Monday Morning Thoughts: While Davis Fights to Put Housing on Campus, UC Davis Invests in Sacramento Campus

(ZGF)

By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – In a release that came out last week, the UC Davis Chancellor had a not-so-subtle message.  The release announced the breaking of ground on a rehab hospital.  Naturally the first free-standing physical rehabilitation hospital in the region would be in Sacramento near the medical center.

But the statement from Chancellor Gary May went much further than this.

“UC Davis continues to bring new investments and nationally known business partners to the Sacramento area,” said May.

He continued, “Projects like this show who we are and what we do for the community. Since its creation, the University of California has been a major economic engine for the state, and here in Sacramento, UC Davis is doing the same.

“We’re investing heavily in our Sacramento Campus, and this is just one of four major projects underway here – each one focused on improving the quality of life for people in the Sacramento area.  These are all part of our commitment to be an Anchor Institution for our surrounding communities and a regional health care resource for all of Northern California.”

I can understand the original decision for UC Davis to put the medical center in Sacramento rather than Davis.  I can understand also the desire to expand their market into Sacramento—especially focusing Aggie Square on medical technology.

But I think the message here is fairly clear and delivered very clearly.

Part of it has to do with where they have decided to put their innovation eggs.  One plan was to put it in the Solano portion of the Davis campus.

Then they seemingly scrapped that idea when Davis appeared poised to develop innovation centers in the north and eastern portions of town.

Around the time those were foundering, however, they announced plans to build Aggie Square in Sacramento in full partnership with the City of Sacramento—a commitment UC Davis never got from the City of Davis.

The message might have been viewed more loudly when UC Davis failed to back fully the DISC project and even more loudly when they released a very vanilla statement of cursory support for the project.

On the other hand this is a two way street.  Davis has made partnerships of this sort very difficult.  Any major project on the periphery would have to go through a Measure J vote—and as we saw with DISC last November, that could mean defeat and the setback of millions of dollars in planning and years in time.

The message that they are investing heavily in their Sacramento campus and have one of four major projects underway suggests UC Davis has moved on.

They note that “each one (is) focused on improving the quality of life for people in the Sacramento area.”

These investments will bring jobs, technology, private sector spinoffs and more.  And those will feed into the growing ecosystem of Sacramento.

Perhaps more telling—the residents of Davis, especially in the last election, notably moving toward the gray end of the spectrum, were much more concerned with traffic impacts than creating jobs or even a sustainable future for the city.

The big battle by residents over the last five years is also telling—they are demanding UC Davis build housing on its land.  Pave over research fields.  

Did any of them protest when UC Davis talking about putting the billion dollar innovative World Food Center campus in Sacramento rather than Davis?  No.

Did any of them protest when UC Davis made plans to build the Aggie Square in Sacramento rather than Davis? No.

Did any of them demand more of these projects on the Davis campus where it could produce more local jobs and private sector spinoffs?  No.

What have people demanded?  Housing on campus.  That’s what they care about.

The university signed the MOU with the City of Davis and Yolo County that focused on what—housing, not jobs.  Isn’t that telling?  Neither the city nor the county were that concerned with keeping jobs and investment in Davis rather than across the river.

So UC Davis brings investments and nationally known business partners in Sacramento, and Davis is fighting the same old battle over where to put student housing.

UC Davis has moved on.  The message is clear.  They will likely invest in housing on their Davis campus, and innovation on their Sacramento campus.

Sadly a good many people in Davis want it that way.  It no longer matters to UC Davis.  The picture is now clear.  It should be pretty obvious to all now.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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40 Comments

  1. Vanguard Editorial Board

    We are going to try an experiment on this article’s comments, which ended up on a tangential issue that was not part of the article.  So all the comments that went down the tangential rabbit hole have been temporarily hidden so that the more recent comments that actually dealt with the articles content  can prompt an ongoing discussion.

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  2. Ron Glick

    A decade ago Katehi told Davis this is what was going to happen if Davis didn’t get on board. It should therefore be no surprise that UC is taking their economic development to Sac. The sad part is that the big losers in Yolo County aren’t the nimby’s of Davis. Instead its all the families with children that remain in poverty in this county.

