Amazon.com order history and also revisit my last year of driving to other communities to shop for things I cannot get here.

            One example I can easily provide because I just spent about $500 on it is beer making equipment and supplies. Had to go to Woodland and also shop online.

            I have been remodeling my 25 year old house and 35-year old cabin and I can’t tell you how much money Home Depot in Woodland, and some Internet merchants have got. Hibbert is closed much of the time I need to shop and they don’t have things in stock that I need and they have to be ordered… which adds another dimension in planning complexity to my projects.

            I use Benjamin Moore paints and they are not available in Davis… only Woodland.

            I did purchase bamboo and soils from you, but the $1200 in galvanized tubs had to be purchased from a Dixon merchant… because that good ole ag town that you claim needs to stay and ad town lacks any farming supply retail.

            But instead of demanding a product by product list that you can nitpick, why not just admit that there are a lot of things not offered in this retail waste land of a city.

            I am golfing tomorrow and really need new golf shoes. Know where I can go to get them? And note that I am picky and want choice and need a place that has stock in my size.

            I was at a Country Music Festival at Cape Blanco Oregon two weeks ago. Brad Paisley joked…

            Where the heck am I? Is this the land that time forgot? Didn’t you guys hear that we won the revolution and became civilized? Where is Macy’s? What about Bed Bath and Beyond? Everyone laughed and nodded in approval.

            And of course this is the Oregon coast where there are only little fishing villages. I was snickering because I was thinking he would be real confused about the “civilization” of our city of 70,000.

            There is no real estate available for a store like Bed Bath and Beyond. There is no place for a Macys. And those two stores don’t really compete with any downtown merchants.

            And then there are all those specialty stores that we are missing like Black Dragon Brewing Supplies in that “Destroyed” downtown of Woodland.

            Again, no real estate.

            You and other people that keep up this extremist blocking of peripheral retail are responsible for the profound mediocrity of our downtown and our overall retail situation.

          26. John

            Frankly, so many of the things that you list are targeted for a diminishing demographic in Davis.

            Very few of the items on your list are going to be purchased by college students. Very few of the items on your list are going to be purchased by seniors.

            Since Davis’ demographics are highly skewed toward those two demographic groups, there isn’t enough demand for the items you have described to warrant having an available local supply of those items.

          27. John

            42.6% of Davis’ population is under 25 years of age.
            22.6% is over 50.

            That only leaves 34.8% in the demographic group that is likely to purchase the items you have listed.

          28. Frankly

            John – you might be right. I am 54 and still shop for those things. I have lamented the demographic shift as not being too good for Davis.

            Certainly if we get some more young professionals that work for tech companies that might locate here, the demand for these things will change.

            One of the big ticket items that Davis looses out on is appliances. I think students and seniors use those, right?

          29. Don Shor

            The fact that Gottschalks failed, and Forever 21 succeeded, explains why you can’t buy golf shoes in Davis. The same company that owns BB&B owns World Market. They merged.
            Chain retailers that work in Davis aren’t exactly looking for our demographic of old guys. There was room for a Macy’s next to Target, but that isn’t what went in there. Why? Discount fashion is a better bet here.
            Beer supplies I expect will show up at some point. Somebody really needs to tell Davis Ace that they are missing a bet on some of the feed-store stuff. I send people to Higby’s all the time for water troughs etc.

          30. Don Shor

            Davis has always had a different retail mix than nearby cities because of:

            1. demographics. Compare the age spread and percentages within different age brackets between the nearby communities. Note the types of stores that choose to locate here vs. there. We haven’t supported a department store, but we can support stores that sell clothes for young adults. And we can support small shops that sell nice dresses. Forever 21 is a perfect fit for Davis.

            2. history and geography. While retail was expanding in California, the prime freeway-frontage sites were being developed in nearby communities. In Davis those sites are in auto sales or are owned by the university. Retail is maxed out in Northern California now. The big footprint retail model is waning.

            Small retail stores generate more sales tax per square foot than do box stores or large discounters. We can enhance our small store areas, allow some greater flexibility in neighborhood centers. We sell autos and fancy dresses; Woodland has the big box stores. Not every community needs to look like every other community. For as long as I’ve lived here, people have gone to the nearby cities like Woodland and Vacaville to get big appliances and furniture.

