FORA Economic Development Program activities build on the foundation of environmental cleanup, building removal, and infrastructure improvements accomplished since the 1994 base closure. Program strategy includes building on regional economic strengths, retaining existing and pursuing new businesses, engaging internal and external partners, developing and maintaining information resources, and measuring and reporting progress. This Q1 2018 status report is part of the on-going quarterly status updates directed by the Board. Since the last report, significant progress is reported in business recruitment retention, UCMBEST activation, CSUMB partnerships, community engagement/jurisdiction support, housing starts, and jobs survey results. Next quarter focus remains realizing jobs growth, housing gains, and accomplishing our broad economic development goals.
The primary goal of the Fort Ord Reuse Authority’s (“FORA’s”) current ED effort, as referenced in the 1997 Base Reuse Plan (“BRP”) and 2012 Reassessment Report (“RR”), is to assist the three-county (Monterey/Santa Cruz/San Benito) region in general and FORA jurisdictions specifically in economic recovery from the employment, business, and other economic losses resulting from the departure of soldiers, civilians, and families post Fort Ord closure. BRP projections for full recovery include: 37,000 replacement population; 15, 000+ jobs to replace military employment and soldiers; 11-12,000 homes (6160 new units); and approximately 3 million sf commercial/office.
Prior to establishing the current ED program in 2015, extensive groundwork was directed by the FORA Board and overseen by FORA staff including: securing funding, implementation, and completion of the $98 M Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (“ESCA”); reuse and/or removal of 3614 of 4370 military buildings (including reopening 500+ units for affordable workforce housing); transfer of 10,013 of 17,652 habitat acres for permanent preservation; construction of $66.5 M worth of new transportation infrastructure (including $40M in grant funding); storm water outfall removal (including securing $6M in grant funding); and continued and ongoing support for the veterans community leading to the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery, and the nation’s first Joint DoD/VA Veterans Clinic. Also, in concert with former Fort Ord jurisdictions, progress toward the above noted BRP goals to date are: 15,717 population; 5652 jobs; 5536 homes (1345 new + 4191 reused); and 690k sf commercial. These accomplishments provide the strong foundation and equitable basis for realizing new economic development gains.
FORA’s ongoing ED strategy is based on the following key components:
- Build upon Regional Economic Strengths (Agriculture, Tourism, Higher Education/ Research, Military Missions)
- Pursue New & Retain Existing Businesses/Enterprises.
- Engage Internal & External Stakeholders (i.e. FORA Jurisdictions, California State University Monterey Bay (”CSUMB”), University of California Santa Cruz (“UCSC”), Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (“MBEP”), Monterey County Business Council (“MCBC”), Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (“MPCC”), and other.
- Develop and Maintain Information Resources.
- Report Success Metrics.
Per ongoing Board direction and following the strategy outlined above, staff continues to make progress on a number of key projects. The following notes summarize and highlight progress since the December 8, 2017 Economic Development Quarterly Update:
FORA staff continues efforts to both respond to and broadly refer inquiries from businesses/contacts interested in location or relocation and reuse of former Fort Ord real estate. Developer engagement in recent months include interest in affordable housing, hospitality, and light industrial/commercial projects. Staff is playing a critical role in advancing airport related development interest at Marina Municipal Airport and UCMBEST. As part of a response to Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) call for proposals, staff completed an Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program (“UASIPP”) submission in partnership with the City of Marina and local private sector partners. The proposal includes two main parts- technological innovation and economic development. The pending proposal would help attract new aerospace industries to our region and leverage existing airport facilities in Marina. Staff supported on-going planning processes for City of Seaside projects, with particular emphasis on optimizing urban design, and facilitating key contacts. Staff is also actively engaged with business recruitment efforts through the Central Coast Marketing Team (“CCMT”) including continued development and management of TeamCentralCoast.org. This new website provides a useful web resource to support business location decisions and integrates OppSites software as an opportunity site marketing resource. Efforts are underway to prepare/package site marketing content, and strategies in collaboration with partners. Staff continues working with relevant jurisdiction staff and elected officials where appropriate to advance new and emerging opportunities.
University of California Santa Cruz (“UCSC”) Monterey Bay Education, Science and Technology (“UCMBEST”)
The vision for UCMBEST as a regional R&D tech innovation and regional employment center has yet to be realized. Even after 21 years of UC ownership only a small fraction of new venture and employment opportunities exist on the lands conveyed for that purpose. FORA has a critical interest in seeing progress made on the UCMBEST vision. To that end, FORA staff have taken active roles in convening relevant stakeholders to infuse the effort with new energy and craft a viable route forward. Advancing existing planning efforts to conclusion and entitlement for future sale, lease or other transfer, as well as exploring a wide range of future ownership/management structures are key areas of staff/stakeholder focus.
