Is an Innovation Park Just a Rebranding of a Business Park?

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“Isn’t “Innovation Park” just a rebranding of “Business Park”? How is an innovation park any different from a business park?”

This was an audience question that comes up a lot more than one might think. The question is really what is an innovation park and how does it differ from a more traditional business park.

We start with the Studio 30 report, which researched and defined an Innovation Park. They write, “The first question facing Studio 30 was to define a 21st Century Innovation park. The business park concept has been rapidly changing as the market demands new places to do innovative work.”

Studio 30 would conduct an extensive literature review to understand the characteristics of a contemporary business park.

“The Association of University Research Parks (AURP), October 2007 report , A Study of Characteristics and Trends of Research Parks in North America, analyzed basic information, revealed trends and determined the economic impact of 134 research parks in the US and Canada.”

Although Studio 30 focused on Innovation Parks, “there are many similarities between the research park concept and an innovation park located in Davis. Studio 30 found ARUP’s definition of a university research park clear and comprehensive and adopted it.”

It defines a university research park “as a property-based venture,” which has the following components:

  • Master-planned property and buildings designed primarily for private-public R&D facilities, high-technology and science-based companies, and support services;
  • A contractual, formal, or operational relationship with one or more science-research institutions;
  • A role in promoting the university’s R&D through industry partnerships, assisting in the growth of new ventures, and promoting economic development; and,
  • A role in aiding the transfer of technology and business skills between university and industry teams.

What we can understand from this definition and explanation is that an Innovation Park is a specific type of business park that focuses on the public-private partnership with research and development facilities focusing on high-technology and science-based enterprise.

A lot this focuses on the nexus between research work at the university and commercial enterprise. For example, the Innovation Park at Notre Dame “is a commercial accelerator that helps transform innovations into ventures ready to enter the marketplace.”

As they explain, “Innovation Park is an essential building block to Notre Dame’s goal of becoming a pre-eminent research university. The Park will provide the means to translate research innovations from the campus to the marketplace, in many different fields. It will also provide new, experiential learning opportunities for students from all colleges within the University.

“Similar parks associated with other universities in the state and around the country have proven to be solid means for inspiring new research, bringing innovative ideas to the marketplace, creating industry-university relationships, and for spurring local economic growth.”

On the other hand, a business park is more generic defined as “an area of land in which many office buildings are grouped together.”

The city of Davis is not looking to bring together a group of office buildings, what Davis is looking to do is closer to what Notre Dame describes, taking research transforming it to the markplace.

As Studio 30 describes, “Innovation centers do not focus on recruiting a particular business or industry but instead try to attract a wide range of businesses whose only similarity maybe that they are innovative or cutting edge. Many centers include incubators for new and emerging companies to nurture cutting edge new technology.”

So to answer the question, no the Innovation Park is not simply a rebranding of a business park. An Innovation Park is a specific type of business park focusing on university research and high technology research that is transferred to the private sector.

Key to this concept is the notion of technology transfer which allows technology that was created during research activities to be further developed into marketable products for the benefit of the public.

The Studio 30 report outlines some key benefits to the university, including the ability to “attract research anchors, such as major national laboratories, major corporate tenants, or centers of excellence.”

These research facilities will help to attract research faculty, they increase the opportunity for the university to commercialize its intellectual property, they offer a place for faculty and students to work with industry, they “foster the type of interaction between industry and universities that is critical for translating research knowledge into new technological inventions.”

Studio 30 writes, “Research parks can bring these varied professionals to a single location and, through shared laboratory space, meeting room, and break facilities, can provide a forum for efficient communication.”

On the community side, we can see the benefits of bringing in high caliber firms, growth in the number of existing and new companies, high salaries for employees, employment growth in the community and region, improvement on the local tax base, and business will provide services to center customers and employers generate additional revenue for the community.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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79 thoughts on “Is an Innovation Park Just a Rebranding of a Business Park?”

  1. Gunrocik

    And the loyal opposition speaks.  What is your solution to generating the revenue needed to start paying for all of the city’s unfunded liabilities — many of which became liabilities during your term on the City Council?

  2. South of Davis

    David wrote:
    > “Isn’t “Innovation Park” just a rebranding of “Business Park”?

    Yes
    > How is an innovation park any different from a business park?”
    It will have bike and electric car parking spaces.
    With that said I’m in support of Davis getting some new buildings where people can work (or innovate) in town without having to drive back and forth across the causeway every day (or to Vacaville)…
     

  3. DT Businessman

    An innovation park is clearly not a business park.  What’s not clear is whether these peripheral components to a dispersed innovation center are innovation parks or business parks.  Somebody please explain to me how the two applications meet the attributes separating an innovation from a business park:

    Master-planned property and buildings designed primarily for private-public R&D facilities, high-technology and science-based companies, and support services;
    A contractual, formal, or operational relationship with one or more science-research institutions;
    A role in promoting the university’s R&D through industry partnerships, assisting in the growth of new ventures, and promoting economic development; and,
    A role in aiding the transfer of technology and business skills between university and industry teams.

