Guest Commentary: UC Davis’ Aggie Square Can Lead to Regional Prosperity

By Gary S. May

Report cards don’t always deliver the results one hopes for, but they can be great motivators. A group of Sacramento-area business, governmental and civic organizations was recently reminded of this after receiving the outcome of a Brookings Institution economic performance assessment they commissioned.

The report, “Charting a Course to the Sacramento Region’s Future Economic Prosperity,” found affects from the Great Recession lingered in our region. Between 2006 and 2016, the region ranked in the bottom third of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in growth (67th), prosperity (71st) and inclusion (84th), all of which are critical to robust economies. However, the authors recognized improved economic performance over the last five years. They noted the region “can take advantage of changing market, technology, and demographic trends, but it must focus on the core drivers and enablers of regional competitiveness and prosperity.”

Not surprisingly, the authors called out UC Davis as a “globally relevant innovation asset” to grow the Sacramento innovation pipeline. Sacramento-area leaders agree, and a number of them have worked with the university to take on bold new strategies for regional competitiveness and more inclusive prosperity. We see opportunities to strengthen neighborhoods with a range of new jobs, services and educational opportunities, and to bolster the local economy.

One such strategy is Aggie Square. In April 2018, I joined Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to announce the launch of this innovation ecosystem to leverage the talents, technology and innovations of UC Davis to the economic benefit of Sacramento and surrounding communities. Other elected officials expressed support as well. This year’s state budget includes $2.8 million for planning the 25-acre innovation hub on our Sacramento campus that houses UC Davis Health.

Aggie Square will bring together a diverse array of startups, established companies, community organizations and UC Davis researchers, faculty and students. It will be a place to discover new partners, launch businesses, scale ideas and provide economic opportunity to residents across demographics, skill levels and industries. It will leverage our strengths and partnerships in health, agriculture, food
technology, clean energy, clean transportation and more.

UC Davis is well-positioned to be a catalyst for innovation that translates into new businesses, new jobs and new wealth for the region. We’re second only to the state government as the area’s largest employer. Our regional economic impact equates to more than 65,000 jobs and nearly $7 billion in economic output annually. We have about 40,000 alumni who live and work in the six-county region and have a stake in seeing their alma mater contribute to the good of their communities.

Our external research funding has been on an upward trajectory for many years, reaching a record $847 million in fiscal year 2017-18, an increase of $64 million from the previous year. Our innovations enabled the startup of 137 companies during the past 10 years; 16 were launched this past fiscal year alone, which set a new record. These startups raised more than $862 million in capital, and much of this investment has gone to products and services that support the health of the planet. For example, Evolve BioSystems, based in Davis, invents products that establish, restore and maintain healthy communities of microorganisms in babies’ intestines. Origin Materials, in West Sacramento, develops less costly ways to swap out fossil fuels for environmentally friendlier wood chips in plastics manufacturing.

Our efforts with Aggie Square are guided by our 31-member Aggie Square Partnership Advisory Council of elected officials and heads of economic development groups like the Greater Sacramento Urban League and Greater Sacramento Economic Council. We also receive advice at the neighborhood level through our Community Engagement Advisory Committee, with 44 representatives of groups including ethnic chambers of commerce, neighborhood associations, and our university’s community research and outreach units.

Over the coming months, we’ll work closely with neighborhood associations in Oak Park, Tahoe Park, Elmhurst and the Broadway-Stockton Boulevard corridor to develop partnerships and hear their concerns about traffic, gentrification and other potential impacts. We anticipate Aggie Square will generate jobs in these communities. Our goal is to recruit as many nearby residents as we can from the surrounding neighborhoods and provide educational opportunities. We want our success to be their success.

Aggie Square will be a live-learn-work-play center of innovation that aims to integrate with the Broadway-Stockton Boulevard corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. We know there’s concern about whether there will be enough housing to accommodate this new workforce — we anticipate building residential units for students and an expanding workforce. We also expect that the City of Sacramento will address the need for more housing and moderate housing prices and rental rates.

I ask our region’s entrepreneurs, business leaders and residents to join the conversation and see how their interests can be part of Aggie Square. We want to hear your voice, and you can make your voice heard through members of our advisory groups. Contact us through https://leadership.ucdavis.edu/aggie-square.

