Schilling Robotics Plans to Leave Davis, Open New Facility in Port of West Sacramento

Schilling Robotics as posted on Davis Wiki

By Danielle Silva

Schilling Robotics is planning a manufacturing project in the Port of West Sacramento, which would entail a move from its current location on Cousteau Place in Davis. The Davis-based company was founded in 1985. The company sits just off of Second Street with 120,000 square feet of space that could nearly double with the move – plus additional room to grow.

The city of West Sacramento has reserved the Port of West Sacramento, also known as the “Seaway property,” for industrial development since 1995. This port is located near Lake Washington and Southport Parkway, and 300 acres south of the Deep Water Ship Channel and Turning Basin. Several projects were suggested for the area but no development has occurred and the property remains vacant. Recently, TC. No. Cal. Development, Inc. has offered to buy a portion of the 72-acres of the northeast quadrant for “Project Titan.”

“Project Titan” is a manufacturing project that claims will bring 300 “high-paying” engineering jobs. Rick Toft, the Port COO, claims that the title is the name of the preliminary plans for the project and has no relation to the Apple, Inc.’s car pilot project that goes by the same name.

The namesake, however, appears to tie closely with the name of a Schilling Robotics’ product: the TITAN 4 Manipulator. Schilling Robotics is particularly known for the TITAN 4, which the product datasheet noted as “the world’s premier servo-hydraulic manipulator system.

“Since 1987, these systems have been the industry standard for dexterous manipulator systems used in subsea applications, and are extensively used on ultra-heavy work class ROVs,” the product datasheet states.

In his comment to the Vanguard concerning whether Schilling Robotics is the manufacturing company opening a location in the Port of West Sacramento, Toft stated he could not disclose the manufacturing company, as they were still in escrow and needed to perform its due diligence. He did not deny, however, that Schilling Robotics would be relocating to the Port of West Sacramento.

Tyler Schilling, the founder of Schilling Robotics, had himself previously shared in 2014 with the Davis City Council, “We’re going to need a sizable parcel to build a new facility and I would dearly love to be able to do it here in Davis.”

In 2014, he warned that they needed at least 400,000 square feet of space to do the kind of expansion they envisioned, and worried that Davis did not offer anything near that kind of space.

It has taken nearly five years, however, it now appears that location will not be in Davis – although the city of Davis has not been formally informed of the move as of yet.

“We have received no information or news from Schilling about plans to either expand or relocate outside of Davis,” Davis City Manager Mike Webb said when asked about this developing story.

He added: “Schilling is an important business to the community and we stand at the ready to assist them in any space needs they have.”

Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney, who is the city’s Economic Development Director added, “We value our long standing partnership with Schilling. Consistent with our message in a recent business outreach visit with the company in June, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss space needs and how we can help fulfill those needs in Davis.”

Councilmember Dan Carson was just appointed along with Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida to serve as the subcommittee that will work with the applicants on Aggie Research Campus.

Mr. Carson told the Vanguard on Monday, “As of this morning at least it was my understanding that the city had not been advised that they had decided to leave. I hope we have a chance to work with them on solving their space needs as our city regularly does with other local businesses with growing pains.”

Titan 4 – as posted on Davis Wiki

However, he added, “That said, this isn’t a surprise and demonstrates why the city must seriously consider proposals that come to us to provide the innovation space we need to secure our city’s economic future and fiscal stability.”

TC. No. Cal. Development, Inc., the company offering to purchase the approx. 21 acres from the Port, is a branch of Trammell Crow Company, a real estate company. TCC has business ties to TechnipFMC, the technology company that now owns Schilling Robotics.

In 2014, TCC and FMC Technologies (TechnipFMC’s name before merging with Technip) began the process for the FMC Technologies Campus at Generation Park. This campus became FMC Technologies’s new headquarters in 2016.

TechnipFMC specializes in “subsea, onshore, offshore, and surface technologies.” Schilling Robotics, founded by Tyler Schilling, also specializes in the manufacturing of Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles and other robotics. The manufacturing project’s current layout consists of the parcels of land located next to Lake Washington.

The manufacturing project itself will consist of two phases: Phase one utilizes 14 acres for a 237,600 square-foot advanced manufacturing building; Phase two uses 7 additional acres for a 108,000 square-foot expansion building. The total square footage is estimated to be 914,760 square feet. This is not including the 145,230 square foot off-site construction surrounding the selected parcels.