    #2 in particular separates the wheat from the chaff.

    The Wikipedia article found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_park  provides an even starker contrast between an innovation park and a business park. 

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Mark West

      DT:  “An innovation park is clearly not a business park.  What’s not clear is whether these peripheral components to a dispersed innovation center are innovation parks or business parks. Somebody please explain to me how the two applications meet the attributes separating an innovation from a business park”

      I’m not sure it really matters.  Is there a rule that states that a business park may not be included as part of a ‘dispersed innovation center’?  Seems to me the entire concept of the ‘dispersed innovation center’ is to take advantage of all of the diverse assets that the City has to offer to meet the needs of these growing innovative companies. I don’t see why it is an imperative that all of the components that make up the ‘dispersed innovation center’ would need to be considered stand alone ‘innovation parks’ by themselves.

      Examples cited of such a role are the university having an ownership interest or even outright ownership of the park,

      The University doesn’t pay property taxes, so any park owned outright by the University would be a complete failure from the City’s fiscal perspective.

      1. DT Businessman

        Mark, why then all the gobbledygook about innovation and research parks? Why even bother having an Innovation Park Task Force? Why commission a Studio 30 Report for best practices? If a a business park is hunky dory, just get on with it! Why the head fake?

        -Michael Bisch

    2. Davis Progressive

      “An innovation park is clearly not a business park. ”

      i don’t think you’re correct.  an innovation park is a type of business park.  a business park is not necessarily an innovation park.

      1. DT Businessman

        No need to argue with me, DP. Argue with Wikipedia and the rest of the literature. I provided a link. Go ahead and click it. Or continue to make it up as you go along. Whatever floats your boat.

         

        -Michael Bisch

  4. DT Businessman

    To be clear, #2 is a requirement for a very strong, active, central university role, not an indirect, fuzzy role as claimed by some of the VG bloggers.  Examples cited of such a role are the university having an ownership interest or even outright ownership of the park, a veto over architectural design and over which tenants can locate within the park.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Anon

      Do we really want UCD to have an ownership interest/outright ownership?  That is exactly the type of thing that causes the town/gown friction; and could interfere with the city’s need to generate sizable tax revenue.  There are going to be difficulties enough working out a tax sharing agreement with the county.  The talks that are going on right now between the city and UCD in regard to the Nishi site are very fruitful and collaborative.

  5. Tia Will

    Innovation centers do not focus on recruiting a particular business or industry but instead try to attract a wide range of businesses whose only similarity maybe that they are innovative or cutting edge. Many centers include incubators for new and emerging companies to nurture cutting edge new technology.”

    Using just this one part of the presentation as a point of departure, it would appear that our conversation to date appears to be entangling two separate goals which may be causing some of he dissension.

    On the one hand, we are touting these developments as places where “incubators” for new ideas generated by the university can flourish. If this is the goal, that would seem to be compatible with the core strengths of the university and the ideals of Davis as a forward thinking community.

    A separate goal of some is to “keep the businesses that we already have”, only not in their current form. It seems that the goal of some is to facilitate expansion to any size desired by existing companies whether or not it would be a good or appropriate fit for the Davis community. This would seem to me to be exactly what the above quote states is not a part of the concept, namely focusing on a particular business or industry to promote or in this case retain.

    I am fully supportive of the first goal, and feel that the second does indeed involve the city “picking winners and losers” and even more importantly making decisions about who does not qualify for what amounts to sponsorship from the city. As such, I cannot support this second action unless we were to apply such sponsorship equally to all businesses.

    1. Barack Palin

      I cannot support this second action unless we were to apply such sponsorship equally to all businesses.

      Good to know, so I guess you won’t have a problem if a GMO tech company or a MRAP manufacturer wants to locate in Davis.

      1. South of Davis

        Maybe the “Duck Dynasty” guys can open a west coast office to make “innovative” new products to get more on the left interested in guns and duck hunting…

      2. DavisBurns

        Ms. Palin, since you won’t leave the MRAP alone, here’s what one town did with their armored vehicle recently.  No cops were under any threat.

