Commentary: On UCD Housing Obligations

Student-Housing-3

Next week, UC Davis will hold more public hearings on its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).  On the Vanguard, we have discussed many of these issues at length, but I find the discussion fascinating in a lot of ways.  The slow growth community has made it its revived raison d’être to push UC Davis to put more housing on campus.

There are a number of legitimate reasons to agree with this approach.  UC Davis expansion policies, for one, have put additional pressure regionally and in this community to provide student housing.  UC Davis, with a large swath of available land – despite years of promises – has among the lowest percentages of on-campus student housing in the UC system, above only land-locked UC Berkeley.

There are good land use issues for this as well.  Students living on campus will be more likely to walk or bike rather than drive –  although the percentage of students driving is continuing to drop, even among those who live in the city but off-campus.

UC Davis should be commended for expanding the number of students that they plan to house on-campus.  If they follow through with their commitments, they will house 90 percent of all new students on campus and increase their overall percentage to 40 percent.  As commenters have noted, however, that still lags behind the plans for many of the other UCs.

Where I start disagreeing with this push is on several issues.

First, I believe that, while UC Davis should increase the number of students it houses on campus, their 90 percent goal is probably a reasonable goal.  Some want to push UC Davis to take on more housing, but I don’t think that’s realistic.

Second, I believe that even the 90 percent target is optimistic.  Is UC Davis going to follow through on this commitment? They haven’t met their goals for on-campus housing over the last 30 years.  Having watched the slow progress of West Village – I’m not sure how you can count on them to build for 6200 students in the next 10 years.

Along the same lines, even if they do make that commitment, we still need more student housing.  It’s not just the 800 students that will be added without new housing, but the current state of the rental market, the lack of available housing for the current students, that needs to be addressed.

I have spoken with landlords and apartment managers this week who have told me that they have no vacancies and that they have uncovered some scams where tenants are subleasing their rooms with a considerable markup, without the permission of the landlord.

Last spring we heard complaints about the living conditions that some rental housing owners have been able to get away with, due to the scarcity of available housing.

I believe Davis as the host city benefits from the university and does have obligations to house students.  I am not moved by arguments that the university’s growth policies abrogate the city’s obligations here.  Moreover, I think we can add housing in the form of a few apartment complexes to alleviate the crunch.  We have identified some locations and probably need to identify a few more, but I fail to see how adding four apartment complexes to town is going to harm this community greatly.

At the same time, I am troubled by some of the rhetoric starting to emerge.  Some have made a point that we are accommodating foreign students.  For me, the policies of UC with regards to admissions should be immaterial to the issue of providing housing.

There was a comment on the Enterprise site, “U.C.D. is producing damaging effects when it displaces its problems to Davis. Time for U.C.D. to be morally responsible and provide housing and other amenities for its new students rather than making its problems Davis’.”

That’s pretty harsh rhetoric – what damaging effects have occurred?  UC Davis and Davis should have a symbiotic relationship.  Each one has had policies that have benefited the other and each one has policies that have worked in detriment.

I found Rich Rifkin’s response to that comment interesting, “What about housing on campus for faculty? And staff? And why shouldn’t UC Davis, under your plan, build all of its own shopping centers, including a big box hardware store, its own Wal-Mart, its own Target, its own Nordstrom’s, restaurant district, art galleries, beauty shops, banks, insurance agencies and so on? Why should they stop at just building housing for students, Jim, if your ‘logic’ is that growth at the university signifies ‘damaging effects’ to people in Davis?”

The point here is – is it the goal of slow growth advocates to force UC Davis to have its own city right next to Davis?  How does that really help our community?

In the end, I think UC Davis is moving in the right direction with its targets.  I think Davis needs to be realistic about the chance of UC Davis hitting those targets and should plan accordingly.  I’m not advocating massive new housing on the periphery, but I think we would benefit as a community by adding more housing in the city to alleviate some of the pressures and the impacts on neighborhoods caused by the scarcity of housing.

Davis adding housing is not going to cause UC Davis to suddenly abandon its plans to provide for 90 percent of new students.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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115 Comments

  1. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > they have uncovered some scams where tenants are subleasing their

    > rooms with a considerable markup without the permission of the landlord.

    This happens everywhere vacancy is low.  I rented my first apartment in SF from a “master tenant” and paid 80% of the rent each month for our 2 br apartment.  My favorite “sublease” story is where a friend made over $1,000/month profit for more than three years subleasing his SF apartment after him and his wife bought a home on the Peninsula.

    P.S. I was just talking to someone who’s grandma has lived in the Owendale Apartments (behind New Harmony) since it was built in 2003.  Since the place in just over 10 years old they are forcing the residents to move out for a couple months (putting them up at the Days Inn and giving them $1,200 for food) so they can “renovate” each unit giving the poor people granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances like their “low income” neighbors at New Harmony.  Only in Davis do all the people in “low income” housing have newer nicer kitchens than the majority of taxpayers who pay for them…

    P.P.S. Any idea when they are going to start renovating the city owned “low income” Symphony/Pacifico apartments on Drew Circle (that has been half empty since GW Bush was in the White House)?

  2. Tia Will

    For me, the policies of UC with regards to admissions should be immaterial to the issue of providing housing.”

    I agree with the major points of your article except this one. I would also agree with this point except for the fact that the primary mission of the University of California is to educate the students of California. Once qualified California residents are turned away in order to accommodate less qualified students from abroad in order to use their higher fees as a revenue stream, I can no longer support this position. Those very parents whose tax dollars are used to support the university should not then have to “pay additionally” in terms of the material costs ( crowding, traffic, infrastructure costs, changing neighborhoods ) of housing foreign students preferentially over more qualified in state students.

      1. Roberta Millstein

        Aside from the important issue that Tia raises (which is something we can care about as citizens even if it isn’t directly a housing issue), admitting more students from out of state and other countries is relevant to housing in the following way.  Many Californians, even if they are not in Davis, do not live in Davis but rather commute to Davis.  Why?  Because housing is expensive everywhere in the broader region, and it is cheaper to live at home.  I realize that this isn’t a desirable situation, but we’re not going to change it without changing people’s personal finances and the economy of the region.  How do I know that many students from CA live at home?  Well, for one thing, they talk to me, tell me they are caught in traffic and are going to be late for this or that.  Another is if you spend any time at the train station, you will see that that is likewise well used by commuting students.  So, it is just a fact that students from out of state and other countries will have to have housing, whereas students from CA may or may not.

      2. Tia Will

        David

        I see this as an admissions issue – and not one I disagree with, not a housing issue.”