The establishment of a new Schilling Robotics facility in West Sacramento could encourage the industrial development the Port of West Sacramento has been looking into.

David M. Greenwald contributed to this report.


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69 Comments

  1. Rik Keller

    If they leave Davis and their space opens up and there is strong market demand, then other  tenants will be lining up to fill it almost immediately.

    On the other hand, that land  in West Sacramento has apparently been vacant and available for almost a quarter century since 1995.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Two problems with your ‘analysis’, Rik…

      First, if they either expanded or relocated within Davis, they’d still be generating revenue for City coffers.

      Second, not all tenants are equal as to the type of space, configuration of the space, that suits their operations… FMC/Schillings building was designed and built specifically to meet their needs… will be difficult to find a new tenant that could use the building effectively, as is, without major re-model or “do-over”, which will extremely likely mean major up-front costs… there is a reason why vacant Comm/Ind sites usually have signs, advertising, “Will Build to Suit”.

      Market demand is highly dependent on ‘existing improvements’, and costs to ‘modify to suit’.  Not all ‘spaces’ are created equal…

      Very basic economics.  So basic, even an engineer understands it.  People like Jim Gray are experts in that.  It’s how they make a living… land use planners and econ development folk know it pretty well, also.  Usually… if they’re competent.

      1. Craig Ross

        This is exactly right.  You’re losing a mature and existing business and hoping at some point someone will fill it.  You’re also losing the upside of the larger site.  Looks like a lose-lose to me

        1. Ron Oertel

          If FMC/Schilling had moved to MRIC (when they were given a green-light to pursue a commercial development), FMC/Schilling’s existing location would still be vacated.

        2. Ron Oertel

          By the way, does anyone know if UCD is still occupying some of the building that FMC/Schilling is located in?

          And if so, why?  (Given that UCD is exempt from paying taxes.)

  2. Ron Oertel

    For those who missed yesterday’s article, I’ve re-pasted my own comment, below:

    So yesterday, David brought up the issue of Schilling leaving, as a reason to support ARC.  While simultaneously noting that there’s nothing to prevent other companies from pursuing “fire sale prices” at locations outside of Davis – regardless of what’s built in Davis.
    David also consistently ignores the fact that when one business leaves, it provides an opportunity for another business to occupy the space (assuming that there’s actual commercial demand).
    David also noted that falling oil prices likely delayed Schilling’s departure.  So, I decided to look into what Schilling actually does.  Turns out “ . . . much of Schilling Robotics’ business comes from offshore oil drilling and exploration.”
    https://localwiki.org/davis/Schilling_Robotics
    Now, perhaps such a facility would have been “appropriate” at a freeway-oriented development with more than 4,300 parking spaces (such as ARC).  But, the nature of Schilling’s business (along with David’s preferred location for it) doesn’t seem to “jive” with David’s (or the city’s) concern regarding global warming.
    Then there’s the fact that ARC wouldn’t even provide sufficient housing for its own workers, while David (and others) repeatedly state their concerns regarding a “housing shortage”.
    This reminds me of the situation with WDAAC, in that David has a rather unique ability to “overlook” his stated concerns, when it comes to development proposals.
    Also note the “changing ownership” (described in the article above) of Schilling, over the years, and that the company has (twice) been sold to other interests (which appear to be corporate conglomerates).  Today, it is owned by FMC Technologies.
    Does anyone believe that corporate owners give a damn, regarding whether or not this company remains in Davis?  Wouldn’t lease prices within 10 miles of its current location be a MUCH bigger consideration, for these owners?
    As I was researching/typing this, I just came across the following article, as well.  This article notes that Schilling paid a $2.5 million penalty, in 2016 (regarding “overstated profits”).  Which does cause one to question the amount of “fiscal profit” that this company actually generates.  The article also reiterates that the focus of the company’s business, on oil and gas exploration:
    https://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2016/10/21/parent-of-davis-based-company-agrees-to-sec-fine.html
    In any case, it is certainly an odd situation in which development activists tout “fiscal profits” as a reason to support more development.  As if companies and new workers want to locate in a given city, for the purpose of paying-0ff an existing city’s bills.
    Below is a photo of Schilling’s current location, which shows UCD occupying part of the building.  If this is still the case, then UCD is occupying space that would otherwise generate tax revenue for the city:
    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x80852bd1024b9e67:0x48ab8563c061cf3a!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps://lh5.googleusercontent.com/p/AF1QipOEZpz_e8QlVjeiToK1iOf3_bRQtlExTGnQYkkg%3Dw213-h160-k-no!5sschilling+robotics+-+Google+Search&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipOEZpz_e8QlVjeiToK1iOf3_bRQtlExTGnQYkkg&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwie3K7sjpzlAhUUnZ4KHWonAEMQoiowCnoECAoQBg&cshid=1571068731914848