  3. Keith Y Echols

    I think you’re confusing the housing issues between UC Davis and the city of Davis and the commercial development issues. I know it makes a nice narrative to combine the two issues but I don’t see anything linking the two.

  4. Don Shor

    Any economic development commission or restored BEDC will need to proceed on the assumption that UC Davis will not be an active partner in any planning process going forward. We got an MOU about housing, they’re sticking to it, and they aren’t interested in trying to navigate the roiling political waters of Davis growth issues.

    One of the reasons I’ve been very skeptical about the recurring calls for an economic development plan (and General Plan update, etc.) is that there is so little to work with at this point that it is likely to be an exercise in futility. The small number of areas where commercial development could occur hardly need an over-arching plan or community vision. They’ll happen if they provide adequate ROI; if not, they won’t happen.

    If Davis residents want to continue their current levels of service and amenities (parks, greenbelts), they’ll need to increase taxes. That’s about it.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      If Davis residents want to continue their current levels of service and amenities (parks, greenbelts), they’ll need to increase taxes. That’s about it.

      Or economically expand.  But then that would require approving commercial projects on the town outskirts.   However, the people of Davis have made their decision about expansion.  They’re choking their own city with dogmatic antigrowth beliefs.  Good Job Direct Democracy!

       

    2. Ron Oertel

      [edited] No one can force Davis residents to tax themselves more.  I’m not sure that folks care all that much if bike paths have some cracks in them.

      For that matter, what’s more likely to happen is that a development such as DISC will immediately lead to cries for more money-losing housing.

      I’d suggest looking at the underlying reason that pretty much all cities throughout California examine the reasons that they’re in deficits, and then stop doing that.

    3. Ron Oertel

      No one can force Davis residents to tax themselves more.

      I’m not sure that folks care all that much about cracks in bike paths, for example.

      But if a development such as DISC was approved, the most likely outcome would be an immediate clamoring for yet another money-losing, traffic-generating peripheral housing development.

      I’d suggest examining the reasons that most cities throughout California experience ongoing, seemingly-permanent deficits, and then address those reasons.

      Either way, California is going to have to abandon the Ponzi scheme, since it’s no longer growing.

       

    4. Matt Williams

      Any economic development commission or restored BEDC will need to proceed on the assumption that UC Davis will not be an active partner in any planning process going forward.

      I unfortunately agree with Don’s statement above.  However, UCD has never been an active partner in the City’s planning process, nor of the City’s economic development plan.

      One of the reasons I’ve been very skeptical about the recurring calls for an economic development plan (and General Plan update, etc.) is that there is so little to work with at this point that it is likely to be an exercise in futility.

      An economic development plan is not just about the supply of square footage space.  It is also about having a plan for attracting the kinds of companies that will fill that space (wherever it may be).  Neither Davis nor UCD have taken any time to understand the Demand portion of an economic development plan.  I personally believe there is a whole lot that can be done to use our existing supply of square footage much more efficiently and effectively … ideally in a win-win collaboration with UCD and Yolo County.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I personally believe there is a whole lot that can be done to use our existing supply of square footage much more efficiently and effectively … ideally in a win-win collaboration with UCD and Yolo County.

        Now that’s something anyone can support. Though I suspect that the problem really has more to do with unsustainable pensions/medical benefits, etc. For all cities.

        Are there very many examples of cities that don’t fritter-away money?

        And, why is it that even with increasing property taxes (more than 2%/year), parcel taxes, etc. – it still isn’t enough? A rhetorical question.

        The problem is that there is no permanent control mechanism, regarding spending (to match the revenue received).

      2. Don Shor

        …attracting the kinds of companies that will fill that space (wherever it may be).

        Been there, done that, at least in terms of identifying the sorts of companies with potential to locate or expand in Davis. A quick review of those companies suggests they aren’t likely looking for small odd sites of office space, which is what’s vacant locally. I’m sure a commercial real estate broker could give us a better overview of the present state of the market. But for analysis of prospective tenants and more, here is the last version from 2016 or so:
        http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/Innovation-Park-Task-Force-Committee/Documents/achieving-the-vision-2014-2016-workplan-presentation.pdf

        ideally in a win-win collaboration with UCD and Yolo County.