        I see it as both. First for some of the reasons Roberta has stated, and also because in my experience, a number of students coming from other countries are from very wealthy families. This means that they are not only able to pay the increased university fees, but that they also are able to afford higher rents thus further limiting the supply of relatively affordable housing for those not so affluent regardless of whether or not they are Californian.

  3. Misanthrop

    There are also illegitimate reasons to demand more university housing instead of city housing and one is to suppress student participation in city elections particularly Measure R elections.

    1. Jim Frame

      There are also illegitimate reasons to demand more university housing instead of city housing and one is to suppress student participation in city elections particularly Measure R elections.

      This canard should be paired with the one about Davis homeowners opposing new development in order to keep their property values high.  In my opinion, neither has any significant truth to it, their only value is to development proponents in smearing those with whom they disagree.

      The student vote on local issues is tiny because they have other priorities.  I don’t know of anyone who opposes development in the city as a means of suppressing the student vote.

       

      1. South of Davis

        Jim wrote:

        > This canard should be paired with the one about Davis homeowners

        > opposing new development in order to keep their property values high.

        Do you really think this is a totally “unfounded” rumor?  Sure “every” homeowner in town is not voting against development to keep home values high, but a LOT of homeowners are (MOST/Over Half of the people who I talk politics with in town have admitted this to me).

        The number of people who want to “suppress the student vote” is a LOT smaller (probably under 1% somewhere around the number of political junkies who change their party every couple years to vote in the most competitive primary)

        1. Jim Frame

          (MOST/Over Half of the people who I talk politics with in town have admitted this to me).

          My experience is very different, having never heard this motivation expressed among the people I know.

           

  4. Grok

    The City of Davis is being asked to build 6 story private dorms in the community. These maxi-dorms are larger than any student housing that has ever been built on the UCD campus. UCD should build housing on a scale of what is being proposed in the city, on campus, instead of building 3 and 4 story buildings currently proposed. If UCD built out the sites proposed in the current LRDP at that larger scale UCD would easily house more than 100% of its increase in enrollment over the next decade and bring itself in line with the goal of housing 50% of students that is the goal of almost every other UC.

    1. South of Davis

      Grok wrote:

      > The City of Davis is being asked to build 6 story private dorms

      No one is asking the city to build private “dorms” (aka “dormitories”) in town.

      There are are people asking the city if they can build private “apartments” (aka “apartments”) in town.

      An example of a private “dorm” would be the (now UCSB owned and renamed) Francisco Torres near UCSB that had two bedrooms between a bathroom and a “dining hall”on the ground floor.

      https://localwiki.org/islavista/Santa_Catalina_(Francisco_Torres)

        1. Davis Progressive

          the key point you are missing is that just because the developer proposes something, doesn’t mean that the council will grant that proposal.  my guess is that the council will settle for four stories.  unfortunately that probably means we will have to add another apartment complex at some point.

          the rent by room stuff is interesting.  people were complaining that nishi couldn’t restrict rentals to students, now they are complaining when other apartments are proposing a structure to insure student rentals.

          the problem with calling them dorms is that they have kitchens, dorms on campus don’t.  in fact, the on-campus housing you propose for older students are characterized by the university as apartments not dorms.  distinguishing feature – kitchens.

        2. Grok

          DG are you trying to suggest that the developers are not actually prepared to build 6 story buildings in Davis, even though that is what the developers are proposing?

          No matter what you want to call these new buildings being proposed in Davis, the proposed buildings are bigger than on campus student housing buildings. There is no reason UCD can’t build projects like what are being proposed in Davis on campus. In fact even larger student housing projects could be appropriately placed and built on campus.

           

      1. Tia Will

        SOD

        a LOT of homeowners are (MOST/Over Half of the people who I talk politics with in town have admitted this to me).”

        Well, we must not have much over lap of our political and social circles. I regularly talk politics with many people in town and have had no one say the me that they do this themselves. It seems to me to be an urban legend. But again, that may be just a matter of different acquaintances.

      2. Tia Will

        SOD

        Unless Francisco Torres has been completely remodeled in the past 30 years, your description of the facility is inaccurate. I know, because I lived there.

        The model at that time was not two bedrooms separated by a bathroom but rather long rectangular rooms divided down the middle by a desk / bookshelf /drawer console with single beds at the each end of the room. In all but the floor supervisor resident rooms, there were two people per room. Two of these rooms were linked by a central bathroom which was shared by four residents.

        There was a central dining hall, recreational facilities and study rooms on the first floor.

        1. South of Davis

          I wrote:

          >  had two bedrooms between a bathroom and a

          > “dining hall”on the ground floor.

          Tia wrote:

          > there were two people per room. Two of these rooms

          > were linked by a central bathroom There was a central

          > dining hall … on the first floor.

          It sounds like we are saying the same thing unless you don’t consider a room shared by more than one person (or a room with desks in the middle) “bedrooms”

  5. Ron

    David (from article):  “Some want to push UC Davis to take on more housing, but I don’t think that’s realistic.”

    And, that opinion is based on ?

    Did you accurately predict the University’s earlier response to house 90% of new students, and their subsequent modification of their (draft) plans to preserve more of Russell Field?  None of those things would have happened, without community involvement.

    Have you failed to notice that others (e.g., Edison) have repeatedly pointed out that there are companies that specialize in providing high-rise student housing on campus, at no cost to the University?

    Why do you think that the city has an “obligation” to accommodate a planned enrollment increase by the University, when the University hasn’t finalized its housing plans, and has not adequately involved the community or city in their plans to increase enrollment (including international students)?

    Again, I’m surprised that housing advocates (such as you) have not taken the lead, in the effort to encourage the University to mitigate the impact of its plans to increase enrollment.  Instead, the “slow-growth” community has taken the lead.  And, you continue to downplay those efforts.

    Your “alternative” proposals will continue to create acrimony, and will significantly impact the city’s 67,000 current residents.

    I just don’t get your position. We are working toward a similar goal, but your “solution” creates more negative impacts.

    1. David Greenwald

      My opinion is very simple: it is based on past actions by UC Davis. THey have promised more housing in the past and not followed through. Even when they have, there have been significant delays such as West Village. And other delays such as redevelopment at Orchard and Solano parks. It is my opinion, but I think there is a solid basis.

      My alternative is to build a few apartment buildings, I don’t see this being the end of the world. I don’t really understand what there is not to get about my position = even if the university doesn’t expand, we need more apartments in town, the numbers speak for themselves. UC Davis isn’t proposing enough. I guess I don’t get your position that somehow UC Davis is going to go above 6200 beds in the next decade to accommodate current and future need.

      1. Ron

        David:

        I understand your points, but I doubt that the community (or the University) has taken the issue this seriously, in the past.

