By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – In a move that will surprise absolutely zero members of the community, the Davis Chamber announced on Thursday that they will once again back the updated Davis Innovation & Sustainability Campus.
The move signals that, once again, the business community in Davis overall sees the value of and the need for land that can be entitled for and developed as commercial high tech space.
In a release from the Chamber, they pledged to “play an active role in helping to secure City and voter approval for the plan.”
“DiSC 2022 will provide huge economic and community benefits to Davis. We’re excited to support it, and we’re fully committed to helping educate our members, residents and voters about why it’s so important to move the plan forward,” said Cory Koehler, executive director of the Davis Chamber.
“At 102 acres the new DiSC 2022 plan is about half as large as the proposal that appeared on the November 2020 ballot. As with the previous plan, DiSC 2022 includes laboratory, R&D and advanced manufacturing facilities, homes designed to appeal to innovation center employees, affordable housing, a hotel and parks. Tech-oriented employment facilities total approximately 1.1 million square feet, about half of what was proposed in 2020, and the number of housing units is reduced by nearly half from 850 to 460,” a release read.
“Because the demand is strong and growing for an innovation center close to the university, we’ve decided to try one more time to get a plan approved. We believe there’s an appetite in Davis for a smaller plan that is responsive to the community and the market,” said Dan Ramos, vice president of Ramco Enterprises and DiSC 2022 project manager.
“The changes we’re making are in direct response to what we’ve heard from the community,” said Ramos. “We also now have insight into what post-COVID work environments will look like and our updated plan reflects those realities. What hasn’t changed is the need for research and advanced-manufacturing facilities to deal with global challenges like climate change and food security, especially so close to a leading research university like UC Davis.”
Reynolds & Brown, which owns property that comprised the northern portion of the earlier plan, is no longer involved in the project. “We’re directing our resources to other projects and are not going forward in Davis,” said Dana Parry, president and CEO of Reynolds & Brown.
DISC in November failed by a 52-48 margin or about 1300 votes.
Critics of the project complained about traffic impacts as well as the overall size last year. In addition, many observers felt that the uncertainty created by the pandemic and the absence of students on campus were causes of the voter denial.
This fall marks a period of review for the project, with DiSC 2022 under review by several City commissions before it goes to the City Council early next year for proposed approval to put the plan before Davis voters on the June 2022 ballot.
“We very much appreciate and value the support of the Davis Chamber, and look forward to working closely with its staff and volunteer leadership to get DiSC 2022 across the finish line,” said Dan Ramos, vice president of Ramco Enterprises and DiSC 2022 project manager.