        The town of Stettin was granted a writ of execution to collect the $86,000 fine from the elderly man and then the Marathon County SWAT team made its move. A total of 24 armed law enforcement officers and an armored vehicle arrived on Roger Hoeppner’s property on October 2. The Marathon Count Response Vehicle – a MARV, rolled onto the property and reportedly frightened Mrs. Hoeppner so badly she had to be hospitalized.
        Marathon County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Bean argued that the military style deployment of an armored vehicle actually promotes safety and saves times and money as well. “I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” Captain Bean said. While those shocked by the use of a SWAT team to collect a fine tend to agree that ending a potentially violent standoff with such force could be necessary, they still voice doubt that 24 armed agents were necessary to get a check from one old man.
        Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1568196/marathon-county-wisconsin-deploys-military-tactics-and-swat-to-collect-fine-from-elderly-man/#HOB1yTCTCByeObCG.99

        1. Barack Palin

          My MRAP post was meant to be a joke, your post is totally off topic but I guess you found a way to fit it in anyway.  It looks like it is you that can’t leave the MRAP alone.  You should just wait, I’m sure David has 3 or 4 more MRAP articles still in him.  Moderator, if I was to reply are you going to delete my post?

    2. Anon

      To Tia: Why can’t the city do both?  Attract new tech businesses, including in collaboration with UCD; and try and keep already existing businesses here, if possible/desirable?  I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive, or one goal more desirable than another.  What you see as potential negatives I see as possibilities.

  6. Michael Harrington

    Gunrocik:  I’m not necessarily an opponent. I just haven’t seen much yet that is “innovative.”

    Cut more city employee expenses and balance the budget before exploding the city’s population and boundaries.

    And where’s the 2-1 land mitigation ?

    1. Anon

      To Michael Harrington:

      1.  Which city employees do you wish to cut?

      2.  How do you propose to balance the budget – without some source of new tax revenue generator like an innovation park?

      3.  It has already been noted there will be the required ag land mitigation.

      It is time to back up statements with substantive solutions.

      1. hpierce

        Methinks Mr Harrington’s preferences would include:

        No reduction in City services.  Actually, more responsiveness, particularly when he wants to continue encroaching on city property, while making sure that STEAC cannot expand their food closet operations on the City property (he’s been quite successful on this, but needed help from the wonderful Old North Davis contingent).

        Cap city employee compensation at that earned at Taco Bell (minimum wage and Medi-Cal).

        Revocation of all existing pensions to lowest amount allowed under Social Security.

        No retiree medical beyond Medicare Basic.

        [With all of the above, city would be ‘flush’ in no time.]

        And of course, 2 or 3 times land mitigation for any new project.

         

  7. Nancy Price

    So, now that we have a definition and discussion for what an “innovation” park is or is not, two more discussions are needed:

    1. We need a thorough-going discussion of the REAL financial bottom-lines. If this is going to be  “pushed through” by the new City Manager or “sold” to the community because it is supposed to solve the city’s financial problems, then…..we need an financial analysis that makes very clear the real costs and benefits.

    2. Furthermore, these projects must be cutting-edge examples of “innovation” in design, transportation, climate impact, etc., etc, anything short of that vision is not worthy of the characterization of “innovation.” There is plenty of talent and experience within the university and the city to create a team that researches what is being done globally and brings the most innovative ideas to the table.

    1. Frankly

      1. Is done.  Has been done.  Has been repeated… although not as many times as has been the repeated demand for it.

      2. Have you even read the proposals submitted?  They are both cutting edge in all these things.  I’m sure some will not be satisfied, and I’m sure there are some that will never be satisfied.  But from a practical realist perspective we already have what you are demanding.

      Dear VG – related to Nancy’s questions, can we create a new “personal library” facility or a “favorites” function where we can maintain a collection of links to content related to a specific topic and share it with the blogging community?  Even if each user was able to create their own favorites libraries so it would be easy to identify and find, at least a link could be provided to a poster asking questions that have already been answered.

      Now, this can be handled with browser favorites and bookmarks, but it is much more cumbersome than would be some well-done internal function.   I have this same functionality in a couple of newspaper blog/online sites where I can save articles to my favorites collection, tag them with certain categories or key words, and enter a personal comment that helps me locate important old stuff.

  8. Alan Miller

    “Innovation centers do not focus on recruiting a particular business or industry”

    Then, by the above, since the City is flipping handstands to keep one particular business here by building this (fill in the blank) park, it must be a business park.

    David wrote:
    > “Isn’t “Innovation Park” just a rebranding of “Business Park”?

    Yes
    > How is an innovation park any different from a business park?”
    It will have bike and electric car parking spaces.
    With that said I’m in support of Davis getting some new buildings where people can work (or innovate) in town without having to drive back and forth across the causeway every day (or to Vacaville)…

    Agree 100% with SOD above.

    If a company can provide jobs, but isn’t “cutting edge”, are they going to be excluded? I think the jobs are the important thing, and while we may go for “high end” jobs, any jobs are good.

    BTW, is a company that promises flying cars 2-years-in-the-future for the last 40 years “cutting edge”?