            I try to envision what Davis would look like if Frankly had the retailers he wants. I can’t even imagine where they would go, or how they could possibly succeed here.

          31. John

            I agree that appliances is a big ticket item that means an out of town trip; however, I don’t think students are much of a market for appliances because they rent rather than own. Most seniors already own their appliances, so they really only represent an appliance replacement market. But you are right, appliances are not a purchase one makes here.

          32. Frankly

            The fact that Gottschalks failed,

            The Davis Gottschalks was one of top sales stores in their inventory. The chain failed not that store. The same with Borders.

            I don’t think you and others opposing peripheral retail have a clue how much sales tax leakage we have.

          33. Don Shor

            In a sales tax analysis study (“leakage” study) done about a decade ago, Davis had highest ‘leakage’ in apparel, general merchandise, home furnishings and appliances, and building materials. Presumably apparel and general merchandise have reduced some, with Target and TJ Maxx.
            Davis had highest ‘injections’ (opposite of leakage) in food stores, eating and drinking places, ‘other retail stores’, and especially auto sales.
            The question is: should Davis focus on reducing the leakage, or on improving the injections.

            http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20041214/Packet/06-Sales-Tax-Leakage.pdf

          34. Frankly

            Well first of all I’m sure you would not be surprised that the Davis Gottschalks was one of the smallest in their inventory of about 50 stores.

            http://www.costar.com/webimages/gottschalks-locations.pdf

            I actually liked the store and talked to the manager at one point and he said that the Davis store had one of the highest profit ratios and highest sales per square feet. I also knew the management at Borders and the Davis store had similar results.

          35. Frankly

            The question is: should Davis focus on reducing the leakage, or on improving the injections.

            It is not either or… it is both. Those are our dollars… why would we want them to go to other communities to pay for their amenities?

          36. Frankly

            Presumably apparel and general merchandise have reduced some, with Target and TJ Maxx.

            I don’t see how that syncs with your constant point that peripheral retail harms (“Destroys”) the downtown and does not increase sales.

          37. Don Shor

            Existing retailers that have significant overlap in product will take about a 30% hit to sales when a big box or a ‘category-killer’ opens. Whether they can survive that loss of business depends on many factors. Whether it yields a net increase in sales revenue to the community depends on whether those product lines were under-represented or were already close to saturated. The new store cannibalizes some sales from local retailers, harming downtown and neighborhood merchants, but may increase sales overall.
            This isn’t rocket science. We now have three pet stores in addition to Davis Ace, which has always had a large pet supply division. Ask them if their sales in that category have dropped since the two chain pet stores have opened.
            Big Box retailers compete across nearly all categories.
            What impact that 30% loss of sales has varies, but it is real. You may lose your toy stores, your hardware stores. Nowadays the biggest impact is on grocery stores, since WalMart and Target have become huge sellers of groceries.

          38. South of Davis

            Don wrote:

            > Vacaville retail has all migrated to the freeway.

            and:

            > Nowadays the biggest impact is on grocery stores, since
            > WalMart and Target have become huge sellers of groceries.

            With Dixon retail also moving to the freeway we can pull off at the Wal Mart in Dixon on our way home from the Bay Area and quickly save $100 on the non perishable grocery items we stock up on (I recently paid ~$5 for the exact same Armor All that was ~$12 at Rite-Aid in Davis).

            P.S. We also get FREE plastic bags at the Dixon Wal Mart…

        2. Anon

          When I was speaking of peripheral retail, I was referring to filling in already existing neighborhood malls that are going vacant. Example, the mall in West Davis.

        1. Frankly

          If you did not buy your downtown Sac condo over the last year, you might be too late. That city is going places. It even attracted the UCD World Food Center.

          1. Alan Miller

            Thirty years of hearing this crap about Sacramento and it still looks like S. A world class city? I’ll believe it when I see it. Sacramento would do best to admit it will never be much and rise to its bland potential.

          2. Frankly

            Wow. Harsh. Sacramento is destined to be a great lower tier city. Like Davis, it just needs to grow up from its over reliance on the soft economy of government.

          1. Tia Will

            “More traffic and people on Main street”

            Since the old courthouse was only a couple of blocks off Main, I doubt this is going to have much impact one way or the other.

