Speaking of the economic effect of universities, here's a timely story from the Bee:
UC Davis' impact on area estimated at $5.3 billion
By Darrell Smith The Sacramento Bee
Copyright 2011 The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The economic impact of the University of California, Davis, campus on the Sacramento and Northern California region totaled $5.3 billion in 2009-2010, according to an independent report released today.The report, "Economic Impacts of UC Davis," by the Sacramento-based Center for Strategic Economic Research, covers the impacts of the academic institution, excluding its medical facilities. It says UCD contributed:
• More than 48,000 direct and indirect jobs;
• $1.8 billion in employee salaries, wages and benefits;
• Another $3.5 billion in goods and services.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/30/415...#storylink=cpy
$5.3 billion--not counting the additional $4.5 billion of the UC Davis medical center and health system! Compare that to the projected (and, in my opinion, overly sunny) arena economic effect of $1 billion. "Eds and meds" are almost a cliche as economic generators, but while we have a lot of "meds" (and note that a lot of the current office construction in Midtown is related to Sutter's expansion) but not very many "eds."
However, we do have a lot of small campuses in just the right places, and some are looking to expand. University of the Pacific has talked about expanding its Sacramento presence--they already have McGeorge School of Law in Oak Park, and might be interested in a downtown Sacramento campus. Maybe in the Railyards, or in another city-owned building, like the Plaza Building/RCA Building/Biltmore Hotel at 10th and J? That would put the campus right at the heart of downtown, with close access to major libraries, and a lot of amenities college students appreciate (cheap lunch places and nightlife!) Plus it could turn Cesar Chavez Plaza into a "university quad" atmosphere, and provide energy on a stretch of J Street that is as desperately in need of help as the worst parts of K Street. And nobody can claim that University of the Pacific, whose main campus is in Stockton with a new dental campus in San Francisco and McGeorge in Oak Park, would be hesitant to invest in a Central Valley city, a struggling neighborhood or an urban core!
About the city land in the Railyards: The historic depot is actually going to be part of the new intermodal depot, it will not be abandoned once the tracks are relocated. Once the tracks are moved, the total amount of space for a new depot is pretty much exactly the same amount of space as Los Angeles' union station--and guess what, LA's union station is the only Amtrak depot west of the Mississippi busier than Sacramento's, so we could certainly use a newly expanded depot of comparable size!
But remember, Inland is looking for something to do with their property. A facility like a university would answer a lot of pending questions for them.
Midtown does have a lot of renters (something like 85%) but a lot are long-term renters who really care about the community. Getting them to attend public meetings is another matter. Landlords like to rent their units, and an influx of college students would create more demand for housing and better utilize the existing building stock. As to business interests, there are two business improvement districts in the central city, and I think both of them would pretty much salivate at the thought of a few thousand college students spending money in their members' businesses!
As to the whole creative question--I think I just get bubbly these days because I see an amazing amount of new creativity going on--it seems like there's a new art gallery, theater, live music venue, cafe, or store featuring local crafts/products/food opening every week in Midtown/Downtown, and planning one's social calendar now generally means having to pick which of several interesting events one wishes to attend, even on weeknights. Add to that the fact that even a lot of expatriate artists, actors and musicians are far more likely to give Sacramento credit as they tour the country than they used to be, and the long-time image (false, but widely believed) of Sacramento as a black hole for creativity becomes harder and harder to maintain.