        New developments (anywhere) take time.  “Rushing” into permanent decisions requiring zoning changes is not sound planning.  There are consequences when changing zoning to accommodate large-scale apartment complexes (including impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, and “opportunity costs”).  For example, if Sterling is bulldozed, what are the chances that another community-based, non-profit organization can construct a suitable home in Davis?  (Such organizations may effectively be “blocked” from obtaining the site, due to speculative pricing based on a potential zoning change.)

        Such sites may also have alternative uses, that can bring financial (or other) benefits to the city.

        There’s a reason that zoning exists.  I’d suggest examining the reason, before rushing headlong into panic-induced changes that may make things worse for current residents.

        Again, I’m surprised that you and other housing advocates are not taking the lead, regarding the University (which is the primary driver of the need). I’d even go so far as to suggest that you’re somewhat trapped into an old way of thinking (“develop our way out of problems”).

        And again, my position would be somewhat different, if the University treated the city as a true partner.

         

         

         

        1. David Greenwald

          I think the community has taken this issue and all growth issues seriously in the past. I don’t think that’s going to make much of a difference if they start having issues like they did with West Village or Solano/ Orchard Park.

        2. Ron

          David:

          It seems that the concern with West Village (e.g., connection to Russell) was resolved.  Perhaps some of the more recent concerns regarding Russell Fields, as well.

          Although development on the University does impact the city, it does not have anywhere near as much impact as development within the city.

          I have personally “learned a lesson”, regarding this issue.  In the past, I might have viewed development on campus in a somewhat different light.  However, since the University seems determined to increase enrollment, I realize that residents should encourage the University to accommodate its own needs, and that this will generally provide the best solution overall.

          By the way, you really should take a tour of the buildings at the Families First site.  It is a large, attractive complex of buildings (that was ultimately paid for by taxpayers, I understand).  Different buildings were used for various purposes (apparently including a gym, individual residential buildings, administration, play areas for children, etc.).  It is still in relatively good condition, and is well-suited to house and provide services for vulnerable populations.

          1. David Greenwald

            The concern with West Village regarding Russell was resolved in 2008 or 2009. They’ve built out the first phase, but they are still way behind. I toured Families First when the incidents happened. I was an initial advocate for keeping it at current use, but there were no takers for that use. As a result, the biggest need in the city is student housing and this site can provide that. I’ll guess we end up at four rather than six stories, but that’s just a guess.

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “due to speculative pricing based on a potential zoning change.”

          The current owners of the Families First site took out a loan (I believe the loan was in the form of corporate bonds issued by the company) to finance the building of the facility.  The for sale pricing of the property was set at a level that would generate enough proceeds to pay off as much of the loan as possible.  It is my understanding, that the sales price will not fully offset the loan amount, and the current owners will still be paying loan payments after the sale.

          In effect, this is the same situation many, many homeowners found themselves in after the housing bubble burst, where the balance on their mortgage exceeded the value of their home.  As a result, if they put a sales price on their home, it was quite often set at a point that fiscally-speaking would discharge their mortgage, but practically-speaking was significantly above the current market values.

          Ron, that, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story that goes with your incomplete comment.

        4. Ron

          Matt:  “The current owners of the Families First site took out a loan (I believe the loan was in the form of corporate bonds issued by the company) to finance the building of the facility.”

          I believe there’s more to it, than that.

          Families First was apparently paid by government agencies to house residents.  (In other words, they received “rent” from taxpayers.)  Presumably, they used this “rent” to pay the loan.  Ultimately, taxpayers made payments toward this facility, to serve the community.  And now, an organization that mismanaged its facility (in my opinion) is being “rewarded” by holding out for speculative pricing, and is attempting to fully privatize the purpose of the property/facility.  Will taxpayers then “get their money back”?

          Many homeowners declared bankruptcy, under similar situations. (A certain presidential candidate apparently used a similar tool, several times.)

          More importantly, however, is that this facility already exists, is in good condition, and is well-suited to house and provide services for vulnerable populations.  I didn’t realize how large and attractive the complex was, until I saw it in person.

          When, where, and how would a potential non-profit organization serving vulnerable populations have such an opportunity again, in Davis?

           

        5. Ron

          David:  “I was an initial advocate for keeping it at current use, but there were no takers for that use.”

          I question this statement.  There may have been “no takers” based on speculative pricing, and/or lack of immediate ability for other organizations to obtain the site.  There may have also been lack of full cooperation, from the current owner, government agencies, etc. The sudden failure of Families First probably caught everyone off-guard. Unfortunately, other potential non-profits and government agencies are not always quick to respond, when such opportunities arise.

          Unfortunately, it seems that the community didn’t foresee the potential result, and perhaps wasn’t paying sufficient attention (including me).

          Thank you for your earlier advocacy to keep the site as a community-based facility.  Perhaps it isn’t too late.  In any case, I’d suggest that the failure to find a suitable organization (as well as the current proposal) is driven more by money, than what might actually be best for the community and its vulnerable citizens.

           

        6. Ron

          Hopefully, my last statement regarding this subject for today:

          If it really is about “money” (for the city), why not maintain the current industrial zoning for the approximately 6-acre “Families First” site (which allows for revenue-generating commercial uses)?

          Have we been “misled”, regarding the market demand for such sites?

           

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . ” The sudden failure of Families First probably caught everyone off-guard. Unfortunately, other potential non-profits and government agencies are not always quick to respond, when such opportunities arise.”

          Ron, that sudden failure happened over three years ago, and I believe the site was listed for sale prior to the end of 2013.  Don’t you think “Not always quick to respond” seems like very generous wording to describe a period of 36 months with no response at all from potential non-profits and government agencies?

        8. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . Families First was apparently paid by government agencies to house residents.  (In other words, they received “rent” from taxpayers.)  Presumably, they used this “rent” to pay the loan.  Ultimately, taxpayers made payments toward this facility, to serve the community.  And now, an organization that mismanaged its facility (in my opinion) is being “rewarded” by holding out for speculative pricing, and is attempting to fully privatize the purpose of the property/facility.  Will taxpayers then “get their money back”?

          Sutter and UC Davis Medical Center and Dignity all provide inpatient medical services to residents they “house.”  Those inpatient residents are being “housed” only to facilitate the efficient and effective delivery of the medical services.  The government pays Sutter and UCDMC and Dignity for those services.  The government does not pay Sutter and UCDMC and Dignity “rent” from taxpayers.

          Do you believe that Sutter should pay back the government for the services it provided in any of the hospitals it has closed over the years?  UC Davis Medical Group has closed several facilities over the years.  Should it pay back the government for the services it provided to MediCal and Medicare and Veterans Administration patients?  Will taxpayers “get their money back” from Sutter and/or UCDMG?

           

          Ron said . . . Many homeowners declared bankruptcy, under similar situations. (A certain presidential candidate apparently used a similar tool, several times.)