The Sacramento area has all the key factors needed to rise among its metropolitan peers in economic performance. Aggie Square will tie together the winning ingredients — just like an ecosystem — so the whole becomes more efficient and more powerful than the sum of its parts. Together, we have the infrastructure, intellectual capital, business interests and political will to create a new era of innovation and economic impact in Sacramento. Join us as we boldly chart a new course for greater, more inclusive prosperity for all.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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75 Comments

  1. Rik Keller

    “Local economic development is a public policy field with a checkered history, prone to fad chasing and a “herd mentality” among decision-makers and often dominated by powerful business interests. Over the past three decades, for example, despite overwhelming evidence from academic studies that such projects yield little community economic benefit, cities and states have invested billions in convention centers and sports stadiums as “engines” of local economic development. In many ways, the entrepreneurial university is the “next new thing” in this long line of oversold economic development fixes.”
     – “The False Promise of the Entrepreneurial University”, Marc V. Levine, Professor Emeritus of History, Economic Development, and Urban Studies and was the co-founder and long-time director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    1. Mark West

      “cities and states have invested billions in convention centers and sports stadiums as “engines” of local economic development. In many ways, the entrepreneurial university is the “next new thing” in this long line of oversold economic development fixes.”

      This is a valid argument against public financing of economic initiatives, but that is not what we are talking about in Davis. We are discussing privately funded initiatives, and it is the privately held commercial developments that are the engine that fund city services. If we want the City of Davis to pay its formidable unfunded obligations, then we need more commercial development. Plain and simple.

    2. Rik Keller

      Mark West: well, in this case we are talking about Aggie Square. But if you want to extend the discussion to the MRIC proposal in Davis itself, we should be even more skeptical, because  these types of developments are even less viable when subsidies aren’t involved (and then when they have problems, there’s the inevitable bait-and-switch in the type of development, and/or the big “ask” for bailouts).

    3. Rik Keller

      Craig Ross: those aren’t “my” views. I quoted Marc V. Levine, Professor Emeritus of History, Economic Development, and Urban Studies and was the co-founder and long-time director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who has done the most comprehensive study in the subject.

      I’ll quote his paper further [my emphasis]: This paper reviews the relationship between research universities and local economic development in 55 major US regions, and finds no meaningful correlations between any gauges of entrepreneurial university activity (research expenditures, patents, or licensing) and core measures of city and regional economic well-being. Notwithstanding tendentious accounts of “success stories” such as Silicon Valley or Boston’s Route 128, as if they represent the general historical pattern, these data as well as case studies such as Johns Hopkins University and Yale University reveal that even world-class research universities are neither necessary nor sufficient in promoting local economic development. University research parks are particularly oversold as engines of local economic growth.

      While proponents of academic commercialism routinely overstate its economic benefits for cities and regions, they rarely mention the significant costs. These include potential undermining of the system of basic research and open science that has been the cornerstone of scientific discovery in the US, and, ironically, undercutting innovation. Contrary to claims by many university leaders that research commercialization will generate revenues for their institutions, for most universities tech transfer is a money losing proposition. Tech transfer is a classic example of jackpot or casino economics, with very few big winners, and over half of US universities lose money in academic commercialization. Research funding and commercialization revenues are heavily skewed to the same “top 15” universities that have dominated these statistics for decades, and, as one expert has argued, outside of this top group most universities are getting nothing out of tech transfer “except a lot of economic development rhetoric.”

      Please tell us what sort of academic training and/or work experience you have in these issues.

      1. Craig Ross

        You’re citing a paper from 2009 that was written during a different time, at the beginning of the era of the new innovation and during the Great Recession.

        Marc Levine is a bit of an outlier in his field.  If anything, in the last 10 years, universities have invested even more into innovation and research.  Gary May has already helped to form a very highly successful innovation district in Atlanta along similar lines as he’s doing in Sacramento.

        My training and experience is that I’ve been studying innovation and urban planning at UC Davis.

  2. Richard McCann

    So I’m always left after Rik’s reference to this author as to what is Rik’s preferred policy direction? Let’s start with the fact that uncoordinated economic growth has a terrible history over an extended period with boom/bust cycles and poor environmental outcomes. Is he saying we should just let local regions die with no efforts to improve a situation? Are we totally out of control of our fate? Is there an alternative that he is offering?