        Obviously there isn’t going to be any collaboration with UCD. Maybe with Yolo County, though I don’t quite see how that would come about.

        1. Matt Williams

          Thank you for providing that link Don.  The presentation lays out a road map … a skeleton in metaphorical terms.  What ever happened to the journey.  It never happened.

          In addition, the person who put all that information in the presentation was sacked by the City, and no one stepped up to do the hard work of purring flesh on the bones of the skeleton.

        2. Richard_McCann

          The City hasn’t seriously tried to collaborate with UCD in the past, ever. We haven’t ever ambitious enough to approach UCD with a real, tangible request. But to do that means that we first need to develop a vision of where we want the City to go. Other cities have done this elsewhere and revived their economies. Right now, we’re headed for a moribund local economy with tax revenues eventually declining. It’s not just bike paths that will suffer.

      3. Mark West

        Matt W. “It is also about having a plan for attracting the kinds of companies that will fill that space”

        Hello – I represent the City of Davis economic development department and I am here to convince you to locate your business in Davis.

        Great, Davis would be a wonderful location for our next expansion. What are our options for available sites?

        Well, we don’t actually have any sites available that fit your needs, but one of our local advocates believes that we need to generate a list of companies who are committed to utilizing new development land before we actually entitle any of it. Don’t worry, though, it will only take 10 years to get the land entitled and then I’m sure your project will be approved.

        Thank you for your call. Please don’t bother me again…

         

        1. Matt Williams

          Mark’s point is solid.  However, as the graphic below shows, Davis has an abundance of commercial space that is vacant and if the landlords invested in repurposing that space to meet the needs of the target companies, then the scenario that Mark describes would go  much differently.
          https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Commercial-Properties-for-Lease-or-Sale-1-33a.jpg 

          Here is one of the graphics from the presentation Don provided a link to.  Take a look at those companies.  What do you think the average square footage of their local presence is?  Not every target company is looking for “big time” space. As I said before, Davis seems to be fixated on hitting home runs, and is ignoring the value of stringing together a bunch of singles and doubles.

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Screen-Shot-2021-07-05-at-4.25.43-PM.png 

          1. Don Shor

            However, as the graphic below shows, Davis has an abundance of commercial space that is vacant and if the landlords invested in repurposing that space to meet the needs of the target companies, then the scenario that Mark describes would go much differently.
            Here is one of the graphics from the presentation Don provided a link to. Take a look at those companies. What do you think the average square footage of their local presence is? Not every target company is looking for “big time” space. As I said before, Davis seems to be fixated on hitting home runs, and is ignoring the value of stringing together a bunch of singles and doubles.

            Correction: Davis had an abundance of commercial space in October 2020. Office demand is slowly rebounding and is expected to continue to do so as the economy expands:

            The model that informs this forecast draws from historical data on the economy and office real estate absorption to project future demand. Since global pandemics are very rare, current economic conditions are not easily comparable with most periods for which data are available. Office net absorption unexpectedly took another dip during 2020 Q4 and 2021 Q1. This decline in net absorption during an early stage of economic recovery is different than what followed the last two recessions and is likely due to tenant safety concerns. Drawing from this recent experience, the current forecast projects a later recovery in net office absorption than the previous forecast. Nonetheless, recent trends in office absorption suggest that office-sector performance will continue to reflect economic conditions, as in past economic cycles.
            This forecast assumes a continued rebound in real GDP for the remainder of 2021, 2022 and 2023. Real GDP is expected to expand by 7.7% in the next two years, with average unemployment of approximately 4.5%. The forecast also assumes that Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) inflation will average 2% in the next two years.
            It generally takes several quarters for office net absorption rates to recover from the effects of an economic recession. Given the continued improvements and challenges facing the U.S. economy, the authors have projected three possible scenarios for office net absorption (Figure 1). Across all three scenarios, the office market would return to normal net absorption by the second half of 2022.
            The baseline forecast assumes that the recent recession has a limited impact on office net absorption, but it assumes net absorption will be 15% lower than it otherwise would be due to the increasing adoption of remote work arrangements. Growth in net absorption is forecast to resume in Q4 2021. According to the forecast, the quarterly average net absorption will be -16.79 million square feet and 10.04 million square feet, respectively, for the two periods from Q2 2021 to Q3 2021 and Q4 2021 to Q1 2023.
            A more optimistic scenario also assumes that the last recession has a limited impact on future office net absorption but does not assume a decrease in absorption due to increased telecommuting. According to this scenario, net absorption would be -18 million square feet in Q2 2021 and -11 million square feet in Q3 2021. Over the period from Q4 2021 to Q1 2023, net absorption would total 71 million square feet with a quarterly average of 11.82 million square feet.
            The more pessimistic scenario assumes that the recent recession and the coronavirus pandemic have temporarily impacted how net absorption responds to economic fundamentals, resulting in substantially lower net absorption in the near future. According to this scenario, net absorption would experience substantial fluctuations in the next eight quarters. The quarterly average net absorption would be -54.48 million square feet and 1.33 million square feet, respectively, for the two periods from Q2 2021 to Q3 2021 and Q4 2021 to Q1 2023.