          That would work if the debt/bonds were specific to a limited liability corporate structure specific to the davis operation, but the bonds were issued by the parent corporation, so bankruptcy isn’t an option for them.

           

          Ron said . . . More importantly, however, is that this facility already exists, is in good condition, and is well-suited to house and provide services for vulnerable populations.  I didn’t realize how large and attractive the complex was, until I saw it in person.  When, where, and how would a potential non-profit organization serving vulnerable populations have such an opportunity again, in Davis?

          I agree 100% Ron, this site is a significant opportunity for both existing and potential non-profits, but unfortunately to date no existing or potential non-profit (or government agency) has shown any interest in the site.  It is possible that you know of such an organization, but I don’t.  If you do, please share your knowledge with us.  I know Mary Jo Bryan is working hard on such a search, and she has enlisted the support of numerous elected officials, but thus far (to the best of my knowledge) the cupboard has been bare.

        9. Sam

          “The current owners of the Families First site took out a loan (I believe the loan was in the form of corporate bonds issued by the company) to finance the building of the facility.  The for sale pricing of the property was set at a level that would generate enough proceeds to pay off as much of the loan as possible.  It is my understanding, that the sales price will not fully offset the loan amount, and the current owners will still be paying loan payments after the sale.”

          The bonds were issued as revenue bonds and not tied to the property.

        10. Ron

          Matt:  “Do you believe that Sutter should pay back the government for the services it provided in any of the hospitals it has closed over the years?”

          To provide a more accurate (hypothetical) comparison, I don’t think that Sutter should be “rewarded” by allowing a rezoning of their property, especially if they had to close a facility due to mismanagement.

          And, unlike Sutter, I believe that Families First was entirely dependent upon taxpayer funding.  (A figure that was verbally provided to me was in the neighborhood of $9,000 per month, per resident.  All from taxpayers.)

        11. Matt Williams

          Sam said . . . “The bonds were issued as revenue bonds and not tied to the property.”

          Sam, that is a difference in name only.  The bottom-line is that a certain amount of money was borrowed, and the amount received in proceeds from the sale of the property is almost surely not going to be enough to pay off the outstanding balance of the bonds.

          Ron said . . . To provide a more accurate (hypothetical) comparison, I don’t think that Sutter should be “rewarded” by allowing a rezoning of their property, especially if they had to close a facility due to mismanagement.

          Ron, you are changing your premise in mid stream.  You originally posed the question Will taxpayers then “get their money back”?  In that question you were referring to the “rent” Families First received from taxpayers.  My answer addressed the question you posed.  If you want the focus to change, then pehaps you should acknowledge whether your initial question has been satisfactorily answered before abandoning it for a consideration of your replacement premise.

        12. Ron

          Matt:

          I didn’t recognize which statement you were responding to.

          As far as whether or not taxpayers (or residents) received the services that they paid for, I’d have to say “no” – they didn’t receive adequate service.  And yet, taxpayers won’t be receiving their money back, and the city is being asked to rezone the property, with the resulting increase in proceeds benefiting that same organization. I understand that the State agrees regarding the “inadequacy” of service provided (to put it kindly), since they shut down the operation.  (Again, I was told that Families First received about $9,000 per month, for each resident.)

        13. Matt Williams

          Ron, the government takes away accreditation from hospitals much more frequently than we would like.  When that happens to a hospital, do the taxpayers get their money back for the substandard services provided in that hospital?

        14. Ron

          Matt:

          Probably not.  But, if a hospital subsequently ceases operations as a result of losing their accreditation, might a community consider retaining the existing zoning, so that another (needed) hospital can take over operations?

        15. Sam

          Matt-Yes that is true, I doubt that they will get enough money to pay off the portion of bonds that they issued to buy and build the property. But, because they are revenue bonds and not backed by the security of the property they can sell the property for whatever they want and are not required to pay back the bondholders when the property is sold.

        16. Matt Williams

          Ron, before we move on to your new topic, can we bring your initial topic to closure?  Are you in agreement now with the fact that there is no precedent for the taxpayers getting their money back?

        17. Ron

          Matt:

          To say that I’ve suddenly introduced a “new topic” is highly misleading.  I didn’t even know what topic you were referring to, until you repeated it.

          Regarding taxpayers “never” getting their money back in any situation, I’m not sure that this is true.  (In fact, I doubt that it’s true, since auditors often address such issues.)  However, I’m pretty confident that taxpayers are often on the losing end of things, with no one ensuring that they do “get their money back”.

          In any case, it wasn’t a primary point.

        18. Ron

          Matt:  If you want to believe that there was a “significant effort” to price the facility at a level that reflects its current configuration and zoning, that’s certainly you’re prerogative.  Seems strange that a “deal” was made, based upon hoped-for changes to zoning.

        19. Matt Williams

          Not so strange Ron.  My understanding is that the facility was listed for over 12 months before Sterling came into the picture.  To the best of my knowledge there were no non-profit organizations or governmental entities that expressed any interest in the facility during that 12 months plus period.  What that appear to say is that the only market value the property had was its land value, and that the facilities on site essentially had no value.

          We see that fundamental real estate valuation reality play out quite a lot in Davis, where two adjacent properties go on the market at the same time, one an empty building lot and the other a similarly sized lot with a 20-30 year old house on it.  In those situations the listing prices of the two parcels are essentially the same.  In some cases the empty lot actually is priced higher because any prospective buyer is not faced with the headache or costs of tearing down the existing 20-30 year-old house.

          The Families First Facility is certainly younger than 20-30 years, but it also a specialized facility with a limited portfolio of possible tenants, which is the factor that is most likely to push it into the land-value-only category.

        20. Ron

          Matt:

          I’m going to respond to several of your comments at once, here.

          I’d suggest that Families First didn’t price their facility at “market value”, to reflect the current facilities, land, and existing zoning.  (For the right price, it is sellable in its current state, under existing zoning.) The potential purchaser is making an offer based on hoped-for zoning changes.

          Regarding “bankruptcy”, you mentioned that this “isn’t an option” for the parent company.  I’d suggest that it isn’t in the interest of the city, to determine what the parent organization might/might not do, if they cannot obtain an actual “market value” for the property. (And, I’m not sure that we know what their overall financial condition is, or how a sale of the property based on actual value might affect their condition.)

          Thanks for clarifying the communications between you and “Sam”, below.

        21. Matt Williams

          Ron, to the best of my knowledge the property was listed exactly as you describe in its current state and under existing zoning for over 12 months and not a single serious buyer emerged willing to pay the “market value” for  the current facilities, land, and existing zoning.