    1. Rik Keller

      Richard: what you should be left with is a healthy skepticism of the types of claims that a lot of economic development schemes make. Economic development is difficult, and this is even more true when people are seduced by the claims of snakeoil salespeople.

      1. Matt Williams

        Rik, your answer doesn’t address Richard’s question, which is very simply … “What is your Plan B?” 

        You have been very clear about your antipathy for Plan A, but that antipathy doesn’t address the City’s $10 million per year recurring Budget Shortfall.  What steps do you propose for closing that annual deficit?

        1. Richard McCann

          Again Rik, you still haven’t answered my question. Saying “no” is not the first step because that leaves us with nothing which is unacceptable. I’m willing to consider and discuss your alternative. We are simply not going to dismiss the only alternative currently being offered on the table simply because you say its wrong. Until you propose your alternative, we can discuss recrafting what’s being proposed right now. Unless you put out a positive proposal and not just making a negative claim in the midst of an unsustainable situation (and Matt is best at addressing that aspect), we have to ignore what you’re saying because it really isn’t contributing to the discussion.

          So again, what is your proposed alternative approach to spurring and managing economic development?

        2. Ron Oertel

          The first question (beyond whether or not it would actually benefit Davis’ fiscal status) is how a dormant Davis proposal would be able to compete with 2 million square feet of new research/lab space in Woodland, and 1,600 homes (supposedly for new employees):

          http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

          Stick a fork in it, it’s done.

  3. Ron Oertel

    For perspective, I’d suggest an article which provides details regarding the total amount of subsidies from government, or government-supported entities (such as UCD itself) that are being spent at Aggie Square.

    Starting with UCD’s land, itself (which will house this development).

  4. Ron Oertel

    “. . . affects from the Great Recession lingered in our region. Between 2006 and 2016, the region ranked in the bottom third of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in growth (67th), prosperity (71st) and inclusion (84th), all of which are critical to robust economies.”

    So, this thing is supposed to “fix” that (in a market that has already experienced significant increases in housing prices – despite the claim above), while also providing this:

    “We know there’s concern about whether there will be enough housing to accommodate this new workforce — we anticipate building residential units for students and an expanding workforce. We also expect that the City of Sacramento will address the need for more housing and moderate housing prices and rental rates.”

    Hilarious. Economic development in an area already experiencing rising housing prices, along with more housing to supposedly “correct” the impact (on housing prices) resulting from even more economic development.

    The “cycle” is complete!

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’m questioning the integrity of development activists who focus on the “housing crisis” (and rising prices) on one day, followed by the “economic crisis” the next day.

        Wash, rinse, repeat.

        If you want to see the impact of “high-tech economic development” on housing prices, look no further than the Bay Area. And yet, that seems to be the direction that some (who simultaneously complain about the “housing crisis”) would emulate.

        That’s what causes me to question their integrity.

    1. Richard McCann

      Ron

      You’re confusing the source of high housing prices in Davis as an indicator of economic health. The source of those high prices are three fold, none of which have to do with higher economic activity in the Davis zone of influence: 1) higher student enrollment at UCD as part of a statewide policy to increase education opportunities to benefit the entire state 2) land expansion limits imposed by local voters and 3) high educational achievements within the Davis school district that reflect the educational attainment of parents. Meanwhile, economic activity within the City boundaries have not grown commensurately with these market forces on housing prices. In addition, as indicated in the Brookings report, the Sacramento region has lagged in economic growth as well.

      Economic development is not going to address housing prices, and I haven’t seen a direct link made in the postings or comments here. You’re conflating two issues that are not closely related.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Got it.  The price of housing in the Sacramento (or any) region is being paid for by those who aren’t dependent upon employment or other sources of income, and can apparently print money on their own.  😉

        And, the price of housing in San Francisco and Silicon Valley has nothing to do with employment opportunities, there.

        Yet to be explained is why you’re referring to the Davis market in particular, when the article that was cited had to do with the Sacramento region and Aggie Square.

        1. David Greenwald

          So I’m a bit confused, is your point that we should not grow the economy and try to create quality jobs because it will cause housing prices to go up?