  3. DT Businessman

    1) The article above is an op ed published in the Enterprise in October 2013 that David unilaterally decided to republish today.

    2) Rob, Mike, Kemble, Alan, Stewart, you’re the paid staffers, “can you show us how the revenue in this case pencils out with costs?” Presumably, we’re going to hold anyone advocating for anything on the Vanguard to this same standard.

    3) I’m not going to waste my time responding to statements made by unnamed sources of nameless bloggers who don’t even bother providing the reasoning to support their statements. I’m not brave enough to jump into that rabbit hole.

    4) The thrust of the op ed above is that there are any number of ED tools that have nothing to do with real estate development. It goes on to describe some of those activities and it names some entities that engage in such activities. There are an infinite number of things that the op ed doesn’t address. It doesn’t address peripheral innovation parks, the 5th Street road diet, the surface water project, the Middle East conflict, the 2016 presidential election, etc., etc. So why would anyone infer or speculate on the authors’ opinions pertaining to matters that are not directly addressed in the op ed? Pretty goofy I say.

    5) I’ve consistently argued, since 2008, for a shifting of community resources to a greater investment in a diversified economic development strategy. The opposition to this position has been fierce. In the past 2 years or so, based on input from a number of highly regarded friends, I’ve slightly modified my position to saying we need to shift more community resources into a diversified economic development strategy AND a strategy to address a myriad of local, social issues. I’ve also consistently advocated for allocating the resources needed to achieve CC-approved priorities otherwise don’t bother setting such priorities. Furthermore, I’ve advocated for the CC exercising discipline in the number of priorities it sets because setting too many priorities is tantamount to having no priorities at all. To those that oppose these positions, you make your case, and I’ll continue making mine.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. John

      Michael, the tone of your first point sounds like you are mad at David for republishing this article. Why would his republishing it make you mad? That is an enigmatic response.

    2. Anon

      Michael, the only reason I asked about your view on innovation parks is because of the sentence “So if you want to know what economic development looks, tastes, sounds and feels like without requiring further open space development, go downtown”. That statement seems to imply a desire to concentrate on the downtown rather than think about building business on the periphery. However, I was not aware this was an older article written in late 2013, so thank you for clarifying. Nevertheless it would be interesting to know your view on innovation parks, but only if you care to share, but I assume you do not want to based on your comment in #4 above.

    3. Davis Progressive

      you have not answered my question about the balance between costs and revenues and whether the non-innovation park stuff will generate new revenue for the city.

  4. Bill

    A diversified strategy… that is exactly what we need as a city. I don’t see why this needs to be an either/or proposition; it’s a both/and proposition. We need more people like Michael and Josh who are being proactive about things. Discussion is great, but when the rubber meets the road, it’s about actively working toward something… which they are trying to do. And let me add, the move to include a strategy to address local, social issues is the surest way to engage the public. That resonates with me and the folks in my sector on a deep level.

    1. Davis Progressive

      it seems like a diversified strategy sounds good in theory, but when you look at the potential revenues, it may not pay off and where the city is focused looks to generate millions in revenue a year.

      1. Bill

        I guess I would say that yes, maybe an innovation park will generate the most revenue. I’m not suggesting it won’t. But a diversified strategy is what will build up the fabric of the community. There is a lot of talk about the innovation park, but for the city to truly take off, it will require an innovation ecosystem. If the city wants to be encouraging and retaining the best and brightest, the culture/ecosystem is what needs to be worked on. That’s why I suppose I find Michael and Josh’s article so compelling. While I would add ideas to their list, I think we’d be smart to engage the community to create an innovation ecosystem. No one has done that yet, and IMHO, I think it’s they key ingredient that’s missing.

        1. Davis Progressive

          for the city to truly take off we need space for start ups and space for them to grow and space for newcomers. i want to really see the metrics of what michael and josh are stating, because the people i have spoken to in economic development circles kind of yawned when i asked them about it yesterday.

          1. Bill

            Metrics would be helpful. Both the Chamber and Davis Downtown undertake various efforts, but I don’t know if they collect any data from to inform future decisions. I wonder if this might be an important role for the Chamber of Commerce.