            Ref: https://www.naiop.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Reports/Office-Space-Demand-Forecast-2Q21

            In addition to the changes in the market in the last eight months as the economy reopens, the mismatch between those sites photographed and the likely demand from the companies listed is not addressed here. I don’t know how the city can facilitate substantial remodeling of commercial office space to make it suitable for ag science companies, nor is that really the city’s job. If that were likely to provide adequate ROI for remodeling, those property owners would be doing it already.
            Having staff that can direct prospective tenants to local commercial sites and brokers by maintaining an ongoing inventory has been a goal of city economic development planning for several years and I suspect is actually ongoing. But having a hodge-podge of office sites in old buildings scattered around town does not constitute even the beginning of an economic development strategy.

          2. David Greenwald

            One thing I really don’t understand is if you acknowledge Mark’s point is solid – what the harm is from your perspective, of creating the added space?

        2. Bill Marshall

          Matt… Am sure you’ve seen the signs along the freeway, “Will Build to Suit”… easy when you’re talking about raw land… how many times have you seen the sign, “Will Completely Remodel to Suit”?

          Converting an existing building to ‘wet-lab’, or where there are other ‘special needs’ is rarely cheap, and time consuming… no reasonable owner would do so unless they had a rock-solid committed tenant, who had lots of time… and had sufficient $$$ to bring to the table so that the owner could recoup their remodel costs in a reasonable period of time.

        3. Matt Williams

          Bill, I understand the dilemma.  The question is whether Davis is simply going to give up before even trying.

          Is the City’s economic development team working with each of the landlords of the vacant properties to understand the possibilities for each of the vacant sites?

          We will not acomplish anything unless we make a legitimate effort.

        4. Matt Williams

          One thing I really don’t understand is if you acknowledge Mark’s point is solid – what the harm is from your perspective, of creating the added space?

          .
          The harm is that there is no plan for, much less any assurance that any of the space will be constructed, or even more importantly filled.

          What there is is a guarantee that the per acre value of the 200+ acres will increase from between $4,000 and $10,000 an acre to well over $100,000 per acre.  That is an $18 million windfall just for getting the entitlements. Shouldn’t the City get some assurances that something “real” will come of it?

        5. Matt Williams

          Hold those windfall dollars in a escrow account that is tied to perfomance milestone metrics … with jobs added to the community and avoiding cannibalization of existing jobs from landlords elsewhere in the community being two of the most important of those metrics.

          Also the City needs to do its homework about the true cost of adding jobs and population.  The Finance and Budget Commission recently undertook a study of the City of Davis’ costs per person, and found that rather than the economies of scale that were expected, in Davis the costs per person actually go up as population is added.

          We need to consider including an amortization of the future cost of replacement of the added infrastructure in the up-front and recurring annual costs charged to the development.  We need to avoid Growth Without Prosperity, as well as stop The Growth Ponzi Scheme

          Those are some of the reasons.

        6. Keith Y Echols

          As I said before, Davis seems to be fixated on hitting home runs, and is ignoring the value of stringing together a bunch of singles and doubles.

          Don, are you familiar with the term “anchor tenants”?  The need for new retail development projects to secure big box retailer tenants before moving forward with a project?