        2. Ron Oertel

          I don’t believe that you or anyone on here is “confused”.  I already posted the following example elsewhere on this page:

          From article, below:  “As it stands, the plans call for building Aggie Square on 25 acres smashed between two of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Sacramento – Oak Park and Tahoe Park. Already, people in those neighborhoods have seen their rents climb dramatically, as demand has spiked with the influx of deep-pocketed renters.”

          https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article209312279.html
          Some who are complaining about the high cost of housing (and a net “influx” of inbound commuters) are also advocating for a development that can create a further imbalance. That contradictory position is what’s “confusing”. (Seems that they just want more development, period.)

          It’s highly likely that any (successful) commercial development will attract employees who live throughout the region. That’s one reason they’re proposed near freeways.

          Regardless, I strongly suspect that MRIC is going to have a difficult time, since there’s 2 million square feet of research/lab space and an additional 1,600 homes planned in Woodland.

          http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            You haven’t addressed my confusion (whether you believe it’s there or not).

        3. Ron Oertel

          Pretty sure that my response addressed your question. But, you haven’t addressed the confusion that your response created.

          Regardless, how about if we just let this conversation end. There’s no proposal at the moment, regarding MRIC. And perhaps there never will be. A logical boundary for the city may be permanently established, creating more certainty for all.

          1. David Greenwald

            I asked the question of whether “we should not grow the economy and try to create quality jobs because it will cause housing prices to go up?”

            Your answer doesn’t address that question. It simply states that that some are complaining about high cost of housing and also advocating for a development that can create further imbalance. That wasn’t the question. The question was whether we should not grow the economy because it will cause housing prices to go up. Hence my response was that you didn’t answer it.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I guess you didn’t want to take my suggestion that we let this conversation end.

          If you’re asking my personal opinion, I’m concerned that development activists will clamor for more housing, if MRIC is ever resurrected.  (Either on the site itself, or elsewhere.)  In fact, I’m pretty certain of it, as it’s already occurring.

          In fact, I suspect that the only way that the development would “pencil out” is by including a massive amount of housing. I don’t believe that there’s actually sufficient market demand for commercial development, especially with both Aggie Square and Woodland developments on the immediate horizon. (I believe that Dixon is also exploring this possibility.) Note that housing is planned for both of these developments.

          I like the “MRIC” site just the way it is.

          1. Don Shor

            (I believe that Dixon is also exploring this possibility.)

            A development agreement and plans are in place for a combination of commercial development and housing on the southeast side of Dixon, right along the freeway (south of the George’s Orange restaurant, for old-timers). That development, 477 acres, is actually almost under way and will include several hundred homes.

            TEC is presently building a very large truck sales and service facility on the northwest part of the city, on the land that had been proposed for a racetrack (voted down) across the freeway from Pedrick Produce. Those are the huge metal buildings you see going up as you head east on I-80. That area is now in the city limits, annexed due to the racetrack proposal.

            The racetrack company (Stronach) proposed a commercial venture on the site in 2017. “Mixes use would include “Business Incubator”; High Tech Labs; Hotel; Civic Center, School, Mixed Housing” per the Dixon Independent Voice in Sept 2017. I don’t know what the status of that proposal is at this point.

        5. David Greenwald

          That’s what I wanted to understand, thank you: “I’m concerned that development activists will clamor for more housing, if MRIC is ever resurrected.”

        6. Bill Marshall

          David… [edited] you used the term “development activists”… can you define, as it applies to others than developers, or property owners who wish to sell their property, to developers?

        7. Ron Oertel

          David:

          That’s what I wanted to understand, thank you: “I’m concerned that development activists will clamor for more housing, if MRIC is ever resurrected.”

          You’re welcome.

          I’ll take this a little further, and suggest that some are perhaps being purposefully misleading regarding what would likely be proposed at MRIC (e.g., when they suggest that it would “only” be a commercial development).

          Don’s comment above notes that the development in Dixon will also include “several hundred homes”. So, that’s 3-for-3 (Aggie Square, Woodland, and Dixon).

          More evidence that some may be purposefully misleading, regarding what would likely be proposed at MRIC. (If anything, it’s even more difficult to make commercial developments “pencil out” in Davis – without the money provided to developers from housing.)

        8. Richard McCann

          Ron

          Outside of Davis, there are isn’t a great concern about run away housing prices in the Sacramento region, so I had to assume you were writing about Davis. The rest of the region is still recovering from the housing market crash. So if you’re trying to make a different case, you need to get your set of facts straight.