    ReplyReport comment ↓

    Ron Oertel October 14, 2019 at 9:33 am
    Also, from the 2016 article above, regarding the fine that Schilling’s parent company paid:

    “The oil field equipment manufacturer now reports 14,500 employees companywide, down from 15,500 at the end of the second quarter. It also cut 1,000 jobs in the second quarter and 900 in the first quarter.”
    “At Schilling Robotics, 59 jobs were cut, nearly a quarter of the company’s staff.”

    Not intended as a “knock” on Shilling, but David is the one who consistently brings up this company as a probable “loss” for Davis.  Also conveniently ingnoring the fact that MRIC was given a green light to proceed with a commercial development a couple years ago.  However, the MRIC developers declined to pursue this.

    1. David Greenwald

      My view is like Craig said yesterday, look at the public record. Five years ago, Tyler got up before council stating his goals – 400K sf of new space needed, wanted to stay in Davis – he probably stayed longer than he thought for a variety reasons. But that ran his course. My view is that cost determined where he went, not that he went.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Tyler Schilling does not own the company, according to the links I provided above.  And hasn’t, for some time.  Twice, it was sold to what appears to be corporate conglomerates.  Today, it’s owned by FMC.

        Not sure how one can make unilateral decisions regarding a company that one doesn’t own.

        But, I agree with you that lease cost was likely the determining factor. And would likely still be the determining factor – even if MRIC was built (when they were provided with the opportunity to pursue a commercial development at that site.)

         

        1. Rik Keller

          The assumed lease/land value rates in the earlier draft EPS fiscal analysis for MRIC/ARC were much higher than for comparable properties across the region. What this means:

          1) it highly inflated the projected positive fiscal impacts of the project on the City of Davis budget

          2) BUT: that space would  not be competitive with other available sites in the region

          3) SO, realistically, Davis would lose out on projects like this Schilling expansion anyway. (Even the new business park going that is going in a few miles up the road In Woodland  was apparently not competitive with the West Sac site that has been vacant for a quarter century.)

          4) UNLESS, lease/property values are assumed to be brought down to realistic market levels (and even then there is fierce competition. People commuting to Davis already have the longest commute times in the region according to SACOG, and there are a lot of other factors that come into play in form location decisions)

          5) IN WHICH CASE, now the projected fiscal impacts are substantially reduced to a point where this substantially removes the whole rationale that we have been told we need the project in the first place.

        2. Richard McCann

          Schilling sold the company after 2014 to FMC which was then taken over by TechNip. He was the primary decision maker in 2014 when he made the comment to the Council.

        3. Richard McCann

          “People commuting to Davis already have the longest commute times in the region according to SACOG,”

          Doesn’t that tell us that we have inadequate housing stock? Unfortunately our largest employer pays no taxes to the City.  That’s that part we need to change by leveraging what our largest employer does.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Richard: “Schilling sold the company after 2014 to FMC which was then taken over by TechNip. He was the primary decision maker in 2014 when he made the comment to the Council.”

          Thanks, Richard.  I figured that this was pretty much the case.

          He actually sold the company twice, as noted in the link I posted.  He had already bought it back, at the time he made those comments.

          Point being that stated plans aren’t always set in stone.  He might have sold the company even if MRIC had proceeded with its plans.

          In fact, MRIC was still planning to proceed with a commercial development, until fairly recently. (Or that was the claim, at least.) They had approval to proceed to a vote. Wondering why Schilling didn’t come up with some arrangement that would have encouraged the MRIC developers to proceed at that time.

