by Dan Ramos
Several years ago, Ramco Enterprises along with our partners, Buzz Oates and Reynolds & Brown, submitted a proposal to develop what was then called the Mace Ranch Innovation Center on a parcel of land in northeast Davis. When first proposed, our project was envisioned as a place where UC Davis-rooted entrepreneurs and companies like Schilling Robotics and Marrone Bio could grow and stay local.
We still believe in the need for such a project and our core vision remains intact: to provide offices, laboratories, specialized R&D space, and light manufacturing for ag-tech, food science, and biotech companies – helping solidify Davis as the ag-tech capital of the world.
While we’ve continued to hear community support for an innovation center, a City priority since 1992, we’ve also heard a strong and growing concern about the unavailability of workforce housing in Davis. Jobs and innovation and the financial benefits they produce are important, but they rely on people. If they can’t live near where they work, they’ll likely go elsewhere.
That’s why we’re excited to announce the Aggie Research Campus, a project that builds and improves on our earlier proposal. This project provides the same cutting-edge innovation center and amenities that have long been a City and university priority, delivers workforce housing designed primarily for campus employees, and helps improve the City’s financial position by enhancing the tax base.
The property is situated next to grocery stores, restaurants, and other amenities—the perfect place for those working here to also live. We’re also providing bike, pedestrian, and transit improvements, on-site clean energy generation, LEED certified building standards, and parks and open space accessible to all.
But the project’s primary purpose remains unchanged: to provide a space for startups and established companies from Davis, or tied to research conducted at UC Davis, to thrive and grow in our community. That’s why we’ve been in conversation with Inventopia, Davis’ incubator for life science and engineering startups, which will play an important role in our vision. The Aggie Research Campus would be the ideal place to help Inventopia and the University reach their potential in transferring cutting edge research into commercial reality. We don’t want these companies to take root in Davis and grow into something special, only to see another city reap the benefits.
I want to thank the Davis community for your patience and engagement with us through this process. We’re excited about this evolution of the innovation center. As we continue to work with the City on processing of our project, we’re going to continue meeting with community groups, leaders and other stakeholders so we can make sure our project is the best it can be. We look forward to hearing from you.
Dan Ramos is vice president of Ramco Enterprises, a development and farming company based in Yolo County, and a former 15-year Davis resident.