          EMQ Families First did not create the fact that the potential purchaser is making an offer based on hoped-for zoning changes.  The potential purchaser created that fact.

          Over the years when you have purchased the various houses of your life, did the seller know anything about you prior to your walking in the door to see the house for the first time?  Did the seller know anything about any renovations you planned for the house once they sold it to you?

          Bottom-line, I believe you are holding EMQ Families First to a standard that is inconsistent with real estate transaction standards.

        22. Ron

          Matt:

          As I just stated to Mark, the seller apparently wasn’t willing to lower the price sufficiently, to attract buyers under current zoning.  For the right price, a facility like that (with the existing buildings and 6 acres of land) would sell, even if the purchaser had no plans to request a zoning change (or more to the point – had no “expectation” of city cooperation regarding a potential zoning change).  In fact, the seller might be faced with that reality, if the city doesn’t “go along with the apparent plan”, and declines to rezone the property.

          1. Don Shor

            Or, as we saw with site of the old cannery, the seller can just wait and leave the site undeveloped and vacant while they wait for the political conditions to change.

    1. South of Davis

      Grok wrote:

      Once you start name calling (will you be calling the apartments “frat houses” or “party pads” tomorrow?) any read debate ends.

      It is not often that DP and I agree on something so when you are saying something that “both” of us say is wrong you really need to check your facts.

      1. Grok

        Like I said, whether you call them dorms or apartments is really not the point. Call them what you want, the proposed new projects in Davis are larger than any student housing building on the UCD campus.

        UCD can build bigger and more student housing on campus, and there are private developers ready and willing to do it for them using their own capital.

        1. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > there are private developers ready and willing to

          > do it for them using their own capital.

          Where do you find out that private developers are “ready and willing” to develop on the UCD campus?  What are the names of these private developers and why have they not started development if they are really “ready and willing to do it using their own capital”?

        2. Grok

          Edison has posted about 1.

          I have spoken with another.

          UCD also has a history of working with outside developers in the past. Russell Park, the Colleges, Primero Grove, and West Village are examples.

  6. Edison

    On one hand I don’t disagree with the Vanguard’s suggestion that perhaps some infill apartment complexes should be authorized in Davis to accommodate UCD’s growing enrollment. Conversely, it must be kept in mind that under fair housing laws, off-campus apartments cannot legally be designated solely for university students. They must be open for rental by anyone, regardless of age or other protected status.

    Where I differ from the Vanguard is the implied message that Davis has a responsibility to provide housing for UCD students, especially when UCD continues to act in such an irresponsible manner. For proof of this, one only needs to review the 5-page letter “To the UC Davis Community” issued by then-Provost Ralph Hexter on June 16, 2014, providing an update on UCD’s “2020 Initiative,” the goal of which is to increase campus undergraduate enrollment 20% in the 7 years between 2013 and 2020.  The letter goes into great detail about the expenditures that will be needed to expand classrooms, lecture halls, labs, studios, plus counseling facilities and study spaces to accommodate the wave of new students (plus remodel some lecture halls for ADA compliance).  Also mentioned was the need to expend funds for infrastructure enhancements (food services and athletic fields), and to hire 300 new FTE faculty.  It also goes on to mention that while a central goal of the 2020 initiative is to attract out-of-state and foreign students, a new program was to be instituted to make non-resident tuition more affordable.  (This, of course, obviates one of the key goals of admitting so many non-resident students, that being the windfall of tuition triple that of in-state enrollees.)

    Totally missing in Hexter’s letter was any plans to expand on-campus housing to accommodate the avalanche of new students; not one single word on where the UCD administration expected the flood of new students to live.  That totally makes no sense. Beyond that, it’s simply irresponsible for any public institution to launch such an aggressive growth plan without first determining where all the new “customers” it wants to serve will be fully accommodated.  So, that begs a key question: why should the City of Davis go out of its way to allow high density apartment buildings–targeted to students–to be constructed in either infill sites or on the periphery when UCD is so blatantly neglectful of the need for the housing demand it is creating?

    Related to this discussion, some Vanguard commenters say that a primary reason for opposition to student housing is that long-time residents want to preserve and boost their property values.  Anyone who attended the City’s public meeting on the proposed Sterling 5th Street Apartments yesterday evening would have heard a completely different sentiment from the many older generation attendees, mostly residents of Rancho Yolo.  Many cited the affordability and low noise of their community, and the ability it affords them to travel safely throughout Davis by bicycle.  They don’t see the prospect of 727 students living near them in 4 and 5-story buildings as a threat to their property values; they see it has a threat to their basic quality of life.  (Please don’t view this observation as opposition to the project proposal.  I actually see many benefits to the Reduced Student Density Apartment alternative identified in the Draft EIR. After the “No Project Alternative,” it is the second best “Environmentally Superior Alternative.”)  I’m simply reporting what I observed at the meeting (and am surprised the Vanguard was not in attendance.)

    1. South of Davis

      > it’s simply irresponsible for any public institution to launch such

      > an aggressive growth plan without first determining where all the

      > new “customers” it wants to serve will be fully accommodated.  

      I have read a lot about the new “Golden One Arena” and I may have missed it but I don’t recall reading about any new housing for all the “customers”.  Sac City College had a press release about the new Davis campus after it opened and I did’t read about housing for “customers”.

      Can you point to “any” press release about a (public “or” private) business expansion  that talked about housing for customers.  The new “Rainbow City park” will soon attract more “customers” than the old run down park.  Should Davis have started on housing for these new “customers”?

          1. Don Shor

            Perhaps a better analogy would be if Intel announced that they were going to double the size and output of their facility in Folsom, adding thousands of jobs. Is there an expectation that Folsom will then build housing for their new workers? They might choose to do so if that would enhance their ability to recruit and retain workers, but I doubt that anybody would consider it to be their obligation.

          2. David Greenwald

            Because the Sac Arena has an existing clientele that are not moving to the area in order to attend games.

        1. South of Davis

          How is Sacramento City College expanding in the Davis area and enrolling more students different from UCD expanding in the Davis area and enrolling more students?  The only thing I can think of is the average students High School GPA…

        2. Grok

          As I understand it some UCD students use junior colleges to get credits for lower division classes they can not get into at UCD because the UCD classes are over enrolled. Considering this, it is very interesting to see UCD opening a junior college campus on the UCD campus.

        3. Frankly

          Perhaps a better analogy would be if Intel announced that they were going to double the size and output of their facility in Folsom, adding thousands of jobs. Is there an expectation that Folsom will then build housing for their new workers?

          I don’t think the average City of Folsom resident would have too big of a problem with this, and most of them would have the opinion that it would be good for Folsom and really not something that direct democracy should get to decide.