  5. Frankly

    Here in this fabulously well restaurant and retail appointed city that Don Shor puts on a pedestal while denigrating almost every other California city, let me ask a question…

    I have a need for a work party of about 18 people around 4:00 PM next Wednesday. We don’t want to be outside. We need a large table all together. What are my choices?

    Note #1: we have our share of food snobs…

    Note #2: we already have a reservation at a restaurant that we seem to end up almost every time we have a need like this due to lack of choice… and it is not a favored one.

      1. Don Shor

        You’ve already asked that many times. I arranged meetings in Davis for the nursery association, and they always enjoyed Symposium. But I’d be very curious where in Vacaville or Woodland you would go.

      2. Mark West

        Come now Frankly…just reserve the room at Round Table, push the tables together, turn down the TV volume and tell the food snobs to shut up. What more could you want?

        On a more serious note, I thought Season’s had a banquet room of about that size, and perhaps the back room at Our House. I don’t know of any other banquet options with decent quality food so You might need to reserve the entire restaurant for the evening if you want someplace else.

        1. John

          The Mustard Seed would be a good option. Reserve their terrace and they can serve their regular customers inside. Both Thai Recipes and Zen Toro would be good options. Both are in the ground floor of the Hunt Boyer Mansion complex. Osteria Fasulo at Village Homes is another good option.

        2. Frankly

          The Seasons room was already booked… as is the case much of the time.

          Tucos is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

          Bistro 33 does not have a good space… used to before they made it a beer bar.

          Our house is not a good space… back in the back where there are no windows.

          The Mustard seed is too small, and outside won’t work.

          Symposium is a possibility, but frankly staff have commented that the decor and atmosphere reminds them of a cafeteria in a senior center. Also their menu is a bit lacking and the food is so-so.

          Monticello is too small.

          Where we usually end up is at KetMoRee… even though about half of my employees are not big fans of Thai food.

          The bottom line is that most of the restaurants are small and cramped and there are not enough choices for banquet space.

          This is a city of 70,000 plus people… maybe more like 80,000 when including all the campus residents. There is no reason that we should not have more larger sit down restaurants.

          And we house the university that is suppose to be the top ag and food school on the planet.

          Mediocre might be too generous.

          It will be a real problem when we start populating the business parks. Talk about sales tax leakage!

          1. John

            Monticello is too small for 18 people? I’m amazed to hear you say that. Monticello would have been on my list if I had been a bit less spur of the moment.

          2. Frankly

            Too small for a group of 18 people that tend to be loud.

            That is the problem with groups. Seasons, Tucos and KetMoRee are the best choices.

            Bistro 33 can work it outside.

            Maybe the top floor of Village Pizza.

            My holiday party of 30-35 has to go to Sacramento. Had it in the back of Bistro one time and that worked out ok… but they made it a bar.

            Think about catering that dinner at the Glide ranch house. There is also the Mace Ranch and Stonegate clubs to do the same. But catering is all we can do for a group that large. The Buckhorn in little ole Winters might work.

          3. John

            For your 30-35 group where catering is an alternative, then the room that the Vanguard used at University Park Inn with catering across the driveway from Caffe Italia would work well.

    1. John

      Frankly, I didn’t see your “don’t want to be outside” restriction. The Mustard Seed still would be a good option. They can serve their regular customers on their terrace and serve your group inside. Both Thai Recipes and Zen Toro would be good options. Both are in the ground floor of the Hunt Boyer Mansion complex. Thai Recipes has a “traditional seating” room that would work well for you, or you could sit at their tables. They don’t open until 5:00 typically, but for a group of 18 I’m sure they would open early for you. Osteria Fasulo at Village Homes has enough indoor seating to still be a good option for you. Upstairs at Village Pizza would work well too.

      1. Frankly

        John – some good ideas. Thought about Osteria Fasulo, but their dining room in very small.

        Upstairs at village pizza… did not think about one.

        Thai food is a problem for some of my staff for some reason. I think because they eat it too much given the number of Thai restaurants we have.

        The Mustard Seed gets a lot of my business. Their menu is very, very limited though since the ownership change. And I did not know they could take a group of 18 inside. I will check on that.

        Thanks!

        1. John

          My wife and friends went to Mustard Seed last week and they all said that the “unfortunate dip” in quality that had followed the ownership change was no longer in evidence. They were very pleasantly surprised.

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