          It’s kind of the same thing with commercial real estate tenants in a city.  For the most part the small and medium sized commercial real estate spaces are used by companies/people that serve the larger commercial real estate space tenants.  Yes, there are solo businesses that will occupy the small and medium sized commercial spaces.  These are rarer fish that are usually located in a particular place because: A. The founder is from there.  B. It’s close the customers they serve.  C.  It’s close to the funding/capital they seek.

          But for the most part small commercial real estate space is occupied by lawyers, accountants, tech services…etc… that service the companies and the people that work for those bigger commercial tenants.  In tech you will have chip design companies that service the larger chip companies, you have outsourced Quality Assurance companies, outsourced groups of specialized programmer companies for hire by larger software companies…etc….   Bottom line for the most part the small fish service the big fish.  So without the “homerun” larger commercial tenants it’s hard to get those singles and doubles you speak of.

        7. Tim Keller

          Mark West’s commentary is spot on with regards to one disconnect between what people THINK is available and what really is.   But there are others. and you could take a tour through  pointing out that all of the “avaliable” signs the Matt posted aren’t really available at all, at least to the “innovation economy” players that we are discussing.

          Firstly,  While all of those signs are “commercial real estate” About a quarter of them are retail space, and should automatically be should be thrown out.  Retail spots are too expensive per square foot compared to R&D space  and the city doesn’t want to convert retail zoned spaces to non-retail use because it undermines the city’s tax base.

          There are other signs in that grouping that you might “think”would be available for innovation type companies, but the landlords are specifically against it.   They would rather have a law firm, or a plumbing contractor or something like that move in.   Some of those spaces announce it as such  with terms like “professional” or “medical”

          R&D type tenants ask to put holes in the roof for their chemical hoods, or ask to upgrade the power for the building in order to drive a -80 lab freezer AND accomodate a backup generator.  Most landlords just don’t want to deal with tenants who have those higher kinds of resource needs.

          Of the remaining “available signs” that we haven’t thrown out, I count exactly 5 that might be opportunities for a R&D company to occupy.   But there is still ANOTHER problem:  The landlords who own the R&D type real estate in this town ALSO do NOT work with startup companies because they are too unstable and do not ( by definition ) have credit.   So that means that those properties are really only for the big companies like Mars or BASF etc who have come to Davis to hire Davis talent.   That is a GOOD thing for us for sure… but it really isnt the innovation “bringing new ideas to market” kind of crowd.

          Finally there are the two spots of vacant land… Any company who has a current need for space isnt looking at vacant land.   that kind of opportunity is good, and we need more of it, but it is for the big homegrown companies like FMC ( schilling ) or resonetics, or expression systems, or Gold standard diagnostics… all of those guys who are already committed to this town and are willing to put in the time to develop their own space.

          So… Lets come back to why we are talking about this…. its because small businesses are the actual drivers of economic growth in this nation, and because Davis produces them in volume.   

          If we want to nourish and benefit from the creative economic engine that is below our feet in this town, we need to make space that is cut out for those kinds of needs.. and its not just the space; its how the space is resourced, its the business model employed by the landlord, its how the space is zoned, and how that space fits into a community around it.   That is the point of innovation campuses, they are greater than the sum of their parts… but they need to be created deliberatley and proactivley, because left to their own devices, most commercial landlords will often elect to play a different kind of game.

        8. Ron Oertel

          Retail spots are too expensive per square foot compared to R&D space  and the city doesn’t want to convert retail zoned spaces to non-retail use because it undermines the city’s tax base.

          That sounds like an advertisement to NOT increase R&D space, inside the town (or outside of it).

          The landlords who own the R&D type real estate in this town ALSO do NOT work with startup companies because they are too unstable and do not ( by definition ) have credit.

          Ditto, in regard to my comment above.  Sounds like a company that isn’t exactly a fiscal savior.

          So that means that those properties are really only for the big companies like Mars or BASF etc who have come to Davis to hire Davis talent.   That is a GOOD thing for us for sure… but it really isnt the innovation “bringing new ideas to market” kind of crowd.

          It is a good thing, regarding the available space.

          Also, we all do realize that innovation is limited to innovation centers.  Just ask the founders of Hewlett Packard, Apple, Facebook (and a lot of other technology companies) that started in someone’s garage.