          But on another planet…

          http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/08/30/palo-alto-mayor-fed-up-too-much-tech-is-killing-his-citys-economy/

        4. South of Davis

          Grok wrote:

          > As I understand it some UCD students use junior

          > colleges to get credits for lower division classes

          > they can not get into at UCD 

          Other kids move here just to go to Junior College.  It is not as many kids as move to SB, LA or SD, but since FT near UCSB came up in the 80’s and 90’s as many as 20% of the kids living there went to the local JC.  For many parents living in Palo Alto, Hillsborough or Ross it is more embarrassing to say your kid is going to Junior College than to say your kid is working for the Trump campaign (or in Porn) so they send them to Davis or SB and say “he is away at college in SB or Davis” (they just don’t say the name of the college).

          UCSB and UCD are still in the TAG program (that included ALL the UC campus 30 years ago) so if the kid is not a complete screw up he can get in to UCSB or UCD junior year.

          http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/transfer/guarantee/

  7. Frankly

    Davis NIMBYs…

    For them the sky is always falling.  The next development is terrible, awful, a traffic nightmare, the pollution, the global warming, the poor people displaced, the developers making profit on the backs of all the poor impacted residents, the bikers will be unsafe, the character of the town will be lost, tall building will cast shade on them and bad strangers will come to town and peep into bedroom window and steal little children in the dead of night. Too many lanes.  Not enough lanes.  Too much parking.  Not enough parking.  Too many stories. Not enough density. Too much sprawl. Too much density.  Not enough connectivity.  Too much connectivity.   Not enough green and sustainable features. Too expensive and not affordable enough.  Not enough open space. Too much open space.  Too expensive and not affordable enough.  University needs to build housing on their property but not there and not there and not there.  Need to have a car-less community but UCD needs to build housing WAY out there or not at all.

    And now…

    Too many UCD students.  Not enough students of a certain type.  Not enough California resident students.  Too many outsiders.  Support diversity.  Be a global community.  Decry the need for education to be less expensive.  Be charitable.  Be kind.  Be neighborly.  Support education.  Support the university technology transfer.  Decry the lack of funding.  Don’t build student housing in MY neighborhood because it will cause impacts. Don’t build business and innovation parks on the periphery because it will cause traffic and spoil my view.  In fact make all new development impact-less for ME.  Blame the university for their terrible management and bad planning that has led to so much of my personal stress over the thought of personal impacts from growth and development.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I don’t think the average City of Folsom resident would have too big of a problem with this, and most of them would have the opinion that it would be good for Folsom”

      Which may well be why they are residents of Folsom, and not residents of Davis. Do we all have to want to live in the same cookie cutter environments ?  Or are we able to express individual preferences ?

        1. Tia Will

          SOD

          I  have been to Folsom and have seen some places that I find attractive. My point was not to disparage Folsom. It was to state in response to Frankly that people choose where they live based on their personal preferences and that just because one community has chosen one set of options ( such as Folsom) that does not mean that Davis residents will make the same choices in “cookie cutter” fashion. I in no way meant to imply that Folsom is a town of “cookie cutter” homes.

        2. Mark West

          “that people choose where they live based on their personal preferences”

          Yes, and many more people would choose to live in Davis if you and others were not so intent on keeping them out.

          Close the gates, those people are trying to get in again…

  8. Edison

    Matt Williams is correct. At last evening’s Sterling community meeting, City staff stated that the City did not fund any of the Families First facility.  It was also stated that the City is interested in the proposed student apartment and affordable housing proposal for fiscal reasons; i.e., tax revenue.

    1. Ron

      Edison:  “At last evening’s Sterling community meeting, City staff stated that the City did not fund any of the Families First facility.”

      I understand that city staff did not provide entirely accurate information regarding this.  (Please see my comments to Matt, above.)

      In fact, I think that Families First may have been entirely/primarily funded by taxpayers. (However, this does not mean that the loans were directly assumed by taxpayers, as discussed above.)

      Again, the term “taxpayers” is not limited to the “city”.

      1. Mark West

        Your ‘logic’ is faulty, Ron. Families First had a contract with the government to supply services for foster youth. The contract paid for those services, not for the purchase of the land or construction of the buildings on the site. Taxpayers have no claim on the property, just as your employer(s) would have no claim on your home (and everything else you own) as the supplier of the income you used to service your mortgage.

        The property was purchased on the open market and was sold in the same manner. The ‘speculative pricing’ you were complaining about above is just the normal market price for that parcel of commercial real estate as reflected by the current supply and demand.

        1. Sam

          Nobody had any right to the property. Families First issued revenue bonds that were privately placed to pay for the property. They are free to sell the property whenever and to whomever they want.

          “I think that Families First may have been entirely/primarily funded by taxpayers”

          That is a stretch. So when Lockheed Martin buys a building it should be considered the taxpayers property? What about an house where the rent is paid by Section 8, do the taxpayers own that house too?  Kaiser taking Medical and Medicare patients?

        2. Ron

          Mark:   “The ‘speculative pricing’ you were complaining about above is just the normal market price for that parcel of commercial real estate as reflected by the current supply and demand.”

          Yeah, right.

          Families First wouldn’t even exist without government support.  (This is a case where “private ownership” – if that’s what it can be called, didn’t work. And, that’s because there isn’t sufficient “profit” in providing services for those with essentially no money.

          Families First received also significant tax breaks, based on their non-profit (public service) status.

          And again, if you’re concerned about city finances, why not keep the current (“revenue-generating” industrial) zoning?

           

           

        3. Mark West

          “if you’re concerned about city finances, why not keep the current (“revenue-generating” industrial) zoning?”

          The property is vacant and not generating income beyond the property taxes. The proposed redevelopment will bring construction fees and taxes plus an increase in property taxes from the new buildings. If you are concerned about city finances you should support the change.

        4. Ron

          Mark:

          I had asked earlier if we were “misled” regarding market demand for property that is (allegedly) priced to reflect “revenue-generating, industrial zoning”, such as this 6-acre site.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . Families First wouldn’t even exist without government support.  Families First received also significant tax breaks, based on their non-profit (public service) status.

          Ron also said . . . More importantly, however, is that this facility already exists, is in good condition, and is well-suited to house and provide services for vulnerable populations.  When, where, and how would a potential non-profit organization serving vulnerable populations have such an opportunity again, in Davis?

          The sudden failure of Families First probably caught everyone off-guard. Unfortunately, other potential non-profits and government agencies are not always quick to respond, when such opportunities arise.

           In any case, I’d suggest that the failure to find a suitable organization (as well as the current proposal) is driven more by money, than what might actually be best for the community and its vulnerable citizens.

          Ron, read your two statements above.  In the first one you criticize the concept of a service organization that wouldn’t exist without government support, and in the second one you advocate for the creation of a service organization that wouldn’t exist without government support.  Can you help me uderstand your logic in those two statements of yours?

