When the team of developers led by Project Manager Dan Ramos sent a letter to the city on June 11, they had not yet resubmitted an application, so the details for the revised project were lacking. This week, some of those documents have been posted, giving us a window into some of the details of the project.
The city staff writes, “The applicant spent the last two years conducting research on modern innovation parks, talking to industry experts, and analyzing the appropriate land uses. The applicant has decided to continue pursuing the appropriate general plan and zoning designations, as well as, an application to annex their proposed Aggie Research Campus project.”
As Mike Webb noted on Tuesday night, the 25 acres that the city owns in the Mace Triangle will not be part of that project, and there has been no decision for how that would be used. One possibility, he noted, was the creation of a conservation easement as part of the ag buffer.
The staff report notes, “The ARC project does propose a 150’ wide, nine-acre agricultural buffer easement on the southern and eastern edges of the Mace 25 parcel. The placement of the agricultural buffer easement will be considered as part of the larger entitlement application discussion at a future meeting.”
The project itself is project to be 185 acres and, at full build out, would include 2.65 million square feet of innovation center uses as well as 850 residential units of various sizes and affordability. That could potentially include a very robust affordable housing project.
The staff report notes that “the ARC project would include space for office, research & development, laboratory, advance manufacturing, prototyping, limited supportive retail, a hotel and a conference center, and include 850 residential units to provide a jobs/housing balance.”
The table notes that about 57 percent of the commercial development is identified for office/R&D/laboratory use types, 33 percent is dedicated to advanced manufacturing, and up to 10 percent may be used for support retail uses including a hotel and conference center.
A number of people have assumed that there would not be a hotel. That is, given that there are two new hotels in town including the Marriott/Residence Inn across the street and a proposed expansion of the University Park Inn.
On the other hand, it is unclear where the Richards Hotel project stands, and it has been drastically cut back – including the loss of the originally approved conference center, leaving Davis without a venue for high tech and other conferences.
The project description notes, “The up to 260,000 sf of supportive commercial uses is anticipated to include roughly 160,000 sf of hotel/conference center use and 100,000 sf of ancillary retail located throughout the Project site. The hotel/conference center would be located in the southwestern corner, near the intersection of Mace Boulevard and 2nd Street.”
The project description further adds that there will be supportive retail, expected to be located on the ground floor of the proposed R&D or “multi-family residential buildings surrounding the Oval park and the transit plaza area, resulting in vertically integrated mixed-use buildings.”
The retail would provide employees, residents, and visitors with basic conveniences such as: lodging/accommodations, health and fitness center, convenient coffee and dining opportunities, all located within walking distance of the Project’s primary businesses and workforce housing uses.
Another question has been that of the housing.
The project description notes: “[W]orkforce housing with an average density at or above 30 dwelling units per acre. The anticipated density range is between 15 and 50 dwelling units per acre, or higher, depending on product type.”
These are expected to be high density and multifamily rather than single-family homes.
The applicants note: “The tallest buildings proposed for ARC – the multi-family housing and hotel – are up to 85 feet.”
They also noted that the residential units will be “centrally-located.”
“It will be high-density housing,” Dan Ramos told the Vanguard in June.
“We’re not talking about single-family homes,” he said, importantly and plainly. In addition, Dan Ramos told the Vanguard that ARC will “consider” and is open to a “co-housing” model. They have begun exploring such innovative models as they consider a more specific proposal when it comes to council.
“This is not a housing project,” he said again, firmly and bluntly. “If anything this is an accessory use to what we’re trying to do. It helps us enhance the innovation or the research park part of it. It helps us be successful.”
Parking is another big issue – and one of the goals with the housing and transportation plan will be to reduce impacts on Mace Blvd and I-80.
The parking section notes: “The parking ratios utilized for the office/commercial components of the Project are a considerable reduction from those required by the City’s Municipal Code.”
The ratio at the residential units will be 1 to 1, meaning one parking space per unit.
They note: “ARC’s residential units are proposed to be parked at a standard less than the City average and in a manner that reflects the walkability of the site and trending shifts in personal transit preferences.”
They note: “The Project applicant proposes creation of a parking reservoir to allow the allotted 3,490 nonresidential parking stalls to be distributed throughout the Project site as needed, rather than strict parking ratios being applied at the issuance of each building permit based upon use type.”
The plan then is to utilize transit and shuttles with a proposed transit center, along with car share and carpooling spaces and bike path connectivity.
The tenant companies will retain a Transportation Manager who will be charged with coordination of all modes of transportation to and from the site.
Phasing of the project is also important.
They note that Phase I of the proposed Project “is anticipated to consist of approximately 45 acres in the western portion of the site and will include 540,000 sf of nonresidential building space and up to 270 residential units comprised of single- and multi-family housing types.”
Construction of those residential units would trail the commercial development “so that jobs are created onsite prior to offering housing.”
Housing “will be permitted at the ARC site at a ratio of one unit for every 2,000 square feet of nonresidential development. The goal, if possible, is to time the availability of the homes to be concurrent with the creation of the jobs so that it maximizes the likelihood that employees at the Campus will occupy the units thereby maximizing the environmental benefits of including housing at ARC.”
The applicants note: “The housing is planned to include a variety of mixed-use, rental, and for-sale residential options catering to the needs and demands of innovation center employees.”
But, of course, “the housing at ARC will not be restricted to employees only but will, consistent with Fair Housing Act requirements, be available to the community at large.”
Phase 2 would then have 700,000 square feet of commercial, the hotel/conference center and up to 350 workforce housing units.
Phase 3 would also have 700,000 sf of commercial and R&D uses, as well as the final 230 housing units.
Phase 4 would have 714,000 sf feet of manufacturing/research and research/office/R&D uses.
“The on-site housing has been fully developed prior to this phase of the development,” they write. “At the completion of Phase 4, the site will include up to 2,654,000 sf of jobs-creating spaces and up to 850 units of mixed-use, rental, and for-sale housing options.”