    And is almond butter “innovative”?
     

    1. Anon

      Alan Miller:  “If a company can provide jobs, but isn’t “cutting edge”, are they going to be excluded? I think the jobs are the important thing, and while we may go for “high end” jobs, any jobs are good.”

      Well said!  I also agree with your tongue in cheek comment about flying cars, and asking is that “cutting edge”?  The point is, what “cutting edge” means varies, depending on point of view.

      1. South of Davis

        Anon wrote:

        > I also agree with your tongue in cheek comment about flying cars

        The flying car comment might not be so “tongue in cheek” I was surprised to find out that “flying car”I first saw in a magazine as a kid was a product of Davis.

        http://daviswiki.org/moller_international

        P.S. David it sure would be cool if you could replace the “glider” above the innovation park with a “Moller Skycar” using Photoshop for your next article…

        1. Alan Miller

          The flying car comment might not be so “tongue in cheek”

          I assure you that my tongue was buried so far in cheek that I tasted the almond butter from Dixon that I’d been storing in my cheek, like a chipmunk, since the early 70’s.

      2. Alan Miller

        “Well said!  I also agree with your tongue in cheek comment about flying cars, and asking is that “cutting edge”?  The point is, what “cutting edge” means varies, depending on point of view.”

        2014-10-28:  Let this be known as the day Alan Miller and Anon agreed.

    2. Jim Frame

      If a company can provide jobs, but isn’t “cutting edge”, are they going to be excluded? I think the jobs are the important thing, and while we may go for “high end” jobs, any jobs are good.

      I’m not about to vote in favor of annexing land just to see a bunch of call centers and/or warehouses become part of the city.  I think any proposal that doesn’t obligate the developer to fill the project with businesses that meet the high-tech/university-spinoff concept is DOA come election time.

        1. Jim Frame

          So I guess that means you are in favor of raising everyone’s taxes.

          Given the choice between 1) adding hundreds of acres of financially low-density businesses offering a lot of low-wage commuter jobs (few of those workers will be able to afford to live in Davis, after all) or 2) raising taxes, I’ll take raising taxes — mine *and* yours — any day.

          Fortunately, those aren’t the only choices we have.  We have the ability to ensure that predominately financially dense businesses capable of generating high-end jobs and high tax revenues locate in the proposed spaces; we just have to make sure to follow through on those requirements.

          As I indicated above, if the proposals that make it to the ballot don’t offer those assurances, I believe they’ll generate strong opposition and will fail to gain Measure R approval.  This is the reason it’s critical to make sure that all the players — the developers, their prospective clients, city staff and the voting public — understand and agree upon the goal.

        2. Mark West

          Ah, yes.  My favorite ‘look at me I am willing to raise my own taxes so my position is justified…’ argument.  If you want to pay more in taxes, write a check to the City.  If you want to raise my taxes show me how raising taxes without economic development is sustainable (save your breath, it is not).

          The lease rates on any commercial property in Davis will be much higher than what is available in Natomas,  West Sacramento, or even Woodland.  The call center/warehouse businesses that you seem to detest won’t set up in Davis for the simple reason that there are cheaper places to do business nearby, and keeping their costs low is their overriding business concern (which is why they put call centers in poor countries with cheap labor, and warehouses in nondescript buildings in the middle of nowhere).

          The companies that will move into a business park in Davis are those that gain some added benefit from locating near the University.  On the whole, those will be the high value businesses that you want to come to town.  Obligating the developer to only allow certain types of business to set up shop however is a recipe for failure, since no one can predict today what businesses will succeed in the location.  In my opinion, your argument in favor of restricting the developer in this way appears to be nothing more than a veiled attempt to stop development, while at the same time appearing to be open minded.

        3. Jim Frame

          Ah, yes.  My favorite ‘look at me I am willing to raise my own taxes so my position is justified…’ argument.  If you want to pay more in taxes, write a check to the City.  If you want to raise my taxes show me how raising taxes without economic development is sustainable (save your breath, it is not).

          I’m afraid you misunderstood my intent.  I wasn’t trying to justify anything, I was simply stating that I would prefer to raise your taxes — oh, and mine too, but that’s beside the point — rather than vote in favor of an undesirable development.  If the majority (or supermajority, depending on circumstances) agree with me, then we all pay higher taxes.  It’s the way things work.

          And, no, sorry, I don’t plan on writing any “independent” checks to the city.

      1. Aggie

        I’m with JF on this one. Davis’ competitive advantage is leveraging UCD to build a robust tech cluster. It would be a shame to see precious acreage consumed by things like call centers, warehouse distribution centers, traditional manufacturing, etc. These businesses would certainly bring in short term gains, but at the expense of the long term opportunity. I’m also not convinced that a Davis technology/innovation/business/research park/center/district will be competitive for these types of end users because of the glut of entitled land and vacant space in the region that is available at a much lower price than what Davis will be able to deliver.

