Davis Plans for Downtown University Gateway District

DAVIS, Calif. — Plans for the 100-acre Downtown University Gateway District were presented to the Davis City Council on Feb. 11. It would combine the development of three different properties that would include high-density housing; research facilities for the University of California, Davis; and shopping and entertainment for Davis citizens.
The project combines the 45-acre Nishi Property, which runs along the University near the Mondavi Center; the 42-acre UC Davis East Village along the southeastern most edge of campus; and the 11 acres of property on Olive Drive. Currently, the UC Davis East Village area is occupied by the Solano Park housing development, but there are plans to close the area in 2016 and to redevelop it, reported The California Aggie.
The development would address two major goals for the area. UC Davis has a 2020 initiative in which the university hopes to add 5,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students to the campus by 2020, while the City of Davis continues to push for economic development.
The Nishi Property had been under consideration for development for several years prior to the recent developments that have been made. Perkins+Will, with offices in San Francisco, was brought in to develop concept master plans for the project and to develop the Feb. 11 presentation for the Davis City Council, but the architecture firm’s contract expired after the presentation was completed.
At the February meeting, the Davis City Council directed city staff to move forward with envisioning plans for the Gateway District project, instructing staff to apply for grants that would help the planning. The next steps in the project include public outreach and submitting a grant application to the strategic growth council, which will hopefully secure grant funds for some of the technical planning, such as a greenhouse gas reduction plan and a water conservation plan for the project. The final development on the Nishi property would have to pass a Measure R vote to become a reality.
The Gateway District can be configured in several ways, with different variations of streets, parks and bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths. Each variation includes some type of overpass or undercrosss to connect the properties. The Davis Enterprise reported that the city is trying to make sure adjacent uses of the area, such as a planned hotel and conference center soon being submitted to City Hall, are in keeping with the project plan. The new hotel could have 110 to 120 rooms.
Perkins+ Will worked on a similar community development project in Singapore. The Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) is a global research community that comprises three mid-rise buildings and a high-rise tower. About 1,200 researchers from interdisciplinary research centers from top universities as well as from corporate laboratories across the world gather to collaborate within the space. The design uses advanced environmental sustainability and energy-efficient technologies, surpassing current flexibility and performance benchmarks for scientific research facilities in the tropics.