It is a small step forward, but it marks the first formal step, as the application for Aggie Research Campus begins to be processed by the city. On consent for Tuesday night will be a resolution that authorizes the city manager to enter into a contract with EPS (Economic & Planning Systems, Inc.) to provide: an updated study of the market demand assumptions, the economic impact analysis, the fiscal impact analysis, and the financial feasibility analysis and public financing evaluation for the Aggie Research Campus.
The cost is estimated at $89,730 to be paid for by the applicant.
The city will ask EPS to perform four tasks. First they will prepare an updated market demand analysis.
The staff report indicates: “Tasks include evaluation of market supply and demand factors, competitive position, prevailing lease rates and development costs…”
They will review and refine the static pro forma for key land uses and arrive at land and asset value assumptions.
Second they will be asked to prepare an economic impact analysis. This will examine the impact of the project on Davis and Yolo County to determine “industry impacts generated from the ongoing, long-term, direct industry impacts and mix of employment types associated with the two buildout assumptions for the three scenarios.” They will also assess the multiplier effect and total employment, employee compensation and output, specifically looking at tax impact and standard-number of jobs.
Third, EPS will once again prepare a fiscal impact analysis. Here they will build on previous work to analyze and evaluate impacts of the ARC on the city’s generation fund.
They will look at key housing assumptions to determine the impact of housing on the model. They also determine whether the project is estimated to produce a net fiscal deficit or surplus.
Finally they will be asked to determine the financial feasibility analysis. This will test a variety of development and market assumptions to determine how possible changes in market conditions will impact the overall ability of the project to achieve stated and required returns.
This marks a first critical step in a process about to speed up with public hearings scheduled in October (Finance and Budget Commission), November (Open Space and Planning Commission), and the council getting the project in late November and early December.
This marks a new phase of the project that was re-released under a new name this past June.
As project manager Dan Ramos explained back in June, “We’ve used the past three years to further investigate and confirm the best approach for ensuring long-term project success, delivering an innovation campus that meets the economic development objectives identified by the City and that is a great fit for Davis.
“We are confident that the path now proposed will deliver an innovation and technology center that respects and reflects Davis values, is environmentally responsible, benefits the local economy, and is consistent with the vision that the City has been discussing and analyzing for nearly a decade.
“We see it as a campus, that kind of environment,” Dan Ramos continued. “Live, work, innovative area.
“It will be high-density housing,” he said. “A retail component below where we have the coffee shop, the brew pub, or whatever it might be where people might hang out, interface and do their thing.
“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.
He noted that this addresses what the users want – housing to house their workers. He sees it as a draw for both new companies moving to town, as well as existing companies looking to upscale and trying to figure out where their employees would live.
“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.”
EPS will now analyze the project on a number of fronts and the process moves forward to the approval process.
A key question will now be – when will it be on the ballot? That issue has become more complicated, given the overlapping considerations. It does not seem likely they would choose March, which would be just a few months off from the December approval date. They could put it on for November, where it would run concurrent with the council election, or they could have a special June election.
—David M. Greenwald reporting