        9. Ron Oertel

          Richard:  Perhaps I didn’t state “my case” very clearly.  But, there is concern regarding rising housing prices beyond Davis, as well.  (I have, and can continue posting articles regarding that, but it’s not my primary point.)

          Even Davis doesn’t have “runaway housing prices” from some perspectives (e.g., those moving to the area from the Bay Area).  Surrounding communities also effectively moderate price increases, in Davis (by absorbing a lot of the demand).

          My primary point is not that housing is needed at MRIC (or is even needed to make it “pencil out”), but that development activists will push for it, and/or will encourage support for a proposal which includes it.

          Perhaps the MRIC developers know this, and are just waiting for the right time to launch another campaign for what is primarily a housing development, outside of the city limits of Davis.  (Such a location would certainly be attractive to households with members who want to live in Davis, but work in Sacramento.)

          I also strongly suspect that any such proposal would not include affordable (or “Affordable”) housing, given the cost of development and market demand.

          The biggest obstacle is probably the 2 million square feet of lab/research space planned at the Woodland innovation center, along with another 1,600 homes (in addition to the developments already underway). That development, along with the other planned developments nearby will be competing to “land” the same companies.

          I guess we’ll see.

        10. Ron Oertel

          But, I believe you are correct that housing prices in nearby areas have not fully recovered from the housing crash which began more than 10 years ago. Davis does not experience the same level of upward, or downward price fluctuations.

        11. Ron Oertel

          It seems to me that developers view the commercial components of “innovation centers” as the “broccoli” that they must eat to gain approval, with “market-rate housing” as their dessert!

          And, they’d really just prefer to eat the dessert.

  5. Ron Oertel

    If one wants to truly examine the reasons for unfunded liabilities in cities and counties throughout California, that information is not difficult to find.  And yet, “innovation centers” haven’t come to the rescue of any of them.

    For example, an article regarding Yolo county itself:

    “Three major unfunded liabilities which are worrisome include pensions, retiree health and road maintenance with a combined estimated liability of $885.11 million.”

    “These issues have been the bane of nearly every California county for the past decade, ever since the Great Recession started in 2008.”

    https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2019/05/30/pension-costs-still-eating-at-2019-20-budget/

    One might also question why the recently-approved gas tax is being used for purposes other than road maintenance:

    “Sacramento, La Quinta and San Luis Obispo are among the cities that have been awarded gas tax dollars to create protected bike lanes by eliminating or reducing the size of lanes used by motor vehicles.”

    https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gas-tax-funding-road-diet-projects-20190527-story.html

     

    1. Richard McCann

      Given that cars and trucks no longer pay their full share of environmental, social and health costs imposed on others (i.e., “externalties”) due to the reduction of the registration fees in 2003 and the failure to keep up with inflation, using gas tax funds to mitigate those externalties with other projects is fully justified. (I calculated for the Reason Foundation in the late 1990s that vehicle taxes and fees in California closely corresponded with the measured externality costs at the time. That situation has changed significantly since.)

      1. Ron Oertel

        O.K. – probably another reason to not build another freeway-oriented commuter development.

        But note that “improvements” such as those on Mace Boulevard and L Street mean that less money is available to repave roads (which are also used by bicyclists – and who are far more sensitive to potholes than auto drivers are).

        Someone else (a frequent bicyclist) noted some of this – let’s just say on another local online forum.

  6. Don Shor

    This project will bring significant economic benefits to some of Sacramento’s most depressed areas, simply by bringing lots of people into the area who will have money to spend. It will create local service jobs and probably encourage any number of small businesses in the vicinity. Nearly everyone in the region understands that UC Davis is a huge generator of jobs, an economic engine for the whole region. UCD is one of the biggest employers in the Sacramento/Yolo metropolitan area.

    It seems that some just want to revisit old arguments about economic development and downplay the benefits of anything that increases commercial activity. Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, and Oak Park are traditionally underserved parts of the Sacramento community, with long histories of redlining and other discriminatory practices keeping the residents from attaining economic prosperity. This project should be applauded, and I commend them for trying, at least, to involve the local communities in the planning process.

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      Don:  “It seems that some just want to revisit old arguments . . .”

      Given the repetitive nature of articles on this blog, tell me you said this with a straight face.

      Don:  “Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, and Oak Park are traditionally underserved parts of the Sacramento community . . .”