        5. Ron Glick

          Rik that is only true if you are only looking at the numbers but in 2014 Schilling told the CC he didn’t want to leave Davis so the goodwill of FMC Technip, a $10 billion market cap company, is an important factor. Davis got a reprieve in 2014 when the oil markets collapsed on Thanksgiving of that year yet still couldn’t get this done five years later because of the extra hurdle created by Measure R. There is simply no other plausible explanation because we have Schilling on the record in 2014 laying it out for the CC.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Also wondering if FMC/Schilling “demanded” housing to be included within their development in West Sacramento, so that their workers have a place to live. And, that their commercial development wouldn’t be “viable” without the inclusion of housing.

          (Seems unlikely.)

          Anyhoo, maybe West Sacramento will now have a few less potholes, but a lot more traffic and SACOG-required housing. Congratulations to Davis’ industrial neighbor.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Did you consider the thought that that might be because WS doesn’t have a housing shortage like Davis does?

          Perfect!  Sounds like a great place to put FMC/Schilling.  And, if it’s not enough housing, they’ll soon be assigned another 9,000 units, via SACOG.  Maybe more than that, in future rounds (e.g., as a result of Schilling and other companies that they pursue).

          But truth be told, FMC/Schilling workers (as well as those who would work at ARC) would likely otherwise be commuting from places like West Sacramento, to Davis.  Especially as more housing is built in places like West Sacramento. (They don’t seem to need much “prodding” from SACOG to build more sprawling developments, regardless.)

          Given that this primarily inbound commute is ALREADY occurring, due to employment at UCD.

          So, probably better to put the jobs where they’re actually needed, don’t you think?

        8. Alan Miller

          Did you consider the thought that that might be because WS doesn’t have a housing shortage like Davis does?

          I heard somewhere . . . #dum-de-dum# . . . that the REGION has a housing shortage.

        9. Rik Keller

          Richard McCann stated

          “People commuting to Davis already have the longest commute times in the region according to SACOG,”

          Doesn’t that tell us that we have inadequate housing stock? Unfortunately our largest employer pays no taxes to the City.  That’s that part we need to change by leveraging what our largest employer does.

          No, that stat does not tell us that. It tells us that Davis is one of the most far-flung employment centers in the region and that I-80 is already highly impacted/congested  in the west-bound morning commute and the east-bound afternoon commute.

          Additional SACOG data does tell us that Davis has a jobs/housing ratio tilted towards jobs compared to the rest of the region. Add in the transportation issues described above, and that’s why SACOG plans call for Davis to reduce this ratio. Adding another large employment center in Davis in the form of ARC/MRIC would go against SACOG plans and sustainability goals.

          Do we “need to change by leveraging what our largest employer does”? Yes. In the past decade UC Davis enrollment rates have skyrocketed, while they have not provided for their fair share of student housing on campus. This has put pressure on housing within the city, and as a result, student demand has forced out family and workforce households.

          Meanwhile, developers have been pushing large housing projects that do nothing to address family/workforce housing: Nishi which is high-end student housing (with less than 10% “affordable” according to by-the-bed lease rates that end up being more expensive on a per-room basis than market-rate units), and WDAAC which is a high-end senior housing enclave (with about 10% being “affordable” studio apartment spaces).

          Meanwhile, the City’s Middle Income Ordinance has been shelved for years, and last year the City “temporarily “reduced  its inclusionary affordable housing requirement and never conducted the studies it promised by the end of 2018 to bring this number back up.

          If you think that the City has not adequately planned for affordable workforce/family housing, I totally agree with you. But this has been on the behest of and driven by the development community. And the ARC/MRIC project would merely exacerbate the jobs/housing imbalance and housing problems we already have.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            “ Meanwhile, the City’s Middle Income Ordinance has been shelved for years, and last year the City “temporarily “reduced its inclusionary affordable housing requirement and never conducted the studies it promised by the end of 2018 to bring this number back up.”

            In part because the city moved away from ownership Affordable housing and the middle income ordinance focused on ownership housing.

        10. Rik Keller

          In part because the city moved away from ownership Affordable housing and the middle income ordinance focused on ownership housing.

          Yes, the City moved away even trying to plan for workforce/family housing. That is a problem. The reason that the ordinance was shelved was the efforts of the developer coalition lead by the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the Chamber brags about killing the Ordinance on their website.

