City Staff Recommends City Council Place Nishi Gateway on Ballot this Tuesday

Nishi Developer Tim Ruff presents on two weeks ago with Brett Lee and Katherine Hess looking on
Nishi Developer Tim Ruff presents two weeks ago with Brett Lee and Katherine Hess looking on

In preparation for Tuesday’s Davis City Council meeting, city staff have recommended that the Council approve the NIshi Gateway project for a June election.

“Staff believes that the project appropriately integrates the City goals for economic development, housing, environmental sustainability, community character, and fiscal responsibility,” they wrote in their report to the Council.

Specifically, they noted that:

  • Nishi is a priority of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Sustainable Communities Strategy.

  • The housing at Nishi will shorten commutes for many workers, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • “The project has sustainability components stronger than any development in Davis.”

  • “The Nishi property has a walkable and bike-friendly location that lends itself to a dense, mixed-use development.”

  • “Housing and businesses on the Nishi property will provide customers for local businesses, particularly downtown merchants.”

  • “The project includes a grade-separated connection to the Old Davis road on the UC Davis campus.” This second access point was a priority for many Davis residents.

  • “Development Impact Fees from project can assist in contributions to improving operations of the Richards Boulevard corridor, and the project will not go forward until Interchange improvements and the connection to the UC Davis campus are completed.”

  • “EPS [the city’s consultant] found that the total one-time impact of construction of the Nishi project is estimated at 1,000 jobs, $186 million of output, and $75 million of labor income in the Davis economy, while estimates for the Yolo County economy show 1,800 jobs, $329 million of output, and $130 million of labor income. The Nishi project is estimated to produce an ongoing economic impact in the Davis economy that totals between 1,500 and 1,800 jobs, $315 million and $385 million of output, and $89 million and $107 million of labor income.”

  • The project will generate a net fiscal positive benefit to the City, according to the Davis Finance and Budget Commission

“The proposal successfully achieves a very difficult balance of multiple and diverse policy objectives,” they concluded. “While it can be easy to get caught up in pursuit of perfection on any given issue, staff believes that the proposal appropriately integrates city goals for housing, economic development, sustainability, and community character.”

“I appreciate the hardwork of city staff and consultants. I believe the City Council and Davis community have all the information they need to make an informed decision about the future of the Nishi Gateway,” said Tim Ruff, managing partner of the Nishi Gateway project. “This Tuesday, supporters of the Nishi Gateway have a simple request of the Council: after eight years of collaboration and community input, we urge the City Council to accept the staff recommendation to put the project on the June ballot.”

Last Tuesday, the Finance and Budget Commission determined by a 5-1-1 vote that once fully operational, Nishi would generate up to $1.4 million annually for the city’s general fund, helping support any number of city services without new taxation on existing residents.

The project has also recently earned two key endorsements from the Davis Chamber of Commerce and ASUCD, along with nine former mayors and city council members. While the ASUCD vote was 11-1 in support of Nishi, upon learning more about the project, the dissenting senator now supports Nishi as well, demonstrating unanimous support from the ASUCD.

(This was submitted to the Vanguard as a press release)


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4 thoughts on “City Staff Recommends City Council Place Nishi Gateway on Ballot this Tuesday”

  1. Tia Will


    the project will not go forward until Interchange improvements and the connection to the UC Davis campus are completed.”

    I remain unclear on this point. My understanding from the forum was not that the “project would not go forward until interchange improvements….” but rather that occupancy would not occur until these changes were made. Obviously it is far different for buildings to go up and remain vacant than for buildings to not go up at all, with very different implications. Can you clarify this point for me ?

    1. David Greenwald

      At the February 2 meeting, they added an additional contingency: “The Baseline Project Features call for all backbone infrastructure, including the grade-separated crossing to UC Davis and the improvements to the Richards Boulevard interchange, be completed prior to any occupancy on the Nishi site.

        Construction on the Nishi site could begin only after construction has begun on the interchange and the grade-separated crossing


    2. hpierce

      See David’s comment above… very unlikely that the developer would “roll the dice”, and sink costs into even infrastructure until both required projects are at least underway… not just approved and funded, but “dirt moving”… to do otherwise would be the height of folly…

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