      Some will likely be displaced to other locations, as rental and housing prices rise.  One can’t necessarily just step into any job that’s close by.

      The jobs that are created at Aggie Square will be filled by qualified employees from throughout the region (including Davis).

       

      1. Don Shor

        Some will likely be displaced to other locations, as rental and housing prices rise. One can’t necessarily just step into any job that’s close by.

        The jobs that are created at Aggie Square will be filled by qualified employees from throughout the region (including Davis).

        Right, Ron. Nothing is guaranteed. Rise in housing prices means a rise in equity for those who own homes. Some will benefit, some won’t. I’m not sure what your point is about that; it’s a rather obvious observation that not everyone benefits equally from any kind of development. But developments of this sort typically have a ripple effect as new businesses are created nearby. I suggest you are being unnecessarily skeptical about those benefits, especially in the neighborhoods where this is being proposed.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Don:  “Some will benefit, some won’t. I’m not sure what your point is about that.”

          You must not be reading my posts very carefully (if you truly don’t understand the point), including my other comments above.  Often times, the same people who complain about high housing prices are the very same ones complaining about the need for economic development (possibly causing even higher housing prices). If that doesn’t cause you to question their integrity, I’m not sure what would.

          Davis already has UCD itself.  While it doesn’t pay taxes, it provides jobs and other benefits to Davis residents.  That’s why there’s already a net inflow of commuters, to Davis. And is a primary reason that housing prices are higher in Davis, than some surrounding communities.

          Don:  “I suggest you are being unnecessarily skeptical about those benefits, especially in the neighborhoods where this is being proposed.”

          I’d suggest you’re being naïve, if you believe that some living in those neighborhoods won’t be displaced.  From some “outsiders” perspective, those neighborhoods may subsequently appear to be “improved” as a result.  It’s called gentrification.

        2. Craig Ross

          Count me among those not understanding your point Ron.  We need jobs.  We need housing.  You seem to be arguing that having good jobs is somehow a bad thing.  Without good jobs, we can’t afford housing anyway.  None of this makes sense.

        3. Ron Oertel

          “Davis” itself doesn’t need either of those.  Especially jobs, as evidenced by the net inflow of commuters.

          I would acknowledge that more student housing is needed (and is already planned for), as long as UCD continues to add students. It’s unfortunate that such housing appears to be a money-loser, for the city.

          I also would not advocate that the city ignore SACOG “fair share” growth requirements. (In fact, it’s already exceeding those requirements.)

          I’d question why anyone who claims to be concerned about housing prices would advocate for steps which could cause housing prices to rise even further. Not to mention an even greater imbalance of inbound freeway commuters. These types of arguments demonstrate a lack of integrity.

        4. Ron Oertel

          But yeah – general statements that Davis (itself) “needs” housing and jobs has no meaning.  Compared to what, exactly?  Other than the “hoped-for” influx of students, what standard is being used, here?

          If an individual needs a job or housing, does that mean that the “city” needs it as well?

        5. Ron Oertel

          I’ve been waiting for decades, for places such as Lake Tahoe, Aspen, and Marin county to provide me with a good job and affordable housing.  (So far, they haven’t responded.)

          Perhaps they just haven’t yet realized that they need to do so.  😉

        6. Craig Ross

          The nice thing about Davis is that UC Davis is an economic engine that has the capacity to churn research into private sector products that help create jobs.  Unfortunately UC Marin and UC Tahoe a bit lacking in such job creation.  However, you might find a good job in Boulder, if you so desire.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Well, UC is relying upon massive public subsidies (including its own), to get Aggie Square off the ground. Anything on the outskirts of Davis would have to successfully “compete” with this subsidized development, to be feasible.

          Not to mention competition from the one planned for Woodland, which is probably easier to get to from UCD, compared to the MRIC location. (And, is probably a lot cheaper to build in the first place.)

          And yet, both of these developments will include massive amounts of housing, that some are “promising” won’t appear at MRIC.

          Marin county has all of San Francisco, nearby.  That’s the primary reason why there’s no affordable housing, there.  (And, most of those jobs are not at “UCSF”.)

        8. Ron Oertel

          With San Francisco nearby, it’s no wonder that Marin county didn’t muck up its own territory (with massive amounts of commercial development/job centers).