          In contrast, every day that you come in to work at an innovation center, the boss starts yelling at you to “innovate, damn it”.

          Any company who has a current need for space isnt looking at vacant land.

          Sounds like the DISC site isn’t for you, then.

          So… Lets come back to why we are talking about this…

          Glad you asked.  The developer wants to build a housing development, and realizes that the only way to realistically get that done is to include a commercial component.  (Especially since ALL of the other “innovation center” sites were converted entirely to housing.) Also, they’ve already invested quite a bit during their first failed campaign, and don’t want to remain farmers.

          So, they’re hoping that the Vanguard and its supporters find a way to “soften up” another attempt, but one which still has no commercial tenants – other than possibly you. (Except for the fact that you’re not looking for “vacant land”, according to your comment above.)

        9. Richard_McCann

          Also, we all do realize that innovation is limited to innovation centers. 

          And that is what UCD, and by geographic association, the City of Davis is. UCD is the leading ag research university in the nation and collects almost as much research dollars per researcher as UC Berkeley.  https://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2020/chapters/chapter-9.html

          But to be realistic, that statement is false. Innovation has happened many places outside of “innovation centers.” Silicon Valley did not start as an innovation center in the 1950s. Seattle was not an innovation center in 1917 when Boeing was founded. As recently as the 1980s, San Francisco was not an innovation center. Where innovation happens moves around and it has to start somewhere. It’s looking for opportunities where this can happen that matters.

        10. Ron Oertel

          But to be realistic, that statement is false.

          I know – it was intended as a sarcastic comment.

          In the same light that “education” is limited schools/colleges.  Or, that some blue-collar trades (and blue-collar business owners) are “beneath” college graduates loaded with student debt, working at Starbucks after graduation.  Which is probably more likely, if they majored in “social justice”, with a minor in “white fragility”.  (Again, sarcasm.)

  5. Ron Oertel

    Truth be told, there wasn’t even demand for the conversion of agricultural space for commercial use, in the form of MRIC/ARC/DISC.  There is demand for housing, which is the reason we saw housing “tacked onto” DISC.

    It’s also the reason that the Cannery site owners refused to consider a commercial development, Nishi dropped its commercial component, and the Davis Innovation Center “moved” to Woodland, and added 1,600 housing units in the process.  (And which still has no announced commercial tenants.)

    So apparently, there aren’t that many large companies salivating for an opportunity to move to the area. You’d think that the DISC people would have found someone, anyone, by now. Other than Tim Keller’s tiny low-profit operation, in which he wants already-completed lab space. “Sure”, there’s a shortage of that – ANYWHERE. There just aren’t a lot of expensive, unused labs “sitting around”, waiting for mad scientists to occupy it at a bargain rate.

    So, it’s been however many decades, and there’s still no demonstrated demand. Let alone post-pandemic, telecommuting-world demand.

    But hey, housing? Sure, have we got a spot for you! On prime peripheral ag land, or whatever you say.

    Davis is going to have to find some purpose for its existing vacant/under-utilized commercial spaces, even if it somehow approves a massive peripheral housing/commercial development.

    There sure has been a lot of “noise” on here, in regard to another DISC effort.  Gee, I wonder why that is.

  6. Tim Keller

    This isnt exactly news, but it is a re-teration of what we understood when Aggie Square was announced:  That this chancellor isn’t going to spend an ounce of political capital getting engaged in a fight with the nimby’s in Davis.     They have won via terrorism, and UCD isn’t even going to contest it.

    What is really sad however, is that not only is the Sacramento campus getting all of the attention, but that only the areas of expertise that are located at the Med Center are going to reap the benefits of this development.  All of the important research areas that are NOT medical ( like our crop science, environmental sciences, and engineering departments ) are being left out in the cold.

    This is why I am still fighting for innovation space in Davis.   Aggie Square and the Med Center campus do not offer anything for UC Davis startups in these other critical areas.  There is still HUGE demand for an innovation campus that serves those areas, and the right place to do THAT is STILL in Davis.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Aggie Square is tiny, heavily-subsidized, and is on UCD’s own land, adjacent to their medical center.

      No comparison, not even remotely similar.