        I don’t favor raising taxes and bailing out this council that has failed to execute the 2010 BPLS for four years.

  9. Frankly

    Those in opposition of growing our local economy to a level of parity with other comparable cities seem to just ping-pong from one complaint to another.  So here we are at the current claim that these parks will just be “business parks”, and not “innovation parks”.   Putting aside for the moment the point of “why the heck should we care”, the second point is…

    WHY DO WE THINK WE ARE INVENTING THE WHEEL?

    Do the people raising these challenges ever leave our little cash-strapped village and see the rest of the US?  If they did they would note that we are not the first city to plan and develop a technology or innovation park.  In fact, we are WAY DOWN THE LIST of cities doing progressive economic development.  We are the reactionary chumps in this game.

    Solve the problem with zoning rules.

    https://techparks.arizona.edu/

    http://www.plantation.org/Planning-Zoning/Technology-Park.html

    The goal of the Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Department is to provide professional leadership to the citizenry and business community of Plantation in the use of land and resources as well as to provide assistance to businesses that are expanding or relocating to Plantation in order to ensure a continued balance between the economy and environment.

     

    Partner with the university and SACTO and SARTA and other economic development organizations to recruit the types of business we want to see.

    Research the types of properties desired by the types of businesses we want to see locate here, and make sure the development agreements specify those types of properties.

    But again… why the heck do we care so much about the type of business?  Is a high-tech manufacturing business bad for the city assuming it meets top-level green standards?  Not at all.

    I’m not sure where this “business park” versus “innovation park” concern generates from… but I think those raising the point have some soul-searching to do.  It seems there is maybe some thinly veiled bias to prevent certain types of people from working in the city.  I find that reprehensible.

    There is so much energy going toward this constant stream of challenges… too bad that energy isn’t going toward contribution to leveraging the tremendous opportunities this city has to design and develop some world-class, cutting edge, economic development.

  10. DavisBurns

    Key to this concept is the notion of technology transfer which allows technology that was created during research activities to be further developed into marketable products for the benefit of the public?

    What silly garbage.  The products will benefit the private companies invested in the venture.  Any public benefit is strictly peripheral. It could, in fact, be the opposite of beneficial.  That is the nature of our economy.
    Bold option didn’t want to turn off…

    1. Davis Progressive

      it’s not garbage or silly.  do you benefit from breakthroughs in medical technology, improved agricultural techniques, improvements in high tech?  i think the answer is yes.

  11. DavisBurns

    I think we spend way too much time arguing about whether an innovation park is different from a business park and far too little time discussing how added business (as opposed to housing) development on the periphery of Davis will benefit the city and what the costs to the city will be.  The whole endless debate here seems pointless.  We have forces at work that want to develop a space for new business start ups that are spin offs from university research.  I just don’t see why that makes a hill of beans difference except as it impacts the city’s bottom line and impacts the current residents.  Usually start up businesses are riskier and more prone to failure but that is not the issue except as it impacts us.  We don’t want to allow the development and have startup failures, so seems logical to try to pick winners however, the financial backers of the start up company would be most likely to have that as their primary concern.

    Day after day, this discussion goes on.  I don’t see any new ideas.  An innovation park is a peripheral business development.  As with any development, our concern is how it effects us.  Can we spend more time on the cost/benefit to the community?  Or are we deadlocked with the pro-growth movement unwilling to concede any downside and the no-slow-growth movement unwilling to concede any financial benefit? What I read here is you are either for an innovation park or you are attacked. Any new venture will have pros and cons.

    If you have provided real projections for revenue and expenses, social and quality of life impacts, please provide that information again and forgo the impulse to re-hash the same tired information.  There is nothing magical about a business development that has the intent to help private companies develop and market, for profit, products derived from public university research.  As I have said previously and Frankly said today, this concept is NOT NEW!  There are innovation parks across the country, some new, some have been around for a long time.  What we do here won’t be exactly like what was done elsewhere but we are not re-inventing the wheel.

    the other issue I would like discussed is how we balance our budget for the next five years.  How about a hard look at that imminent problem?  It isn’t like we are going to vote on a business development of any sort in November.  At this rate, everyone in town will be as fed up with this never ending bickering long before it becomes a real possibility and just tune it out.  If, however, you talk about our budget shortfall now, you might convince some people to consider the need for business development.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “I think we spend way too much time arguing about whether an innovation park is different from a business park and far too little time discussing how added business (as opposed to housing) development on the periphery of Davis will benefit the city and what the costs to the city will be.”

      it seems like in order to discuss things, we must define our terms.  i’m agreeable with the rest of the issues, but laying a foundation is necessary.

