What Will the City Do about Pacifico – Four Different Ideas Emerge through RFP

In May, facing calls by neighbors to level Pacifico and rebuild from scratch, the council instead took the more modest step of calling for an RFP (Request for Proposal) where they would take proposals for re-purposing the Pacifico complex.

Residents have been complaining about things like drug use, property crimes, and general nuisances.  The city has acknowledged some of these problems – though it remains unclear the extent to which the building itself is contributing to those problems rather than the location of the facility along a greenbelt, sequestered and hidden from other areas of town.

Through the RFP process, the city received three different proposals and a letter from Mutual Housing California, which ironically calls for the city to do exactly as the neighbors suggested.

In their August 16 letter, Mutual Housing California writes, “Mutual Housing believes that the most appropriate plan would be to demolish the existing structures and construct new and sustainable affordable housing.”

They argue: “The design of the existing Pacifico housing is not operationally viable. Even as affordable housing, the fact that its units include neither individual kitchens (or even kitchenettes) nor bathrooms make them very difficult to rent on a consistent basis.

“Additionally, State and Federal financing programs that will be needed to redevelop the property are not suited for this type of cooperative living product type. Most importantly, Mutual does not believe the conventional lenders and investors that we and other affordable housing developers work with would be interested in financing this property in its currently configuration.”

Mutual Housing adds, “While we understand that demolishing the existing housing will in the short term result in a loss of affordable units, we believe that in the long-term the only operationally and financially viable solution is to develop new housing that will better meet the needs of your community’s low-income residents as well as those of the public and private lenders and investors needed to finance the project.

“Rather than proposing a specific project at this time, we believe it more appropriate—should Mutual Housing be selected by the City–to work together with the City of Davis to devise a project that both meets the goals of the City as well as those of potential funding sources.”

The other three proposals are for student housing, veterans housing, and housing geared toward individuals with special needs.  Two of the proposals would keep the housing all-affordable, while one would be market rate with a 15-percent affordable component.

The John Stewart Company, in conjunction with the Veterans Resource Centers of America and Veterans Housing Development Corporation, is proposing a project to serve veterans.

Their proposal for the 96-unit Pacifico would focus on seniors, the disabled, and single-person households. They write, “Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, while not a distinct special needs class, often share many characteristics with these groups.”  The project would include: “An expanded range of veterans’ services, delivered by Veterans Resource Centers of America, which will be available to the residents.”

The plan calls for a development plan “that supports significant rehabilitation work on the buildings’ interiors to build in another 15 years of useful life to the property” and a “financing plan that takes advantage of State and Federal sources to deliver the project without requiring any subsidy from the City of Davis.”

Jason Taormino is putting forth a proposal for Inclusive Housing.  They proposed to “purchase Pacifico Student Housing Cooperative and deliver an imaginative affordable housing project that includes enhanced benefits for multiple segments of our community. The overarching goal of this proposal is to provide vibrant and inclusive affordable housing without City of Davis financial assistance.”

They indicate that they have “two special groups” that “are interested in affordable and supportive living spaces: First 5 Yolo’s CHILD Project: Road to Resilience (R2R) and Team Davis.”

They add, “We expect at least one similar group will also be interested in the coming weeks.”

They note, “R2R is an innovative systems improvement designed to prevent conditions that contribute to child maltreatment, prevent or mitigate adverse childhood experiences, and provide a system for improved health, safety, and early experiences.”

They add, “Team Davis was established to help enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental intellectual and/or physical disabilities living in or close to Davis, California. The need for housing for adults with disabilities is great.”

The proposal notes that current deed restrictions will remain in place, there will be building redesign needed, and “changes will be made to enhance the living environment for both students and special groups.”

They note, “All changes and rehabilitation will be at the expense of Inclusive Housing LLC.”

The third proposal is from CA Ventures, the Chicago-based company that is also building Davis Live Housing.  Unlike the other two proposals, their proposal would convert the complex to market-rate housing with 15 percent of units set aside to meet affordable housing requirements set forth by the city.

They note there are two areas “where Davis lacks inventory” – rental housing designed for working professionals and affordable family rental housing.

They note: “As such, we’ve sought to develop a project that would welcome professionals and families.”

They note: “The project’s close proximity to the downtown, in addition to its close proximity (less than one mile) to many South Davis businesses (e.g. Kaiser Permanente, Physical Edge, Marrone Bio Innovations, West Yost, SunWest Foods, ADM, Blue Oak Energy, MLJ Environmental and more), makes this an ideal location for the type of prospective residents cited above who cannot or do not want to purchase a home.”

The project also incorporates 15 percent to the city goal for affordable housing.  They write, “We feel that it is particularly important for people to have the option to live in the same community in which they work and believe that our proposed development will provide opportunities for individuals to achieve that.”

The proposal notes: “The building is planned to be 5 stories, with material and planar transitions incorporated to soften the scale of the building, particularly along the south façade most visible from the bike path.”

The city had a meeting this week, and the proposals will now be reviewed by the city council later this fall.

—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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29 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    The city has acknowledged some of these problems – though it remains unclear the extent to which the building itself is contributing to those problems rather than the location of the facility along a greenbelt, sequestered and hidden from other areas of town.

    I just don’t see this.  Maybe it’s because I bike by on the greenway.  I see this complex clearly and often, more so than most places, and it WAS very visible to the public.  Now, they put a fence up, as fences are seen as some sort of solution, whereas to me they just hide stuff.  So now it is hidden.  I guess if you only look at the world from a car, the location could be considered ‘hidden’, but really if you think about it a lot of places are hidden by this definition.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Alan… exactly… when I replaced a sideyard gate, made sure it had a lock, but was 4-ft high gate with 3-4 inch spaces between slats… Security 101.  Good views in and out.

          PD recommended…

    1. Bill Marshall

      Fences can be great as a physical barrier… not so much as a visual barrier… the latter can be less safe than no fence at all.  one can’t see risks/problems on the other side.

      Privacy has a down-side… it can hide bad things as well as good ones…

  2. Alan Miller

    Mutual Housing California writes, “Mutual Housing believes that the most appropriate plan would be to demolish the existing structures and construct new and sustainable affordable housing.”

    Seems Davis really likes building things that supposedly aren’t feasible for much and then demolishing them as fairly new structures (see Sterling site).  What a waste!

    1. David Greenwald

      I’m disappointed that the city’s response to complaints from the neighbors is changing a needed housing structure rather than trying to fix the problems with the existing structure.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Fixing the problems is likely to require changing the structure.  aka ‘fixing’, and ‘change’…

        When I fix a problem, I change the source of the problem.  If I don’t change it, unlikely I will fix it.

        Unsure of your point.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Alan, et al… appears there will be an extensive remodel/reconfig to add 15 yrs design life… and might require significant expensive upgrades to meet energy, fire, and other current building codes… a “re-do” might be a push, financially, with a much longer design life…  someone who knows these #’s should ‘crunch them’… I don’t…

      But I’d not, at this juncture, dismiss a re-do that could add more, modern, units, meeting higher building/energy standards… but it would need to be looked at for cost/benefit, financing, preferably (big time!) all ‘private’ financing… regardless of ‘target resident’ population…

      It’s early in the process…

  3. Alan Miller

    “The design of the existing Pacifico housing is not operationally viable. Even as affordable housing, the fact that its units include neither individual kitchens (or even kitchenettes) nor bathrooms make them very difficult to rent on a consistent basis.

    Is it really that difficult for students on a budget to share a community kitchen?  Or is the design just that bad?  I’ve certainly seen functional living situations with a common kitchen in Davis.  This isn’t Mars we are talking about here.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Hey!  My grandfather is from Mars![born there]  Nice place to live…

      So nice, we went in a Comet from Mercury to visit Mars when I was ~ 7 years old.

      Small town, NE of Pittsburgh…

  4. Alan Miller

    Mutual Housing adds, “While we understand that demolishing the existing housing will in the short term result in a loss of affordable units, we believe that in the long-term the only operationally and financially viable solution is to develop new housing that will better meet the needs of your community’s low-income residents as well as those of the public and private lenders and investors needed to finance the project.

    I don’t understand how this is possible.  On this forum it has been discussed many times how modern construction costs make it impossible to do new construction and have the rental rates be ‘affordable’ in any sense.  The only possible way this could happen is if the units are heavily subsidized, which makes me suspect the proposal is based on the developer receiving large-scale government grants to build such housing.  Not accusing, just asking — or asking that this be revealed for transparency.

    1. Bill Marshall

      how modern construction costs make it impossible to do new construction and have the rental rates be ‘affordable’ in any sense

      @ this location, land is already acquired, public/utility improvements already in place… costs will significantly be less than ‘bare ground’ costs…. but someone needs to crunch the numbers… for sure…

  5. Alan Miller

    “Rather than proposing a specific project at this time, we believe it more appropriate—should Mutual Housing be selected by the City–to work together with the City of Davis to devise a project that both meets the goals of the City as well as those of potential funding sources.”

    “Potential funding sources?”.  How about your own private capital?  Makes me even more think this is all a scam to suck on the government teet.

  6. Alan Miller

    The other three proposals are for student housing, veterans housing, and housing geared toward individuals with special needs.  Two of the proposals would keep the housing all-affordable, while one would be market rate with a 15-percent affordable component.

    Sounds like more government teet sucking proposals, but at least the buildings would be preserved.  Market rate of 85% in one.  That sounds good, though market-rate has become a bad word in California where everything must be subsidized from the government — which is actually our money strained off by the government so most of it is lost before being reused in government programs.  But go ahead and believe government money is created by God, and thus there will always be an unlimited supply for children, puppies, old people, unicorn farms, and now . . . veterans.

    1. Bill Marshall

      BTW, Alan… ‘teat’ is a nursing/sustenance orifice… ‘teet’ sounds like something that is a cross between that and a ‘tweet’… which might have been your intent, and might be an appropriate ‘conflation’.

  7. Alan Miller

    Inclusive Housing.  They proposed to “purchase Pacifico Student Housing Cooperative and deliver an imaginative affordable housing project that includes enhanced benefits for multiple segments of our community. The overarching goal of this proposal is to provide vibrant and inclusive affordable housing without City of Davis financial assistance.”

    And the goal of that blurb was to use meaningless but good-sounding adjectives that mean nothing.

    Imaginative

    Imaginative there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imaginative all the people
    Living for today (ah ah ah)
    Imaginative there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too
    Imaginative all the people
    Living life in peace
    You may say that I’m a schemer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And Davis will be as one

    Imaginative no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imaginative all the people
    Sharing all of Davis
    You may say that I’m a schemer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And Davis will live as one

        1. Bill Marshall

          OK… if ‘imaginative’ was one, I didn’t cite… too obvious… the third, I believe I just caught… was focused on subtle… if there are more…

          I like puzzles… keeps synapses active… good thing…

  8. Eric Gelber

    “Rather than proposing a specific project at this time, we believe it more appropriate—should Mutual Housing be selected by the City–to work together with the City of Davis to devise a project that both meets the goals of the City as well as those of potential funding sources.”

    So, instead of responding with a proposal per the RFP, Mutual Housing’s response is “pick us and then trust us.” I would think this would be disqualifying.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Eric…

      It was put out as an RFP… to my way of thinking, should have been an RFQ… too early for spacifico proposals…  many key elements missing as to financing and ability to perform… so I’d not ‘disqualify’ any at this point.  Not even the ‘re-do’…

      In EIR’s, the proposed project is analyzed, but also one or more alternatives… at this point, with all the possible potential benefits (as I referenced above), and potential problems, I’m inclined to ask all four to flesh out their proposals, except for any that truly appear to be “non-starters”… but I believe that the ‘re-do’ option, should remain in play, even if not a ‘preferred’ option… additional units, better energy and other Building Code potential, longer design life, jump to mind.

      More info is needed… along the lines of ‘”don’t put all your eggs in one basket”… or as they say in Andorra, “don’t put all your Basques in one exit”… that process needs a ‘stage 2’ as to financing capabilities, and evidence of ability to perform.  Forget the target ‘audience’ as to residents… if a developer will have financial or ‘performance’ issues, we should have that sooner than later, or dismiss it…

      1. Eric Gelber

        The City website reports that three proposals were received by the deadline and are being considered. So, it appears the fourth submission—the Mutual Housing “letter”—is not being considered. Given that their submission failed to meet the detailed RFP requirements, that is appropriate. I don’t believe the City could properly consider any Mutual Housing proposal unless they were to find none of the other proposals were acceptable and issued a new RFP.

        1. Bill Marshall

          We agree to disagree.

          There may be opportunities lost, but you are technically correct.

          And, since there was no two-step process in the RFP, what was submitted, they should pick from the litter, with no further regard for financing details, nor ability to perform, nor more input as to product to be delivered.

          Technically, that is the right way to proceed.  Even if it goes sideways… this could be interesting…

        2. Bill Marshall

          From City website…

          http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/Default/NIBs-RFPs-RFQs/Pacifico-RFP-due-2019-08-16.pdf

          [And yes, I did a cursory review of it, in toto]
          .
          Wonder how many of the proposals actually rigorously fit the ‘requirement “to meet the detailed RFP requirements”, as outlined… suspect none… but the RFP proposals do not appear to be on the website… no way to verify…

          One of the key requirements, was to indicate ‘how a project would be managed’… based on what was disclosed in the article… none of respndents dealt with that…

          Good luck on the ‘technically correct thing’…

           

  9. Bill Marshall

    Thinking further, although I am open to keeping the “non-RFP” in play, I can also see a reason, arguably valid, to reject it… as the only proposal that calls for a total ‘re-do’, it feeds into the concept that the adjacent neighborhood can dictate what happens… a very dangerous precedent.

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