While a lot of focus has been placed on the Mace Ranch Innovation Center, much of that focusing on city hopes to keep Schilling Robotics in Davis, there are now two proposed innovation parks. One of the points made last week is the importance to evaluate each proposal on its own merits and shy away from viewing these as competing proposals.
In a letter from Sotiris Kolokotronis of SKK Developments to City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Director Mike Webb he described the proposed project as a “208-acre high-technology innovation and research campus at Highway 113 and Covell Boulevard. “
Mr. Kolokotronis writes, “We have strived to address the City of Davis’ expressed goals for density, sustainability, agricultural land conservation, construction phasing, and design and uses that would provide community and fiscal benefits, as outlined in the Request for Expressions of Interest and the guiding principles communicated to our team by city staff, elected officials and neighborhood and community organizations.”
The project overview describes, “The Project is envisioned as a new technology hub for Davis, intended to serve an array of research and technology companies interested in locating and growing in Davis. The Project plans for a unique business environment, supporting research and development, technology, and science- and engineering-based companies, eager to expand their products and services. The Project will support an environment of innovation in flexible formats: incubation spaces for small start-up firms, facilities for established mid-size or large size companies; to large floor-plate, flexible building spaces for high-tech research and light manufacturing; and potentially corporate headquarters. Employee-support services and retail will create an active landscape for collaboration and innovation.
“The Project also provides numerous community benefits, including opportunities for industry partnerships and collaboration research being conducted on the University of California Davis (U.C. Davis) campus; job opportunities to retain young talent and entrepreneurs from U.C. Davis; and local job and economic growth benefits.”
The Project Applicant proposes the following objectives:
- Develop a state-of-the-art innovation center campus for high-technology offices, research and development, hotel, and employee-serving retail and recreational uses.
- To optimize the land utilization consistent with the City’s goal of a minimum 0.5 floor area ratio (F.A.R);
- Design development footprint to minimize impacts to on-site environmental resources;
- Create sustainable sources of revenue to support long-term City funding for public services, deferred maintenance, and infrastructure;
- Accommodate high-skilled technology-related jobs that allow a greater number of Davis residents to live and work in the community;
- Pursue energy-efficient building design, net-zero energy buildings, low-water use indoor and outdoor design, and high-quality construction by incorporating national and/or local sustainable design standards (for example, LEED, Energy Star, Build-it-Green or similar rating systems);
- Integrate multi-modal transportation choices within Project design to reduce use of single-occupant vehicles and implement a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan that increases the use of green modes of transportation, such as, public transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access to, from and within the Project site;
- Facilitate bicycle use through a broad range of amenities such as bike-triggered signals, bike overpass, and extension of community bike trail to help the City meets its goal of 30% bicycle mode share of all trips taken by 2020 (per the Beyond Platinum Bicycle Action Plan);Promote flexibility in project design and implementation to respond to market demand, through phasing of construction, and offering a variety of building types;
- Collaborate with UC Davis and others to capture technology transfer to start-up businesses and growing mid-to-large size companies, reducing the loss of intellectual capital and revenue through out-migration;
- Improve existing site drainage conditions in the vicinity of the project site; and
- Develop an aesthetically pleasing campus environment that provides more than 25% open space with multiple functions and opportunities for recreation and other open space uses including pedestrian and bicycle pathways for the enjoyment of Davis residents, as well as campus employees.
The Project will include up to 4 million square foot of building space with a variety of lots sizes and building floor plates to:
- Accommodate a variety of businesses and innovation activities, ranging from incubation spaces for small start-up firms to facilities for mid- and large-size companies and large floor plates for research and development (R&D);
- Hospitality functions, including a hotel, convention center, restaurants, visitor center, and demonstration site;
- Employee support services and public amenities such as, places to eat, places to gather, and places to rest; and
- A looped roadway network along with an integrated pedestrian/bike trail network is proposed to facilitate multi-modal transportation options and ensure safe access for employees and patrons arriving by car, transit, bicycle, or foot.