          Residents of Davis are in a similar position, with both UC Davis and Sacramento nearby.

          Of course, Marin county also values its open space, and probably doesn’t have a cauldron of development activists attempting to destroy it (for their own interests) on a daily basis. (They certainly had their share of those types, in decades past.) Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of their “descendants” are still trying there, as well. 😉

    2. Rik Keller

      Don Shor said: “This project will bring significant economic benefits to some of Sacramento’s most depressed areas….it seems that some just want to revisit old arguments about economic development ”

      The real question is why do you want to try to ignore all of the actual economic development research done by economic development experts that says you are wrong.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Also in reference to the article above, it seems to me that Davis developers could find “25 acres” (or thereabouts) within city limits for such a development – if they weren’t already so busy converting such sites for housing.

      Despite all the hubbub, Aggie Square apparently isn’t all that large.

      1. Don Shor

        t seems to me that Davis developers could find “25 acres” (or thereabouts) within city limits for such a development –

        I’m sure you can think of a reason that UC isn’t interested in developing on 25 acres in the city limits of Davis.

        1. Ron Oertel

          In reality, I suspect they aren’t.  They could always do so on their own land, as they’re doing at Aggie Square (along with other public subsidies).  Thereby also avoiding the payment of property taxes.

          There was also an opportunity to include an innovation center component with Nishi 2.0, but I recall that David reported that UCD didn’t want the traffic from it going through campus.

          But again, I understood that innovation centers were supposedly private, unsubsidized developments.  And if so, there’s no reason that it can’t start on existing sites within the city.

          Of course, we’ll have to wait for David to tell us all of the reasons that those sites aren’t available, after the staff report tells us that they are. (Including under-utilized sites.)

          That is, if they haven’t all been converted to housing, by then.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Actually, I take that back (somewhat).

          I understand that UC Davis never pays property taxes, even for properties that they own or lease off-campus (which may have been formerly on the tax rolls).

          In any case, it’s going to be challenging for Davis to “compete” with a subsidized development, or even the one planned for Woodland (that’s probably cheaper and easier to get to, from campus).

          And even those developments are planning to include housing. (Especially the one in Woodland, I understand.)

          1. David Greenwald

            Davis isn’t going to have to “compete” with either Aggie Square which will be very specific or Woodland. Davis has the inherent advantage of being the location with a Davis address and with easy access to UC research and student.

        3. David Greenwald

          It’s also not clear that there is 25 acres in the city limits of Davis unless the Frontier Site is cleaned up, which will not be any time soon.

        4. Ron Oertel

          David:  “Davis isn’t going to have to “compete” with either Aggie Square which will be very specific or Woodland. Davis has the inherent advantage of being the location with a Davis address and with easy access to UC research and student.”

          Commercial developers care less about the perceived “exclusivity” of the location than residential developers.  They view the area as a “region”, as suggested in the title of your article.  Such centers also draw employees from a region (including Davis).

          I believe that Aggie Square is pursuing a variety of businesses.  But, the more direct competitor is Woodland – since it’s likely much cheaper to build, will include a massive amount of housing, and is probably easier to get to (from UCD) than the MRIC site.  (I suspect that there are also efforts to connect UCD with the site in Woodland, via some form of transit system.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these sites compete to land businesses, and that both of these locations have a significant head-start over a dormant, controversial Davis proposal.

          David:  “It’s also not clear that there is 25 acres in the city limits of Davis unless the Frontier Site is cleaned up, which will not be any time soon.”

          I realize that you’re going to continue trying to “prove” this, as information comes out from staff reports.  (You started in on this with articles, as soon as the effort to examine such sites was initiated by the city.)  Even if there’s not 25 contiguous undeveloped acres, there are significant-sized parcels still available, as well as under-utilized sites. 

          If there’s truly market demand for commercial sites, let’s see companies occupy the existing sites, first.  (That is, if the city doesn’t continue allowing commercial sites to be converted to residential sites.)

        5. Ron Oertel

          And let’s not forget that the “innovation center” planned for Woodland is actually a “colonizer”, from Davis.  😉

          And what happened to the original site in Davis, you ask? You already know that a housing development (WDAAC) has been approved for a portion of that location, instead. There was never even an opportunity for voters to weigh in, on the original proposal in Davis.