Vice Chancellor Scott Brandt provided a UCSC-UCMBEST Status Report at the April 7, 2017 Board meeting. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Mohamed Abousalem, provided a UCSC-UCMBEST Status Report at the November 17, 2017 Board meeting. UCSC staff continue working internally to prepare the West Campus Parcels, and other ancillary parcels for public auction. They also are working with the City of Marina staff to complete environmental review of the jointly prepared Specific Plan and subdivision maps. Once complete, these process will enable productive/job generating use of UCMBEST lands.
FORA staff continue to represent FORA in bi-weekly status update calls with UC Santa Cruz and Monterey County representatives. Focus of the planning group included: Moving West Campus parcels to auction; Completing North Central Campus sub-division map and specific plan (City of Marina) – then water and environmental; advancing East Campus mixed-use development planning with UCSC and County. UC Office of the President and UCSC leadership provided Letters of Support for UASIPP submission, from the City of Marina and FORA. If successful, this designation would provide a catalyst to attract new employers to the region.
Start-up Challenge Monterey Bay/California State University Monterey Bay (“CSUMB”) Collaboration.
FORA continues to support expansion of regional entrepreneurship through collaboration with CSUMB on a broad Start-up Monterey Bay initiative including high quality events throughout the year. The annual cycle of entrepreneurship events culminating in the Startup Challenge Monterey Bay kicked-off this year with the Startup Hackathon, held at CSUMB Nov 3-5. Over 110 participants spent the weekend hacking tech solutions for disaster/response/recovery. Startup Weekend Monterey Bay was held on January 29, 2018 and the Startup Challenge process is now underway. FORA hosted a Startup Challenge Workshop on Thursday March 1. The Startup Challenge will culminate in the Otter Tank competition in May 2018.
Other collaborations with CSUMB faculty and staff include: creation of a new Startup Monterey Bay website to facilitate continuous engagement and growth of the Startup Monterey Bay community; contribution toward planning a November 2018 Sustainable Hospitality Forum in Monterey; Continuing to cultivate relationships and interest from the visiting Costa Rica delegation (Oct 31, 2017); Development of a new Monterey Bay Eco-recreation and Tourism Region website (MBETR.org) to provide a web hub for the efforts of regional educational, business, and government officials in increasing the viability/profitability of sustainable hospitality/eco-recreation tourism in the Monterey Bay region; and continuing collaboration with planning and economic development initiatives including R&D Business park, recreation, and residential resources. The sustained growth in relationships and mutually beneficial projects and initiatives highlights value generated from working relationships with CSUMB faculty/staff.
Community Engagement/Jurisdiction Support.
Community engagement/jurisdiction support remains a focus for ED staff. Staff engaged with the following processes since the December ED Progress Report:
FORA ED staff supported the City of Seaside Campus Town planning in developer/ consultant informational meetings, and provided affordable housing information and resources to development teams. Staff also supported on City request, developer interest and concept refinement for productive reuse of the former nursing quarters in the City of Seaside. Staff also supported on-going land use optimization discussions in and around the Campus Town Specific Planning Area.
Staff worked closely with the City of Marina Airport Manager and Economic Development team to complete the UASIPP application. Inclusive in the proposal is an extensive public outreach and engagement component which would be an integral part to realizing the potential for UAS innovation business attraction at the Marina Airport.
New residential development at the Dunes on Monterey Bay, Sea Haven, and East Garrison continues to gain momentum. A summary of CFD fees collected over the past 3 years and projected for FY 17/18 is provided below:
|New Residential||FY 14/15
|Total CFD Fees||$1,982,669||$5,202,626||$7,329,706||$6,149,946|
Staff began conducting the 2018 Jobs Survey in January, through email surveys, followed by phone calls, then site visits. Survey results indicate a total of 5652 jobs (4165 Full-time (“FT”) and 1487 part-time (“PT”)) on the former Fort Ord. These results suggest a 14% increase in total jobs from 2017 (17% growth in FT and 0% growth in PT jobs). Total surveyed businesses increased from 117 to 133 (12% change), some new, some previously unreported. In addition, we estimate there are approximately 3,000 construction contractor positions in 3 main developments and CSUMB, and in excess of 10,000 students (7122 at CSUMB). The 2018 Jobs Survey Report was released April 5, 2018.
The following events and initiatives will be in focus for the FORA economic development team in the months ahead: FAA UASIPP; Business Recruitment; Monterey Bay Ecotourism Region coordination and support; Startup Challenge, Jan-April. CALED Annual Conference March 14-16 (including Fort Ord tour). MBEP Regional Economic Summit, Watsonville. May 3. Forbes 4th Annual AgTech Summit, Salinas June. All past Economic Development Status Reports, along with a wealth of Fort Ord reuse economic development information and resources including a dynamic business directory, is available online at https://ordforward.org.