  12. Frankly

    What I read here is you are either for an innovation park or you are attacked.

    You are either for peripheral economic development as a means to bring the city to long term financial viability, or you are against it but without alternative proposals for bringing the city to long term financial viability… then you are attacked… and justifiably so IMO.

    Any new venture will have pros and cons.

    Just simplify this and say that any change will have pros and cons.  And if you are against the change you will focus on the cons.  If you are for the change, you will focus on the pros.  If you are not biased, but objective, you will focus on a cost/risk versus benefits determination and allow that to back your final opinion.

    But beware those that claim they are the latter but then never stop demanding more facts to support their claim of objectivity, because those will be biased people lacking awareness or honesty about their bias.

    At some point we know enough to make an informed decision.  I think we hit that point many months ago.

    1. Don Shor

      It could be useful to have a chart of these points, perhaps edited and updated periodically, which I could store on a server and post as a link and image. There are new people coming into these discussions, and others who find the amount of data and discussion hard to absorb all at once. So a reference folder could be handy, and I’d be happy to sort and store that.

    2. hpierce

      New sites don’t HAVE to be peripheral… but bottom line is it is likely (95%) that that’s where the growth of stable innovation/research parks will accrue.  Other sites have serious constraints, in the immediate neighborhoods.  More is the pity.

  13. Aggie

    When did this goofy concept of “dispersed innovation center” creep into the dialog? What does that even mean?

    I just read the Studio 30 study and a “dispersed innovation center” is not mentioned a single time. What it does say is this:

    Dispersed Innovation Strategy
    Many case studies show that successful innovation centers are part of a larger strategy that provides a variety of opportunities for all types of businesses in various states of growth. A multi-site or dispersed strategy may be the best approach for the City.

    The “dispersed innovation strategy” makes a lot of sense. The concept of a “dispersed innovation center” is just dumb, particularly since it is highly unlikely that there will be any formal coordination between the dispersed projects.

    I read the staff report where this term first appears, and it seems to me that its a clumsy shorthand for a “strategy of dispersed innovation centers.”

    The actual motion adopted by the City Council on 11/13/2012 authorizes the staff to pursue a “dispersed innovation strategy” . Here it is from the minutes. The word “center” was used by staff – not voted on by council.

    Swanson moved, seconded by D. Wolk, to accept the Studio 30 Davis Innovation Center Final Report and approve Resolution No. 12-174 – Confirming Conclusions of Innovation Park Task Force and “Davis Innovation Center Study” Report Supporting a Dispersed Innovation Center Strategy, to:

    1. Adopt a new fiscal model that accurately evaluates both the fiscal impacts and economic benefits of new innovation/research development for the community.

    2. Pursue a “Dispersed Innovation Strategy” offering flexible space (scalability) supporting needs of growing and new businesses. A combined approach of near term close-in hub with mid-term, larger less constrained edge sites offer the best mix of University proximity and expansion capability for the City:

    A. Maximize Existing Inventory to increase development certainty, and flexibility.

    B. Review existing land use, zoning and tax structure with objectives of supporting retention and growth of innovation businesses and maximizing revenue opportunities.

    C. Near Term – The Gateway (Downtown Research & University Innovation District) option offers the best close/in location due to the proximity to University and property owner and University interest, and should be pursued as the City’s top innovation center priority.

    D. Mid-Term – The East and West “edge” sites offer viable options for location and size of larger innovation centers meeting needs of growing mid-sized companies, and should be continued to be explored, along with other potential viable sites, as part of a mid-term Dispersed Innovation Strategy.

     

    1. Frankly

      Both A. and B. are too nebulous to be useful at this point in time.  C and D are the proposals on the table that will come up for Measure R votes next year.

    2. Davis Progressive

      good post.  michael bisch seems to consistently miss the fact that studio 30 explicitly stated there was insufficient space to do what we needed without a peripheral strategy.

  14. Aggie

    DP: After some additional reflection, my assessment is that:
    (1) Entitlement of a significant amount of tech park land is mission critical with respect to fiscal sustainability.
    (2) Nishi, in its current form, is a “nice-to-have” that will have a trivial fiscal impact relative to a real tech park.
    (3) Downtown redevelopment and Nishi are at risk of becoming irrelevant to the fiscal sustainability solution – hence this weird rhetoric about a “dispersed innovation center” that includes Nishi and the downtown.

    I think it would be useful for the City to contract for a combined fiscal analysis of Nishi, Mace, and Covell to get an unbiased quantitative analysis of the relative fiscal benefits.

    1. Gunrocik

      Thumbs up, what Aggie said!