          And it should also be noted that your article a few weeks back discussing the MIO got some crucial facts wrong, including the fact that the inclusionary requirements for middle-income housing were on top of inclusionary requirements for low-income housing, and did not–as you stated–reduce those low-income requirements.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            In my view going to subsidized housing for 120 to 180 is too far as well. Talking to folks the general thought is if they were going to do subsidized housing, they’d rather do it for lower income people who really need the help rather than the 120 to 180 category.

            I don’t agree with your interpretation of the one line that you cited and I had checked with the city prior to the article and they said that the Middle Income was included in the 35% not in addition to it.

        11. Rik Keller

          There is no “interpretation” required. The MIO ordinance directly states: “The projects will not change the city’s existing housing programs and requirements for very low, low and moderate income households.”

          And you are ignoring the larger point and context of my post: a consistent push by local developers to weaken affordable housing requirements in general that the Council has acquiesced to. And the pushing of projects that don’t address these needs  at all (though workforce housing identified in City policy documents as our most urgent housing need). What is the City doing now to provide workforce and family housing?

          Here is that broader context again:

          In the past decade UC Davis enrollment rates have skyrocketed, while they have not provided for their fair share of student housing on campus. This has put pressure on housing within the city, and as a result, student demand has forced out family and workforce households.

          Meanwhile, developers have been pushing large housing projects that do nothing to address family/workforce housing: Nishi which is high-end student housing (with less than 10% “affordable” according to by-the-bed lease rates that end up being more expensive on a per-room basis than market-rate units), and WDAAC which is a high-end senior housing enclave (with about 10% being “affordable” studio apartment spaces).

          Meanwhile, the City’s Middle Income Ordinance has been shelved for years, and last year the City “temporarily “reduced  its inclusionary affordable housing requirement and never conducted the studies it promised by the end of 2018 to bring this number back up.

          If you think that the City has not adequately planned for affordable workforce/family housing, I totally agree with you. But this has been on the behest of and driven by the development community. And the ARC/MRIC project would merely exacerbate the jobs/housing imbalance and housing problems we already have.

        12. Mark West

           “SACOG data does tell us that Davis has a jobs/housing ratio tilted towards jobs…”

          So I guess that means that Rik Keller is in favor of building quite a bit more housing in Davis to compensate since he keeps pushing this point?

        13. Rik Keller

          Mark West: apparently you have not been reading any of my consistent policy positions as an affordable housing advocate? Yes, we need to institute policies for the provision of more affordable housing. We can start by reversing the trend of reducing affordable housing requirements. And we should stop approving projects that exacerbate the problem because they provide almost entirely upper-income housing not targeted to the group most in need: the workforce . Nishi and WDAAC and prime examples of these.

          As I have written previously, Measure R (the “Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands Ordinance”) states that its purpose is “…to establish a mechanism for direct citizen participation in land use decisions affecting city policies for compact urban form, agricultural land preservation and an adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs…”

          The phrase “internal housing need” as used in City of Davis policy framework, documents, and studies refers primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned.

          Keeping with Measure R directives, project proposals that seek voter approval to develop protected agricultural land should be evaluated based on whether the proposed conversion of agricultural land to other uses is necessary and whether it meets the directive of addressing the city’s internal housing need—the housing need for the city’s workforce, particularly underserved low- and moderate-income households.

          I discussed the suspension of Middle Income Ordinance elsewhere in this thread. One key thing to note is that the MIO is focused on housing for the local workforce “in particular. However, moderate-income households are also a key component of the workforce and they are not provided adequately for in City of Davis affordable hosing policy. While moderate-income households are the target for on-site owner occupied inclusionary housing requirements, rental housing inclusionary provisions are targeted to low-income and below, and so rental housing needs of moderate households are left out of these requirements.

          The City of Davis really needs to do a comprehensive evaluation of its affordable housing policy to address these issues (and others such as the loopholes by which Nishi and WDAAC are trying to get away with even lower affordable housing requirements than the 15% the City reduced things to “temporarily” last year).

  3. Ron Oertel

    This port is located near Lake Washington and Southport Parkway, and 300 acres south of the Deep Water Ship Channel and Turning Basin.

    One wonders if being adjacent to this port was also a factor.  Could be an ideal situation, for them.

    However, 9,000 more homes (per SACOG requirements) will be soon be forced upon West Sacramento, without even considering the impact of this development. Of course, that community seems to welcome sprawl, regardless. Much of it in a natural flood zone.

    One would think that housing prices would be extraordinarily high in a community that borders Sacramento, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

    1. Alan Miller

      One wonders if being adjacent to this port was also a factor.  Could be an ideal situation, for them.

      We need a port to keep Schilling and attract others.  Davis should start digging east to West Sac from the Putah sink.  We could call it “The Port of Putah”.

  4. Alan Miller

    Schilling Robotics Plans to Leave Davis, Open New Facility in Port of West Sacramento

    Dang, now I’ll never get that pothole filled.  Anyone know where to get some asphalt?

    1. Bill Marshall

      Actually, Alan, asphalt is worthless for potholes (but geat for preserving old animals… the La Brea tar pits are actually asphalt pits)… asphalt concrete (where good stone aggregates use an asphaltic binder [AC]) is good… like cement is good when incorporated with rock aggregates… called PCC… sorry, just being a technical nerd…

      1. Bill Marshall

        Again, no ‘shot-clock’… but didn’t need it… “You can no longer edit this comment.” came up within a couple of seconds…  

        Not like anyone cares… the way it “doesn’t” work, might as well eliminate it…

      2. Alan Miller

        Actually, Alan, asphalt is worthless for potholes . . .

        That explains a lot about the failed results of my 3:00 a.m. guerilla Davis pothole filling runs.  Sorry, DS, about the “black-goo volcano” on 5th near the Barn.

    1. Ron Oertel

      The references to Schilling’s business (regarding the oil and gas industry) are a direct quote.  As a side note, “capping” oil blowouts (otherwise known as “correcting avoidable environmental catastrophes”) are part of the oil and gas industry.

  5. Ron Glick

    Davis had five years to address Schilling FMC Tecnip’s needs and failed. There is only one reason Davis couldn’t get it done and that is Measure R. Had it not been for Measure R the city would have gotten this done in a timely manner.

  6. Ron Oertel

    Figured I’d “waste” one of my additional five on the following:

    Say what you want about West Sacramento, but it’s the one of the few places in the valley where you can periodically see “whales in the wild” (deepwater port). Seems pretty odd, but true.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Ha!  😉

        Damn – that’s another comment I’ve used up.

        I’d say “good riddance” again, but that seemed to draw a lot of comments last time. And, I’ve only got 3 more comments left to respond with.

        1. Ron Glick

          A truly shocking remark about a home grown company, started by a Davis native who has supported this community in many ways, including both financial and technical support, for our internationally recognized and award winning public schools robotics program.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Thanks for filling me in.  Seems like you took a turn away from the “levity” of your 2:44 p.m. response.

          Why would you assume that everyone knows all about the history of this individual, let alone the company?

          Then again, Tyler Schilling doesn’t own it anymore.  He’s sold it twice, now, as I learned while researching this yesterday.

          Sounds like he’s doing o.k. (probably better than everyone reading this), regardless of where his former company ends up. Regardless of its connection to the oil and gas industry, its layoffs, or the fines that its parent company faced (see earlier comments, above).

          Sorry that I don’t personally support sprawl, regardless of “who” is involved, where they’re from, or whether or not some view a resulting benefit for local schools. In fact, I understand that there’s a large developer in the Sacramento area, who also has supported communities in various ways. My reaction is, “so what”, if his actions are doing more harm than good?

        3. Ron Oertel

          And again – MRIC had an opportunity to pursue a commercial development (which presumably could have housed Schilling), but declined to do so.  I wasn’t planning on being involved in any opposition at that time.

          1. David Greenwald

            Ron: What you are stating is misleading when you said, they “had an opportunity to pursue a commercial development.” They are pursuing a commercial development. There is 2.6 million square feet of commercial space in this project. You’re opposition is apparently to the 850 units of ancillary housing – which is fine – but that doesn’t negate the fact that this is a commercial development.

        4. Ron Oertel

          David:  There’s nothing “misleading” in my statement. The developers had an opportunity to pursue a commercial development, but declined to do so. Had they done so at the time, I suspect that they would have had a much better chance at approval.

          It also appears that the “timing” of that approval should have enabled them to provide space for FMC/Schilling, had they pursued it. I suspect that they simply can’t compete on price.

          I no longer believe that there’s sufficient commercial demand for such a site.  I don’t think that Davis can compete with places like West Sacramento (or Woodland), regarding commercial lease price. I believe that the motivation for the development is the profit that can be realized, from housing.

          We’ve seen 2-3 other “innovation center” proposals fail, with the sites converted to housing.  We’re seeing commercial/industrial sites throughout the city being converted to housing, as well.  All of this indicates a lack of demand for commercial development – especially when developers can pursue it much more cheaply, within 10 miles of Davis.

          The proposal no longer matches the original, intended purpose.  Including residential development increases the city’s costs, and compromises the site regarding the commercial component.

          I have also since realized that (regardless of whether or not housing is included), this development will simply increase pressure to develop other peripheral sites, such as Shriner’s, and Covell Village.

          Then, there’s the traffic it would generate on its own (with thousands of parking spaces), coupled with the fact that Davis already has a new inflow of commuters.  There’s also no reason that the housing wouldn’t be occupied by outbound commuters – including students to UCD.

          I’ve also since learned that pretty much every city and county (as well as the state itself) has long-term deficits, and that Davis is not unique in this regard.  And yet, other communities have also not “solved” this problem, as a result of pursuing these types of developments.

          Then, there’s the information that Rik has put forth, regarding the lack of positive fiscal impact that these developments have had for other cities.

          At this point, I’d strongly suggest that the developer simply withdraw his proposal, and pursue other options (such as offering it as agricultural mitigation land, for the other two peripheral housing proposals that were recently approved by voters).  This should enable the owner of the site to obtain some additional money for it, in addition to the income generated by farming the site.  (Prime farmland, by the way.)

          I believe this is my “5th comment” in this article, since Don applied a limitation.  So, I probably won’t be able to respond further.

          1. David Greenwald

            The reason Davis can’t compete with West Sacramento – it has nothing to compete with. Schilling is moving onto a 21 acre parcel – Davis has nothing that large. Heck Davis has nothing for the size of Mori Seiki. West Sacramento had plenty of land for Mori Seiki, but Mori Seiki wanted to move to Davis. So too did ADM, Mars, Nugget, etc. Nugget was even willing to wait and build the location. You’re simply wrong here.

        5. Rik Keller

          It’s amazing that the Vanguard is stating that Ron O. is being “misleading” when he actually provided an in-depth history of both Schilling and the context for the MRIC project putting their own project on hold, while this Vanguard article buries the fact Schilling is actually owned by someone else now way down in paragraph #18.

      2. Bill Marshall

        David… remember Mori Seki had some very unique reasons to come to Davis… not likely to be repeated any time soon… had to do with a subsidiary company that moved from West Sac to Davis for particular reasons… talk  to John Buckel… he’s good people and knows ‘his stuff’… like Jim Gray…

        1. David Greenwald

          I agree with your point Bill, but I would point out Mars had a specific reason to come to Davis, Nugget had a specific reason to come to Davis, ADM had a specific reason to come to Davis. When we had Danielle Casey out here in August, she said that she beleived that some companies would pay more to have the Davis address – if they had the space. If we had the space for Schilling five years ago, they wouldn’t be moving now. And the other thing she said is right now, most of these companies are not looking at Davis, because we have no place for it. Remember, Davis is more expensive than West Sac, but it is much less expensive than the Silicon Valley and that plays a huge role in this.

  7. Jim Frame

    Davis had five years to address Schilling FMC Tecnip’s needs and failed. There is only one reason Davis couldn’t get it done and that is Measure R. Had it not been for Measure R the city would have gotten this done in a timely manner.

    Maybe, maybe not.  Were it not for Measure R, developers would be lining up to build peripheral housing, because it pays a whole hell of a lot better than commercial.  (“Schilling wants a new place?  Eh, they can find that in West Sac.  We want to build executive homes, because there are plenty of Bay Area types just itching to splurge on their retirement dream home here.”)  And they’d be wining and dining CC members and candidates to ensure that their housing projects get approved.  That’s why we enacted Measure J in the first place.

     

  8. Bill Marshall

    That’s why we enacted Measure J in the first place.

