Mace-Alhambra Offices Come to Council

In a rare late July meeting of the city council, the council will tackle a number of weighty issues including the possible approval of the Mace-Alhambra Offices, which could house a Davis-based headquarters for Nugget Market’s corporate office.

The project is proposed as the construction of three commercial buildings on a parcel located on the northwest corner of Mace and Alhambra.  It includes a two-story 32,220 square foot office building with two 16,200 square foot R&D and office buildings.

Each building would be on its own lot, with shared parking lot and driveway facilities. The 5.99-acre parcel is currently vacant, with the exception of providing overflow parking for the adjacent apartment complex

The site has been vacant since the 1989 approval of the Mace Ranch project.

The site was proposed for office uses.  In 2006, the city rezoned the site for a neighborhood retail center.  But in 2014, an application “was submitted to the City for a Final Planned Development, Design Review, and Tentative Map for a 55,600-sf office/medical/retail development with four buildings on four separate parcels. The application was deemed incomplete by the City and subsequently withdrawn by the project applicant.”

Staff believes that the slight changes to the designation, as neighborhood retail use to business park, would allow the intended use in addition to the R&D uses proposed for the back of the site.  Limited accessory retail could support the office R&D uses.

In the initial study, they found, “Trip generation associated with development of the proposed project would be considerably less than buildout of the site per the site’s current land use designation. The relatively small amount of traffic that would be added to the Mace/Alhambra intersection is not anticipated to substantially affect intersection operations.”

Just over two weeks ago, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the project and unanimously recommended approval of the Negative Declaration and the land-use entitlements. Commissioners spoke highly of the project design and of Nugget Markets.

The Negative Declaration concluded that the project, with appropriate mitigation, “would not have an adverse effect on the environment.”

Staff notes, “Burrowing owls have been found in the vicinity of the project site, and are known to be nesting south of Second Street near Mace Boulevard. The City Biologist surveyed the site and did not see any owls or evidence they are occupying the site.

“He concluded that the site is currently not suitable for, or occupied by, burrowing owls or other protected species.”

Furthermore, staff consulted with the Yolo Habitat Conservancy, which concluded “that the site is identified as ‘developed’ in its database and mitigation for loss of habitat is not required. However, the conservancy did recommend standard mitigation measures to ensure no (impact) to protected species.”

Staff believes that the site, designated for Neighborhood Retail use, would have uses consistent with the General Plan Economic Development policies which seek to “to encourage businesses to locate in Davis, targeting businesses which improve the City’s fiscal base, are consistent with the City’s values and identity, and match the employment skills of the population, such as those in the emerging technology and knowledge-based industries.”

Staff notes, “The limited retail, likely a coffee shop or deli, would serve employees of the project, and possibly neighborhood residents. The original Mace Ranch Planned Development #4-88 identified this site for office uses, with the purpose of providing an environment for administrative facilities, research institutions, and specialized manufacturing.”

Therefore, staff finds that “resignation of the property is an appropriate modification of the intended use of the property. The Business Park designation allows the intended Building A office, as well as the research and development buildings proposed on the back of the site. Limited accessory retail could support the office R&D uses.”

—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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