      I will also wager that no matter how many studies, how many concessions, how many protections are written into the development agreement, and no matter how much guaranteed income will be generated by the project — Harrington, Price, Neiberg and Doc Will — will adamantly oppose the project for reasons not yet enunciated by any of them.

      I am confident that the rest of us will ensure that adequate due diligence will take place — and 90% of the community will be good with the final product.  Which gives the project plenty of support when it gets to be vote time and the CAVE people begin a campaign that convinces another 30% of the community that miles and miles of home subdivisions and rush hour gridlock from Covell to Cowell are natural inevitabilities from the “sprawling, growth inducing, evil” business park.

       

      1. Aggie

        Gunrocik: You might be correct about Harrington et al … but I’m not so sure. The fiscal sustainability problem is very real. I’m still hopeful that at least some of these individuals can be persuaded in the full course of time.

        Moreover, they make some valid points. For example, Harrington has asked repeatedly where the mitigation acreage is for the proposals already on the table. Fair question. Where’s the 88-acres for Nishi, the 424 acres for Mace, and the 416 acres for Covell? Why hide the ball? It just breeds suspicion. Nishi and Mace cannot meet the adjacency requirement, so what are their alternate mitigation proposals as required by the Davis Municipal Code? It’s not too early in the process for the applicants to address these questions straight up.

  15. Tia Will

    Harrington, Price, Neiberg and Doc Will — will adamantly oppose the project for reasons not yet enunciated by any of them.”

    Interesting that you know my mind since, as I stated at the forum, I have not yet made a decision on any of the projects. I have expressed a number of concerns which you are choosing to totally ignore, but have not yet made a decision and have said as much on a number of occasions. I am thinking at this point that maybe I should just stop thinking about the issues altogether and just wait for you and Frankly and SOD to tell me what I must be thinking. It would certainly be easier that way.

    1. Mark West

      Dr. Will:  “Interesting that you know my mind since, as I stated at the forum, I have not yet made a decision on any of the projects. I have expressed a number of concerns which you are choosing to totally ignore, but have not yet made a decision and have said as much on a number of occasions.”

      The Doctor doth protest too much, methinks.

    2. Gunrocik

      You have been very open about your “minimalist” approach to society.  Let’s face it, I don’t think there is any way that any project with a sliver of hope of being financially successful will ever meet your unrealistic standards for new development.   You’ve stated on many occasions your lack of expertise in Urban Planning, yet you openly denigrate the Cannery project — which will likely be one of the most sustainable projects to ever be built in the Valley.   Given the need for a public vote, I’m guessing the Innovation Park will be even more cutting edge than the Cannery.  Unfortunately, it will generate cars and draw people – two things that you seem to find unacceptable for any project.

      I just find it unproductive for the proponents to waste any time at all placating guaranteed opponents to a project.

  16. DT Businessman

    That’s a weird post, DP. I’m the one that consistently quotes the Studio 30 report while you and your buddies use it to support your arguments then denigrate the report when it doesn’t. No hypocrisy there.

    Furthermore, I’m not the one INSISTING these peripheral parks will be innovation parks. The project proponents such as Rob White are the ones INSISTING that these will be innovation parks. As recently as 2 weeks ago at the VG forum Matt Yancy from the Chamber was assuring the audience that these would NOT be business parks (last time I checked Doby was a Chamber board member by the way). Then when the applications come in, lo and behold, we see that these are without question business parks, not innovation parks. It’s funny to watch the proponents then run away from their former positions all  the while casting aspersions at those pointing out their own inconsistencies.  “Nope, that quacking, waddling, web-footed thing is not a duck. Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    Good luck winning a Measure R vote with that strategy.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Davis Progressive

      i’ve recently read the full studio 30 report and while you may quote from it, you are doing so selectively and omitting statements you don’t agree with or that do not fit your agenda.

      you need to substantiate your claim with actual facts that the proposals are not innovation parks.  i don’t want to see a wikipedia link, i want you to show me where in the proposal that they do not fit the definitions of innovation parks.

      1. Aggie

        If you want to debate semantics with this individual, a more interesting topic would be “Is the Innovation Hub (AKA Nishi Gateway) Just a Rebranding of a High-Density Housing Project?”

      2. DT Businessman

        Strange post, DP.  I have no need to substantiate my claim.  Did you not read David’s article above including the bullet points and David’s commentary expanding on the  bullet points?

        You have me confused with another poster.  I’m on board with all aspects of the Studio 30 report and their proposed strategy, which the CC adopted. Meanwhile, other posters have clearly stated that they support only certain aspects of the strategy, not others, or have stated that the strategy has served its purpose and is no longer relevant.

        -Michael Bisch

        1. Davis Progressive

          then don’t.  i  therefore categorically reject your claim that it’s not an innovation park due to lack of evidence.

          i’m not confusing you with anyone, you pick and choose which portions of the studio 30 report to cite.