    Not.  Untrue.

    Measure J was enacted for the same reason that pre-J growth restrictions, dolloped out in 6-12 unit subdivisions in the late ’70’s, early ’80’s… maximizing property values for those already here… “I’ve got mine” mentality… some may have voted for J for the reasons you state… most wanted stasis.  And the economic advantages that entailed…

    1. Bill Marshall

      Oh, and the ‘Elly folk’…  where a criminal act by a tractor-trailer ass (who worked for the then existing cannery) was portrayed as a reason for no growth…

    2. Don Shor

      Seems to me there were many and varied motives for enacting Measure J. In the 1980’s Davis was the fastest growing city in Yolo County. The voters chose to put on the brakes.

  9. Ron Glick

    “Were it not for Measure R, developers would be lining up to build peripheral housing, because it pays a whole hell of a lot better than commercial. ”

    Without  a renewal of R we would have the same checks as every other place but we would need to hold the City Council accountable or do the hard work of referendum should the council pass something unacceptable to the voters. Of course there is a debate as to whether Measure J/R has stopped peripheral development or simply moved it to Woodland, resulting in longer commutes for UCD workers and other professionals, and onto class I research soils on campus.

    Jim, seems you are okay with Schilling leaving town if its another unintended consequence of Measure R. You can correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. Mark West

      “Of course there is a debate as to whether Measure J/R has stopped peripheral development or simply moved it to Woodland, resulting in longer commutes for UCD workers and other professionals, and onto class I research soils on campus.”

      These are facts, not a debate. The developer stated directly that Spring Lake exists because of J/R, and West Village sits on some of the highest quality farmland in the County. Both sprawl and the destruction of farmland continued apace, just not inside the City limits of Davis.

      The only things that Measure J/R has accomplished are to make Davis a more exclusive place to live and put excessive profits in the pockets of property owners at the expense of renters.

      1. Alan Miller

        The only things that Measure J/R has accomplished are to make Davis a more exclusive place to live and put excessive profits in the pockets of property owners at the expense of renters.

        Agree.

  10. Ron Glick

    “The developers had an opportunity to pursue a commercial development, but declined to do so. Had they done so at the time, I suspect that they would have had a much better chance at approval.”

    Easy for you to speculate but you act as if passing a Measure R vote is not a factor in the decision making process of those contemplating bringing forward a proposal. You ignore the Scrodinger’s Cat problem that Measure R creates.

  11. Jim Frame

    Jim, seems you are okay with Schilling leaving town if its another unintended consequence of Measure R. You can correct me if I’m wrong.

    Am I okay with Schilling leaving town?  Sure, it’s a free country.  Am I happy about it?  Not particularly — I would have been much happier to have Schilling move into an all-commercial MRIC development, but the developer wasn’t interested in building that project.

    As I’ve noted a number of times in this venue, when I asked Dan Ramos, at a public venue put on by the MRIC team, why they didn’t propose an all-commercial project, he looked at one of his consultants who stammered a bit and then said something along the lines of, “We don’t believe there’s enough demand for that much commercial space here.”  That told me a lot about the feasibility of large commercial development in Davis.

    Measure R unquestionably drives up development costs.  The question each of us has to answer for ourselves is “Are those cost increases worse than the kind of nearly unfettered development we had to contend with prior to Measure J?”  For me the answer is clearly “No.”

    As to Bill’s statement about the reason Measure J got enacted, I remember it much differently:  Measure J was a direct result of the Mace Ranch Park experience, a project that got built because the developer promised to build it in the county if the city didn’t knuckle under.  (I  still wonder how feasibile that project would have been had the city stuck to its guns and said, “Go ahead and see how much those homes will cost after you factor in the cost of building and operating your own wastewater treatment plant and domestic water system, because we’re not going to let you connect to ours.”)

    1. Rik Keller

      The notion that there is not enough “demand for that much commercial space here” is self-evident in the nature of the proposal. The hotel and residential components are the profit centers for the developer and are subsidizing the industrial and office/flex sites. The project would not be feasible otherwise.

      And if anybody wants to read the sordid story behind Mace Ranch Park, it is documented well here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/about-davis/history-symbols/davis-history-books/growing-pains-chapter-6

      And yes, it it happened as Jim F. describes.

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