        6. Mark West

          I don’t understand why you think you were misled, Ron. Any revenue generating operation on this particular property would likely have required a complete redevelopment of the site. The sale price of the property (and the number of interested buyers) would have reflected that reality.

          The added costs (and risks) associated with the demolition of the existing infrastructure also means that the resulting project will need to be larger in order to generate sufficient revenues to balance that added risk. This is the simple reality of infill projects in a community lacking sufficient bare land for development.

        7. Ron

          Matt:

          I don’t understand your question.  I am not advocating a use that would preclude possible government support for vulnerable populations, and the statement you quoted does not reflect that position.

          In fact, the facility was designed for such uses.

        8. Ron

          Mark:  “Any revenue generating operation on this particular property would likely have required a complete redevelopment of the site.

          As does the current proposal.

          Mark:  “The sale price of the property (and the number of interested buyers) would have reflected that reality.”

          Uh, huh.  Believing this requires a suspension of reality.

        9. Mark West

          “Uh, huh.  Believing this requires a suspension of reality.”

          Why? Do you believe that the sales price was fixed by some nefarious means and not simply a reflection of the market value? If so, what is your evidence?

           

        10. Mark West

          Ron: “An organization (Sterling) is offering to purchase the property for a use and density that is not allowed under current zoning.”

          So what? How the buyer plans to use the property is not the seller’s concern. The property has been on the market for more than a year and they are selling to the highest bidder. Apparently, you believe the seller should be required to keep the property until a buyer ‘approved by Ron’ comes along (regardless of how long that is). That is not how the world works.

          If you had wanted to buy the property yourself and keep it in its current state I am sure the sellers would have considered your offer.

           

        11. Ron

          Mark:  “So what? How the buyer plans to use the property is not the seller’s concern.”

          Agreed.  It’s the city and community’s concern, regarding potential zoning changes.  In this case, the potential purchaser is making an offer based on a hoped-for zoning change.  The seller apparently wasn’t willing to lower the price sufficiently to attract buyers under current zoning.

        12. Matt Williams

          Mark West said . . . The property has been on the market for more than a year and they are selling to the highest bidder.

          Actually Mark the property first came on the market almost three years ago, and in those three years, I believe that Sterling is the only bidder.

          Ron said . . . The seller apparently wasn’t willing to lower the price sufficiently to attract buyers under current zoning.

          Ron, what is the first question that most homeowners ask themselves when they set the asking price for their home?  It is typically “What is our mortgage balance?  We can’t list it for any less than that”  In EMQ’s case it was a revenue bonds balance rather than a mortgage balance, but the principle is the same . . . listing an asset for sale for a price that is less than you owe on the asset is contrary to human nature.

          However, let’s engage your premise that a lower price would have resulted in an offer from a non-profit or a governmental agency . . . and for the purposes of discussion let’s say that the new listing price is 50% of what EMQ was listing it for.  What non-profit or governmental agency do you think would have (could have) come up with that 50% amount?

          Based on my discussions with the citizens who have been working hard on finding an alternative use for the site and its existing facilities, all the possible non-profits are pleading poverty, and the governmental officials they and I have spoken to are very supportive of the concept, but reference their budget deficits as a barrier to actually doing something.  Two non-profits I talked to personally told me flat out that they couldn’t afford the 6-acre site even if it were given to them free of charge.  They said the upkeep would overwhelm them.

          Have you talked to any non-profits that have shown any interest in purchasing the site?  Have you talked to any governmental officials who have said they would devote part of their taxpayers money to the site?  The answers to those questions will help us all tofocus our efforts on next steps.

           

        13. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, what is the first question that most homeowners ask themselves when they set the asking price for their home?  It is typically “What is our mortgage balance?  We can’t list it for any less than that.” 

          That statement has nothing to do with the market value of a property.

          Matt:  “What non-profit or governmental agency do you think would have (could have) come up with that 50% amount?”

          Again, nothing to do with the market value of the property.  Also, what makes you think that potential purchasers would be limited to non-profits or government agencies, if the asking price reflected actual value?

           

           

        14. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . That statement has nothing to do with the market value of a property.

          That is incorrect Ron.  Until a property actually sells, the only “market price” is the listing price.

          Ron said . . .  Also, what makes you think that potential purchasers would be limited to non-profits or government agencies, if the asking price reflected actual value?

          Well, actually you are the person who has been harping on non-profit, community and governmental agencies as the preferred new owners, so I was simply listening to and reflecting your stated preference.  With that said, what for-profit organizations do you believe would be interested in the site as-is and hypothetically at 50% of the asking price?

          BTW, EMQ Families First was a non-profit.  They have changed their name to Uplift Family Services, and their new corporate structure is also a non-profit.

        15. Ron

          Matt:  “That is incorrect Ron.  Until a property actually sells, the only “market price” is the listing price.”

          An asking price does not reflect actual value, in a free and open marketplace.

          Matt:  “Well, actually you are the person who has been harping on non-profit, community and governmental agencies as the preferred new owners, so I was simply listening to and reflecting your stated preference.  With that said, what for-profit organizations do you believe would be interested in the site as-is and hypothetically at 50% of the asking price?”

          Overall, the primary issue that I’ve been “harping on” is the consequences of potential zoning changes.

          It’s not my job or area of expertise to speculate on “for-profit” organizations that might be interested in the site as is (assuming it’s not priced for a speculative zoning change to accommodate a large-scale apartment complex).  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were companies that could use it (perhaps as is), while generating jobs/economic activity.  Encouraging commercial activity is one of the “needs” that we are constantly reminded of, on the Vanguard.

          And, unlike student housing, commercial activity (that would benefit the city and its current residents) is not something that the University cannot directly provide.

  9. Edison

    Dear SOD: I think there is a lot of difference between an institution like UCD increasing its enrollment without corresponding on-campus housing and the example of the Golden One Arena. First, people who attend events at the arena do so for only a few hours (during a basketball game or concert), and then return to their private homes. UCD, on the other hand, attracts students for what is essentially a full-time career; i.e., studying and attending classes.  If it were not for being enrolled at UCD, the student would not be anywhere near Davis. Second, UCD constantly proclaims on its website and in media releases how students and their welfare are the university’s top priority.  But, after freshman year, the students that UCD claims to care so much about are ejected from campus housing (dorms) to fend for themselves.  Third, UCD’s recent email blast announcing the availability of its draft Long Range Development Plan for public input touted how the plan provides for “connectedness” of the campus.  How can a long range plan that intends to force 60% of the students enrolled during 2027-28 legitimately claim to be promoting “connectivity”?  Dispersing students all over the Sacramento region does not seem to be a good example of “connectedness.”  If UCD truly wants students to interact, I contend it would be far better to provide a far greater number of on-campus student apartments, so they could live, study and socialize all in one convenient location. Under UCD’s current model, students do not have the option of living on campus through their senior year, which is unfortunate.