      The failed “Davis Innovation Center” (which moved to Woodland, and added 1,600 housing units in the process) is similar to what you’re advocating for.  And yet, still has no announced commercial tenants, in a city that frankly wets itself at the prospect of almost any development, some 7 easy miles from UCD. No doubt, with fewer costs, as well.

      Your operation could fit into a relative shoebox, [edited], I think they’re going to have to do better than you, to have any chance at credibility regarding demand for such a massive proposal. (Then again, the housing component is what “carries” it, financially.)

      It’s already been what, 15 years of failed “innovation centers”? Do we have to beat these guys again, to ensure that they “don’t come back” (as you previously claimed)?

      It’s a housing development.

      1. Tim Keller

        Ron, sometimes I think your ignorance HAS to be deliberate because I have provided explanations to many of your questions / points so many times that I think you just dont want to hear it.

        The woodland Ag park is exactly NOT what I advocate for.  They are the kind of landlords who will only build once they have a tenant with good credit ready to commit to a long-term lease.   That leaves any university startups completely out of the picture.   As far as I am concerned, the woodland project is not actually an innvation park AT ALL.

        I only agreed to endorse the DISC development after they agreed to build 50k square feet on spec for small lab type uses, which is the biggest unmet demand we have at the moment.

        That said, I did still have reservations and concerns about DISC, but I supported it becasue it was, on the whole worth doing.   Not perfect, but good enough, and worth voting “yes” for instead of getting nothing.

        So thats like the 5th time I have explained that.  After this you are on your own.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Other than the 50K square feet that was promised to you last time (of which I assume you only need a fraction), the Woodland technology park is very similar to the DISC proposal.  50K square feet is next-to-nothing, in regard to the overall size of either of those proposed (and in the case of Woodland – essentially approved) developments.

          It is truly the flea on the dog’s butt, to be focused on that. Find another spot.

          Let’s not forget that the Woodland development “moved” from Davis in the first place, after it failed at its originally-proposed location (which will now house the senior housing development, instead).  (However, somewhere during the trip up Highway 113, it added 1,600 housing units.)

          That said, I did still have reservations and concerns about DISC, but I supported it becasue it was, on the whole worth doing.

          I do recall that you had concerns regarding delivery of natural gas to your proposed lab, given the big push toward electricity-only.  Other than that, I don’t recall you expressing concerns.

           

        2. Tim Keller

          For the billionth time.. 50k sqft was NOT promised to ME.  It was not even offered to ME.

          I ask that you retract that comment because you are claiming that there was some reciprocity agreed to and there was NONE.   Stop it.  You are building a narrative that isnt real ( read: a LIE ) and I wont stand for it.

          Innovation centers in other major research university facilities of this type tend to have a footprint around 200k square feet.     Aggie Square is 160k on a much smaller piece of land than DISC was.     50k was a nod to reality and it what pushed me into the “net positive column”

          Yes, I did publicly suggest that there needed to be natural gas supplied for industrial users in that park.   But most of my pushback with the project was in-person.

          Because I’m pretty much the only person in this town who is “walking the walk” with regards to innovation / tech transfer etc, the campaign wanted my endorsement, so I worked directly with them to make sure that the needs of the community I represent were addressed.   They barely cleared the minimum bar.  So I supported it.

          The woodland project by comparison has NOT cleared that bar or made any concession to the fact that we need pre-built,  high-resource R&D space at the center of those projects, so I do NOT consider it a viable alternative until they change their mind on that point.

          I dont think that should be that hard of a concept to grasp.

        3. Ron Oertel

          For the billionth time.. 50k sqft was NOT promised to ME.  It was not even offered to ME.

          I did not say that you would be the only tenant of that.  I understand that you need far less than that amount (and have already noted that, above).

          I ask that you retract that comment because you are claiming that there was some reciprocity agreed to and there was NONE.   Stop it.  You are building a narrative that isnt real ( read: a LIE ) and I wont stand for it.

          I did not say that “reciprocity” is involved.  However, you have noted that no one else is willing to build you a fully-equipped lab space, that you would subsequently lease.  And, you’re advocating for the development as a result.

          These are facts that you’ve acknowledged.  There is no need to retract facts.

