The Davis Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday came out in favor of “the updated proposal for the Trackside Center project, submitted by applicant Kemble Pope as a representative of the investor group for Trackside Center.”
The original version of Trackside Center, a proposed redevelopment of existing buildings on 3rd Street just east of the railroad tracks and west of I Street was submitted in May of 2015 as a six-story building with a mix of uses. After pushback from the neighbors, they submitted in September a new application for a four-story mixed-use building.
In their statement, the Davis Chamber said, “The Davis community has a broad residential base with varying housing needs. Densification through infill with a mixed-use design like Trackside utilizes existing space to provide unique options that Davis residents may be seeking but unable to find in the present housing supply.”
“We applaud the Trackside investors, all of whom are Davis residents, for their commitment to invest in our community,” the Chamber states. “The design modifications from initial project scope were based on feedback received from the neighborhood and the wider community.”
They add, “The new design reflects a good balance of residential and commercial space, while incorporating a design that is representative of downtown and the existing neighborhood.”
With respect to economic development, the Davis Chamber continues: “This project will provide additional retail, small office and residential space in the downtown core. The mixed-use design provides an efficient use of the property while expanding the revenue base for community services through new property, business license and retail assessments.”
The Chamber of Commerce “strongly supports every effort to promote business opportunities in Davis, and will continue to educate and encourage residents to support projects that align with our mission of promoting, supporting and advocating the general economic vitality of our membership and the quality of life for the community.”
As indicated, in September the Trackside developers filed a new application.
In their application they note, “The new building will be one story of street-level commercial uses, three stories (top story is massed toward the west and south) of rental residences and parking, tucked under the north end of the building, continuing out to the western edge of the site.”
The applicants write, “Third Street is the major east-west connector street from the Core Area of Davis to UC Davis. This building would serve as the eastern anchor to the long-envisioned ‘Main Street’ mixed-use corridor.” They add, “The site is at the nexus of many different land uses and zoning: railroad, rock yard, commercial and a traditional neighborhood. The proposed building has different architectural styles and setbacks/stepbacks on each façade both in recognition and to aid in the transition of the varying uses, scales and characters that surround the site.”
Trackside Center, LLC currently owns the property and “build and own this project as a long-term hold. The owners of the company are all Davis residents with deep roots and a history of dedicated service to our community.”
They continue, “This project was originally submitted in May 2015 as a 6-story building with similar uses. In early 2016, the project went back to the drawing board. Comments and input from City leaders, many Davis residents and neighbors have been received, recorded and when possible, incorporated into the updated design.”
While the project is pared down from the original May 2015 six-story building, the current proposal still seeks to achieve increased residential density in the downtown combined with new commercial and retail space for “transit-oriented infill and sustainable redevelopment.”
It features three storefront areas, totaling 9100 square feet. The applicants note, “The site contains a parcel that has been leased from Union Pacific Railroad for over 100 years and the proposal would improve it to provide an inviting landscaped plaza for the commercial frontage facing west with parking at the northern end.”
The updated proposal does reduce the previously proposed width of the building by eight feet in order “to create a tree-lined sidewalk on private property along the west edge of the 30’ wide public alley. This ‘alley activation’ will create commercial frontage on the southern half of the building, facing east.”
The project requests “a traffic reconfiguration to one-way north, retains the existing number of parking within the alley and adds a loading zone and aesthetic improvements to create a charming and pedestrian accessible ‘European-style’ alley.”
The 27 residences will be “a mixture of sizes and configurations that are accessed through a secure lobby and elevator. The rental unit designs target demographics which includes existing Davis residents that want to downsize from their larger homes or want to lead a more urban lifestyle in Downtown Davis near our multi-modal transit center.
“The design of the project is sensitive and responsive to the adjacent uses,” the applicants write. “Along the eastern edge, the architecture is ‘Farmhouse Modern’ to create a more traditional residential look-and-feel. The building is massed away from the east and north in a series of stepbacks.”
On Third Street, there will be a “Main Street” traditional storefront component that “dominates the pedestrian experience with the top floor is set back from view.”
Along the railroad, “the plaza is anchored by an existing Cork Oak tree. The architecture of this façade is more industrial in nature, reflecting the site’s history and railroad adjacency.”
“Privacy concerns are an important part of the architecture of this project, and great care has been taken to protect the privacy of future residents and existing neighbors with a variety of proposed solutions including trees, increased setbacks and screened balconies,” they write.
On the sustainability front, “The project is a dense, transit-oriented, bicycle and pedestrian friendly development that will encourage small carbon footprint lifestyles due to its location and design. The project will meet or exceed the City’s Cal-Green standards and Title 24 requirements with solar PV and other innovative systems.”
The applicants conclude, “Trackside Center is designed with high quality architecture and materials to define a downtown gateway. It gracefully integrates the surrounding uses and helps to achieve the City’s goals by pursuing environmental sustainability, adding economic vitality, improving infrastructure, and promoting a vibrant and safe downtown.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting