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