“The Project assumes approximately 3,000,000 square feet of net usable building space for a variety of office and laboratory uses within typical building footprints ranging between 18,000 and 40,000 square feet,” the applicant explains.”
This will accommodate both small sites needed for start-up incubation spaces, and mid-to-larger sites needed for expanding businesses, and established companies.
They describe, “The Project assumes approximately 800,000 square feet of building area for large open floor-plate (minimum of 30,000 square feet) spaces with a possibility of housing equipment required for such research, assembling, and development facilities. Some of the uses allowed may include high-tech business (such as agricultural, seed technology, bio-technology, food-science, and robotics related) with ancillary light manufacturing, wholesale, and assembly uses, and related uses.”
Parking areas within the Innovation Center will be designed “in a manner to reduce urban heat island effects in comparison to barren surface parking lots. Parking areas will include a combination of integrated energy generation systems (such as photovoltaic carports), large canopy shaded trees, and permeable and high-albedo paving materials, to ensure that the parking areas have multiple functions, instead of just serving cars. Unique parking design concepts will be integrated to encourage use of rideshare modes (carpool, vanpool), compact and low-fuel using vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles. Parking areas will be located throughout the site to allow for shared facilities among various tenants. Both surface and structured parking will be allowed to meet the needs of the users.”
There will also be approximately 200,000 square feet of hotel uses to be located near the entrance of the site, from John Jones Road and along Highway 113. They write, “It is anticipated that the Project would include a 200-room hotel with convention and meeting spaces, food service facilities, and exhibition areas. This land use is intended to serve as a common facility for the businesses within the Project campus. The Hospitality site is primarily envisioned to include short-term-lodging for employees and visitors, and house modern conferencing facilities that can support symposia and other events related to the business needs of the various employers in the campus.”
Overall, the net FAR of the Innovation Center land use will be approximately 0.6, with a maximum building height of 140 feet.
There will also be Open Space components which include “natural open space and drainage areas along the edge of the property, will include community pedestrian and bicycle trails and facilities, landscaped open gathering spaces and corridors, and other landscaped spaces.”
“The overall green spaces in the Project will also include open space and landscaped areas allowed within the Innovation Center designed primarily as internal plazas, courtyards, and landscaped areas for employee use. The overall green space within the Project site, including both open spaces along the property edge, as well as, landscaped areas associated with the buildings, will be approximately 85 acres or a total of 40% of the Project site,” the applicant describes.
The total green space along the property edge will be 52 acres of open space, 25% of the site acreage with “open spaces will be designed as natural areas along the periphery of the site with community pedestrian and bike trails”
“Along the periphery of the Project, the open space would vary in width between 100 and150 feet, and would accommodate drainage, passive recreation areas (such as benches, picnic areas, viewing areas), and pedestrian and bike trails.
“An open space buffer adjacent to the agricultural land uses on the north and western boundary of the Project site, and Binning Farms community to the north, will be at least 150 feet wide. Open space adjacent to John Jones Road to the east and along Sutter Davis Hospital will be at least100 feet wide.”
The applicant proposes that project construction would be completed in four different phases. “Phase 1 (approximately 83 acres) will include development directly north of Covell Boulevard, along with portion of the open space and drainage system connection to the detention pond. Phase 1 will also include portion of the open space directly south of the Binning Farms community.”
Phase 2 (approximately 42 acres) “will include portions of development on both sides of the detention area, and create the central common employee gathering area. “
Phase 3 (approximately 56 acres) “will include development of the R&D/ Flex space land use parcels, and the open space areas directly adjoining these parcels. “
Phase 4 (approximately 27 acres) “will include the remaining portion of the site.”
Last week the Vanguard evaluated the Mace Ranch Innovation Center along with their internal polling.
—David M. Greenwald reporting