It has been hailed as one of the largest developments the City has seen in years, a project that rivals Golden1 Center and the Railyards in terms of size, scope and overall impact.
This week, Aggie Square took another major step toward becoming a reality.
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday voted to further formalize its partnership with UC Davis and Wexford Science and Technology on the planned Aggie Square innovation and research district along Stockton Boulevard.
The project, located mostly on property owned by UC Davis, would expand the university’s Sacramento campus, creating a state-of-the-art collaborative hub for research, innovation and education.
The first phase of the project includes the construction of four large buildings that would be used for classrooms, public and privately funded research, commercial office space and student housing. The project also includes public plazas and other outdoor space that would connect the campus to the community.
Council members on Tuesday unanimously adopted a “resolution of intention” to create an “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District” to assist in funding part of the $1.1 billion project. As part of the EIFD, the City would redirect $30 million in future property taxes generated by the project back into the development of Aggie Square.
In addition, at least 20 percent of the property taxes generated by the development in the coming decades would be slated to create more affordable housing in the area — an amount expected to total about $37 million.
“This in an investment in the city by the City (of Sacramento) and in this neighborhood,” Councilmember Jeff Harris said before Tuesday’s vote.
At a time when many other development projects are stalled, Aggie Square is expected to bring more than 5,000 construction jobs to Sacramento and generate more than 15,000 supporting jobs around the region. The ongoing regional economic impact of Aggie Square would be in the $3 billion range, officials said.
While the project has been in the works for the past two years, Tuesday’s action marks the first official vote by Council. Over the past 18 months, UC Davis, Wexford and Councilmembers Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra — who represent the neighborhoods near the campus — have held approximately 50 community and stakeholder meetings to hear from residents, business owners and others and discuss concerns about displacement, gentrification and affordable housing.
“We have to hit those challenges,” Guerra said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Our task is to work directly with the families in the neighborhood to get it right.”
Schenirer, Guerra, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other Council members have pledged to adopt a community benefit agreement that will ensure that residents and businesses in the surrounding Stockton Boulevard corridor benefit from Aggie Square through training and educational opportunities, jobs and affordable housing, among other community priorities.
This benefits agreement will be brought to Council at the same time it takes its next action on the EIFD, which is expected in January.
Schenirer said he believed Aggie Square is a tide that will lift all boats and committed to holding additional town hall meetings with neighborhoods and stakeholders in the coming months and involve the community in the development of any community benefit agreement for the project.
“What we need is a huge catalyst, and we think Aggie Square can be the catalyst that can bring a renaissance in these neighborhoods,” Schenirer said. “We either do this together or we are not successful.”
UC Davis already is working to increase access for neighborhood residents to the thousands of existing jobs at the UC Davis Sacramento campus, officials said. UC Davis, along with other employers, is holding a virtual job fair on Oct. 28, in conjunction with Schenirer and Guerra’s offices.
The Aggie Square project will go before the University of California Regents Nov. 17-19. If approved, construction on the project could begin in 2021.