           

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            It seems like you guys are talking past each other. Tim seems to be saying that he would be interested in space there, that he would be a tenant paying rent, and that there is no agreement between he and them. Ron seems to be saying that he is not intending to imply reciprocity, but rather that Tim has indicated a willingness to lease lab space and that Tim is advocating for the development. Not clear if there is supposed to be something untoward here or what the purpose of Ron’s repeated pointing this out is. But that’s what I’m getting from the exchange.

        4. Alan Miller

          You are building a narrative that isnt real ( read: a LIE ) and I wont stand for it.

          Yet you have still not acknowledged the ‘narrative that isnt real ( read: a LIE )’ that you told of me on June 16th:

          nor did I have any stake in the DISC proposal which you felt entitled to oppose,

          I voted FOR DISC.  Where did you get the idea I voted against it?

    2. David Greenwald

      ” That this chancellor isn’t going to spend an ounce of political capital getting engaged in a fight with the nimby’s in Davis. They have won via terrorism, and UCD isn’t even going to contest it.”

      That’s largely my take as well. It’s not insurmountable, but clearly Davis is going to have to be the one to change the environment.

      1. Tim Keller

        That’s largely my take as well. It’s not insurmountable, but clearly Davis is going to have to be the one to change the environment.

         

        Amen.   This is what drew me to the “Sustainable Growth Yolo” movement that is forming now.   Left to its own devices, Davis politics will continue to be a force that is antagonistic to the university, and in the long-term, to itself.  SOMONE needs to step in and get this ship back on course.

    3. Ron Oertel

      Sprawl is generally not a NIMBY concern.  There are NIMBYS who mistakenly think that sprawl will prevent density/infill.

      There are YIMBYs are trying to make both occur (sprawl, and infill). In other words, typical developer shills, under a “new wrapping” (of fake progressivism).

      The type who claim concern regarding housing shortages and greenhouse gasses, while advocating for developments that create both.

  7. Bill Marshall

    That is an $18 million windfall just for getting the entitlements.

    Hold those windfall dollars in a escrow account that is tied to perfomance(sic) milestone metrics … with jobs added to the community and avoiding cannibalization of existing jobs from landlords elsewhere in the community being two of the most important of those metrics.

    Ah, yes… the community deserves (by right?) a ‘piece of the action’, when considering granting entitlements… similar to the “oldest profession in the world”?  Hope not.  Altho’ some say the City and certain others are in that profession, when it comes to development entitlements… you are recommending the entire community ‘get a piece’ as well?

    And the windfall is speculative… the ‘value’ may increase (actually, the going price), but unless there is a “buyer” who feels they can recoup their investment, the windfall is only real when it is either sold and/or developed… there are some folk out there who buy land, invest the time/energy, money to get the entitlements… then sell to others @ a price that covers their costs, and a ‘bonus’ of 10-25% of the increase in theoretical ultimate value.

    What you propose is an unlawful, unethical (IMO) ‘impoundment’ in an “escrow”…

    And is a drift off topic…

     

    1. Keith Y Echols

      As someone who worked for a developer and later started a company doing that exact thing (getting entitlements and then reaping the value by selling paper lots to builders)….given the current housing market…I don’t think it’s a huge leap to figure that if there were approved lots in Davis; homebuilders would be there to buy them……homebuilders don’t want to come to Davis to navigate the the political stuff (as most homebuilders are somewhat of a conservative culture and consider Davis as a bunch of college town “kooks”) but if the political stuff the entitlements are done and all they have to do is build….they’d build here.

      Believe it or not….while I’m considered here in Davis to be right of center (which I find hilarious as I moved here from San Francisco where often I was considered significantly left of center)….I actually think that cities need to consider direct public housing again.  This was phased out after the 1960’s in favor of subsidizing for profit builders to build affordable housing and force them through inclusionary housing measures.  But direct development, ownership and management of public housing was by far more effective in relieving housing issues.  The problems of course were that they became “the projects”….tenements…etc….  But I think if a community planned properly, that it could alleviate some of those issues and provide affordable and workforce housing to their communities.  I believe that it’s better to just carve out that part of the housing market instead of trying to constantly unsuccessfully manipulate the housing market….as you’re never going to get builders to build enough to impact home prices anyway.

       

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