    The analogy to Sac City College might be a little better, although when I attended junior college many years ago, most of my fellow students still lived at home with their parents, saving money for transfer to a Cal State or UC campus after completing their first 2 years of college.

    1. South of Davis

      Edison wrote:

      > UCD constantly proclaims on its website and in media releases

      > how students and their welfare are the university’s top priority.  

      Wells Fargo has also “constantly proclaimed” that they care about their customers (when they really just want to get as much money as possible from each of them just like UCD who would fill the campus with 100% out of state students that they made live off campus if they thought they could get away with it)…

  10. Tia Will

    SOD

    It sounds like we are saying the same thing unless you don’t consider a room shared by more than one person (or a room with desks in the middle) “bedrooms””

    I meant to clarify, not to contradict. Without specifying how many per room, one could also have been saying the same thing with 8 cots per room. I just didn’t want anyone to conclude that these were two one person bedrooms with a connecting bath which would leave you with a very different number of students in the same space.

  11. Misanthrop

    Nobody is interested in the Families First site? How about we turn it into a residential off campus dorm for students. How hard would that be? Isn’t it already a dorm style residential facility? With the current housing shortage there are probably lots of students that would be willing to rent there and purchase a food service meal ticket too. Why not get UC to sign a master lease for the property? How many students could it house as is or with minor renovations?

    The reality is that the city council should say no to redevelopment of the site. If the city council says no the owners will quickly get creative in dealing with their non-productive asset but as long as the chance of a big payday is out there the only possible solution will be a big payday.

    Its a perfectly good facility. The only thing that makes it so valuable for redevelopment is that it lies inside the Measure R boundary.

    1. Mark West

      “How about we turn it into a…”

      How about we stop trying to turn Davis into a command/control community run by those wishing to spend other people’s money and just allow private enterprise and our planning system to function as they are intended. If you don’t support the proposed zoning changes, speak you mind, but stop the nonsense of telling the landowners how they should use their land and financial resources to satisfy your private fantasies.

      1. Misanthrop

        Agreed Mark, I was simply laying out some hypotheticals that I hadn’t thought of before. If the city simply refuses to re-zone the Families First site then the owners of the property will need to deal with the property on that basis. My other point is that the land value differential created by measure R is what is driving the bad planning. If land outside the city boundary is selling for $15,000 an acre and land inside is $1.5 million an acre (just guessing) the 100x differential is going to drive a lot of property owners inside the boundary to make bad planning decisions for the community in their own interest.

    2. Ron

      Misanthrop:  “How about we turn it into a residential off campus dorm for students.”

      I applaud your efforts to “think creatively”.  (This might be something for the current taxpayer-funded organization to consider, in cooperation with the city.)  It should also result in more “reasonable” rents (less cost for removal and rebuilding of infrastructure), for residents.

      Also avoiding the destruction of the existing facility would be less impactful and less-dense (than the current proposal), and might provide an opportunity for a non-profit or government agency to assume management/ownership for some other community-oriented use, at some point in the future.

      And again, to “pretend” that we are talking about a truly “private organization” (Families First) is truly a stretch, to say the least.

  12. Ron

    Sam:  “So when Lockheed Martin buys a building it should be considered the taxpayers property?”

    I didn’t realize that Lockheed Martin was a “non-profit” organization (with no competition), dedicated to providing services to populations that have “no money” and are (entirely) dependent upon taxpayer funding. As a “non-profit”, I “hope” that they (Lockheed Martin) received significant tax breaks, as well. (Is my sarcasm coming through sufficiently?)

    Sam:  “The bonds (for the Families First facility) were issued as revenue bonds and not tied to the property.”

    Interesting / good to know.

     

    1. Sam

      Families First has no competition? They were the only foster group home and non-public school in Northern California? That’s news to me. Also, I think you don’t realize the number of non-profit businesses that rely on public funds to provide services. There are a lot of them and the City just can’t take their property when they do a horrible job.

      1. Ron

        Sam:  “There are a lot of them and the City just can’t take their property when they do a horrible job.”

        Two points you’re making.  One – they have competition. Maybe so, but I don’t know the circumstances under which the city of Davis approved the Families First facility, to the exclusion of all other possibilities.

        Two – where did I advocate “taking their property”?

    2. Sam

      Ron- There are 15 non-public schools in Sacramento County, 2 in Solano County, 3 in Placer County and 18 in Contra Costa County. So that is 38 schools that competed with Families First school in the area.

  13. Ron

    Matt:  “The current owners of the Families First site took out a loan (I believe the loan was in the form of corporate bonds issued by the company) to finance the building of the facility.  The for sale pricing of the property was set at a level that would generate enough proceeds to pay off as much of the loan as possible.  It is my understanding, that the sales price will not fully offset the loan amount, and the current owners will still be paying loan payments after the sale.”

    Sam:  “The bonds were issued as revenue bonds and not tied to the property.”

    Matt:  “Sam, that is a difference in name only.”

    Matt – would you care to reconcile the three statements above?  It seems that you stated something entirely different than Sam did.

     

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, Sam and I have illuminated the same very basic accounting that EMQ used to finance the Families First site development.  EMQ issued bonds as corporate debt as an obligation of the parent corporation.  That bond indebtedness is carried on the EMQ books as a liability.  The land and facitities value of the Davis location is carried on the EMQ books as an asset.  If the asset is sold the proceeds of the sale are unlikely to be as great as the bond indebtedness.  Any difference between the outstanding bond balance and the net sales price (after fees and taxes) will continue to be a legal/fiscal obligation of EMQ.

      Sam, in his/her last post introduced the added wrinkle that EMQ is not legally obligated to pay off the bond balance at the time of the sale.  They can put the proceeds in their investment account and continue to pay the periodic bond payments as they existed prior to the sale.  If they do that then the asset on their books will change from a real estate asset to a cash asset and the bond liability will be unchanged.  If they choose to pay off the bond balance, then the real estate asset will go down to $0 and the bond liability will be reduced by the net proceeds realized from the real estate sale.

  14. Ron

    Matt:  I overlooked this statement (which should be considered in any response you’d care to provide, regarding the discrepancies in statements above:

    Sam:  “Matt – Yes that is true, I doubt that they will get enough money to pay off the portion of bonds that they issued to buy and build the property. But, because they are revenue bonds and not backed by the security of the property they can sell the property for whatever they want and are not required to pay back the bondholders when the property is sold.”

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