        6. Craig Ross

          Ron,
          I know you believe that, but I’m not sure you have a basis to believe it.  People who are experts on this stuff, don’t believe that Davis and Woodland are tapping the same field.
          As Barry Broome said last fall: “He noted that even though Woodland is doing their own park, “they’re not going to really capture innovation – that’s eight miles away.””
          I’ve talked to so many people who believe that Davis has the name brand to succeed in tech transfer and research because people working at the university don’t want to go to Sacramento or Woodland.  Aggie Square is really taking advantage of proximity to the Med Center, but Davis can take advantage of its proximity to the faculty, the researchers and the students and push on issues like green tech and food security.  I don’t see Woodland going into med tech and bio tech.  And if they have the choice between Woodland and Davis (which they don’t now), they have no reason to choose Woodland.  You’re speculating and you don’t know this industry well enough to do that.

        7. Ron Oertel

          So, here is a link to the Davis Innovation Center, which will now be renamed in built in Woodland, instead.   It is surprising to see this website still up, but their planned location in Davis has been approved for a housing development (WDAAC), instead.

          I recall that David previously noted that what’s left of their development team moved to the planned Woodland location (which I understand has already been approved, an EIR process underway, etc.).

          http://davisinnovationcenter.org/

        8. Ron Oertel

          And, here’s a link to the planned innovation center in Woodland, which is a “colonizer” from Davis.

          “Northern California’s agricultural innovation is anchored by the cutting-edge research and development at UC Davis – the nation’s premier agricultural research institution. Woodland Research Park, a proposed 350-acre project located just seven miles from UC Davis, offers the opportunity for established companies and startups focusing on agriculture innovation to expand or put down roots in Northern California’s agriculture and food science epicenter.”

          http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

        9. Ron Oertel

          (Looks like there will be more than 2 million square feet of research and lab space, and 1,600 homes. In addition to all of the other housing developments underway, in South Woodland.)

  7. Darryl Rutherford

    There’s still a great opportunity to engage in this process and ensure the community receive the type of benefits it deserves as UCD & City of Sac look to gentrify the neighborhood. The precedent has been set at USC Village where community groups successfully negotiated “…28 provisions promising the community likely more than $40 million in benefits. The perks range from affordable housing funding to training small business owners.”

    A number of advocates from throughout the region have contributed to the following study from UCD’s Center for Regional Change (the full report is worth the read w strong recs on how the public entities can engage w/community and use this as an opp to greatly benefit the residents who are at risk of being displaced): https://regionalchange.ucdavis.edu/publication/aggiesquare

    Calling out Rik Keller and Mark West to read and chime in…

    1. Bill Marshall

      Without trying to interfere with your challenge, I pretty much doubt that UCD or City of Sacratomato,

      UCD & City of Sac look to gentrify the neighborhood.

      May be a result, and/or consequence, but doubt that as a primary “goal” of either entity.  If it is, that’s a serious problem/issue…

    2. Bill Marshall

      But yes… having Rik and Mark weigh/chime in could well be ‘informative’, at least to their views/biases… think there’s less an a 15% chance of that happening, as to your cite… probably more like 2%… even then, thinking I’m optimistic on that…

    3. Mark West

      Darryl –

      I have downloaded the report and will read it as soon as I am able. My daughter is playing in a softball tournament this weekend however, so it will likely be Monday before I am able to respond.

       

       

    4. Rik Keller

      Darryl:

      I read a few phrases in the Exec Summary like “align university strengths and ambitions with the needs of the market” and “hinges on the relationships, synergies and collaborations established by leadership in academia, government, industry coming together to form a triple helix,” and I couldn’t continue any further. Ridiculous marketing blather.

       

      1. Darryl Rutherford

        Rik – that’s why I said to read the full report…exec summary doesn’t do the report justice. And there’s still time to engage in the process if you would like to see things done differently there.

        1. Bill Marshall

          And there’s still time to engage in the process if you would like to see things done differently there.

          Damn good point.

          But that would require “involvement”, rather than ‘sniping’/whining, by some…

          Damn good point!

        2. Rik Keller

          Darryl: reading through the full report, there are a while bunch of “the project COULDs” on pp. 29-33. It is unclear why the project isn’t already doing these things.

          And then the report concludes with a set of vague and general recommendations at just just over a page starting on p. 55. There is no description of the process moving forward to address any of these.

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