My View: Sutter’s Planned Expansion Big News for Davis

Courtesy Photo

During a time of the year when it seems like the only news is bad news, Davis got a dose of good news this week when Sutter announced the plans for a $51.8 million expansion at the Davis hospital facility.

The $51.8 million expansion will add a one-story building which will include space for its birthing center and emergency department.  The plan is in a review stage at the state level, with no dates provided for construction.

“We continue to work through all the necessary channels for permitting and design, and look forward to continuing to keep the community and other stakeholders informed as things progress,” said Rachael McKinney, Sutter Davis Hospital CEO, in a prepared statement. “We are excited for what lies ahead at Sutter Davis Hospital and our growing ability to support our community through our not-for-profit mission.”

This is big news for Davis.

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs in a post on Facebook noted that “in the great news category: Sutter Davis Hospital, already a dynamic long-time community partner, is going to invest in a major economic & physical expansion at their Davis campus- specifically the Emergency Department, their well known Birthing Center, and an increase in their overall hospital bed capacity.”

He added, “This will be a real benefit to Davis and our greater Yolo community!”

Councilmember Dan Carson added, “Another major investment in our community, following on the heels of Nugget, the Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt hotel chains, Fulcrum, the Mars company, and others. There is more we need to do to foster economic development, but we are making real progress.”

Sutter will invest $4.3 million in fixed equipment costs for the Yolo County project and $47.5 million in construction.

As Dan Carson points out, Davis in a relatively short period of time has drawn some major new investments.

Earlier this year, Mars, Inc., announced it was bringing a R&D cocoa hub to downtown that will be staffed by up to 15 Mars plant scientists and contractors who will be working in collaboration with UC Davis faculty and students on research projects.

Last year Nugget Markets announced plans to build a two-story office building located off Alhambra and Mace Blvd.  Nugget wanted to move its operations under one roof, and at present corporate staff is housed in three offices in Woodland and one in Davis.

This not only allows them to work under one roof, but allows for future growth.

Fulcrum a few years ago announced it was purchasing the space formerly known as Interland.  Now known as University Research Park, they have announced plans for a major mixed use development that will hopefully house some of the employees already working in the park.

In addition, last April, the Archer Daniels Midland Company announced it was opening its new enzyme lab in Davis.

“We’re excited to open this new research facility lab in Davis, expanding our ability to develop and commercialize a wide range of enzymes, and advancing our animal health partnership with Vland,” said ADM Chief Technology Officer Todd Werpy.

He added: “In addition to an accomplished staff of scientists and researchers and a great partner in Vland, our new lab will benefit from its location near the University of California, Davis, which provides access to world-leading expertise and resources in the areas of food science and nutrition as well as animal health and agriculture. ADM has collaborated with UC Davis in the past, and we look forward to an even closer relationship now. We’re also very appreciative of the City of Davis, which has been tremendously supportive and helpful through this entire process.”

This was the first such lab in California and it came to Davis.

Councilmember Carson also noted the hotels – the Marriott is just nearing completion while the Hyatt House is just about to get underway.

While the big news this week is the expansion of Sutter, it is also a reminder of the limitations of commercial growth in Davis.

As we noted in January, city staff identified only about 124.5 acres of available commercial land in Davis.  However, almost of quarter of those were wrapped into Sutter and Kaiser for extensions of existing medical facilities.  As the Sutter expansion shows, that is still a benefit to the community as it represents an opportunity for periodic expansions and construction projects that will bring in short-term revenue for the city.

But in the long run, Davis faces serious losses due to these limitations.  One of those about to strike is Shilling Robotics, expected to leave Davis with an announcement probably coming within the next month.

Davis had already lost native grown Bayer/AgraQuest, which moved to West Sacramento and is now in the process of creating their own Innovation Center.

The Aggie Research Campus with its 200 or acres would have the potential to be a place where growing companies that no longer fit in the relatively small parcels in town could move to.

In the meantime, the smaller projects that we listed continue to show that Davis is a place where companies like ADM and Mars and many more want to locate.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

You can learn more about the future of high tech economic development by attending the free event on Wednesday – more details here.


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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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7 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    But in the long run, Davis faces serious losses due to these limitations . . .  the Aggie Research Campus with its 200 or acres would have the potential to be a place where growing companies that no longer fit in the relatively small parcels in town could move to.

    So, this was actually an ad for ARC.

    1. Craig Ross

      I’ll bite.

      (1) One line at the end means the article was an ad for something?

      (2) Doesn’t an ad requirement payment, do you have evidence of that?

      Point three is addressed to Ron.

      (3) You keep wanting evidence of commercial demand, this piece lays out a number of recent examples, but elicits no response from you.

      1. Alan Miller

        (1) One line at the end means the article was an ad for something?

        Your call.

        (2) Doesn’t an ad requirement payment, do you have evidence of that?

        I dunno.

      2. Ron Oertel

        Well, most of the examples have already “found” a home in Davis – including the possible expansion of Sutter.  (As a side note, the article does not provide details regarding how much land the possible expansion would occupy. Nor am I sure why a “birthing center” would need to be expanded as part of the proposal, in a city with a declining birthrate. But, not my decision.)

        For companies seeking more land, there’s plenty of it in Woodland and West Sacramento.  No way will Davis compete on price, with those.

        Filling out the planned “footprint” of Davis is not “proof” that more expansion is needed.  However, it might be a sign of unwise decisions regarding conversion of sites within the city.

        1. Craig Ross

          “For companies seeking more land, there’s plenty of it in Woodland and West Sacramento.”

          That’s a bad thing if we are attempting to build our development.  If we have the land, places want to come to Davis however.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I agree that it’s a “bad thing” that other cities don’t control development as well as Davis.  That’s the primary problem, for the region and beyond.

          (And actually, Davis is nowhere near the top of the list, regarding such controls – despite how it’s portrayed on here by some.)

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