  17. DT Businessman

    Speaking of winning a Measure R vote, it seems to me some of the peripheral whatchamacallit proponents have either forgotten these projects are subject to a popular vote or are extremely confident of winning a popular vote. How else to explain their eagerness to splinter the coalition support for these projects thereby chasing away potential supporters?

    -Michael Bisch

  18. DT Businessman

    Example: “The fact that there is not a RESEARCH PARK (in Davis) is a phenomenal missed opportunity.” -Barbara Hayes, CEO, SARTA

    I guess Barabara, Rob White and Matt Yancy didn’t get the memo from DP, Doby and some of the other VG bloggers that it doesn’t matter that these are only business parks instead of innovation or research parks.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Matt Williams

      Michael, when you make snarky comments like this one and the others you have made in this thread I often wonder whether you shouldn’t change your screen name from DT Businessman to Legume Processor.

    2. DavisBurns

      1. Adopt a new fiscal model that accurately evaluates both the fiscal impacts and economic benefits of new innovation/research development for the community.

      I am new to trying to understand city financing but I can study financial statements and staff reports if I have access to them.  Where is this new fiscal model? Where is the analysis, from the city  that evaluates the fiscal impacts and benefits?  If the city wants this to happen, we need them to provide this information.

      I was involved in objecting to the street light retrofit project . I have spend many hours reading the documents that led to us making a $325,000 mistake.  Having self financed the least expensive and most cost effective portion of the three part project, we have now set a course to borrow money from Siemens to complete the remaining 2/3rds with a fifteen year payback and a project expected to last fifteen years.  We will have access to that contract a day or two before it is approved by the city council.  If we can go about an energy audit in such an incompetent manner, screw up on small part of it and learn nothing from our mistakes, I shudder to think that this is standard operating procedure.  The people involved in the  water rates must have the feelings.  The street light project, if it wants to save money and reduce energy use, needs broader goals and community involvement before we begin.   Putting up demonstration projects with no community outreach and assuming no complaints meant community buy-in was short sighted to say least.  I will tell you one of the lamps in the demo project was a Green Conra Jr., the lamp we are now installing  albeit a warmer temperature.

      Someone referred to our process as ready, fire, aim. I think that sums it up.  We approved the cannery with the developer making promises they now want to turn into a CDF .  (Everyone knows, of course, the schools had the option of a one time payment from the developers or passing the costs on to the taxpayers and the schools chose the taxpayers–one more cost developers didn’t have to pay) That should have been dealt with before we signed off on the deal.  We think we got the best deal going with design, build operate and maybe we will be lucky but there are other communities who have made these same decisions using CH2MHill and rued the day.  Like the street lights, did anyone have a look at how things went south for other communities or did we just think, this is a huge company with a great reputation and they will be great to work with?  Of course, I also wonder how Siemens was chosen to do our energy audit, and if the street light project which required no competitive bid, wasn’t simply cronyism. I think Siemens are pals with Leotek and the Leotek salesman said, “here, this is a great product, we sell lots of them” and that’s how our glare bombs were selected. Is it any wonder responsible citizens want some upfront accountability.   IMHO, our city stumbles from one snafu to the next. You bet I want more info and the opportunity to ask questions.  A report when it’s a done deal isn’t worth much.

       

  19. Gunrocik

    Slow down DT Businessman, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  You seem to be reading the first chapter of the book and then already assuming what the ending will be.  Methinks DT envy is clouding your objectivity of edge projects.

    1. Davis Progressive

      exactly – we have an application which then goes through a process and will be revised.  i think it would be helpful if mr. bisch simply states which parts of the proposal he doesn’t like and then we might be able to state whether we agree or disagree.

  20. DT Businessman

    Hm….more of the same.  Chipping away at the foundation of support and abandoning the strategy that got you this far seems an odd approach to winning a Measure R vote.  I would have thought you’d want to shore up your support and add to it, not the reverse.  It will be interesting to see which approach the applicants, city staff and the CC choose to follow.

     

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Anon

      How are the two proposals (Mace; NWQuadrant) not” innovation parks”, especially because this is so early in the planning stages and there is no way to specify exactly what precise business will go where?  I am just not following your reasoning.  I am very much in support of a “dispersed innovation strategy” as I think you have suggested, that ensures that any peripheral innovation park becomes an integral positive part of the community through connectivity, minimizes impacts to downtown businesses, provides amenities that can be used for the entire community, etc.  Your complaints sound more like a fear that peripheral “business parks” may be the result of all of this, and compete with existing downtown businesses.  I’m not sure if that is your concern, but that appears to me to be what is coming across from your discussions.  Please explain your position if I have misunderstood.

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