The Innovation District is a 57-acre area in the Milpitas Metro Specific Plan that is envisioned as a thriving employment destination featuring modern office, creative flex space, and R&D buildings. Zoning also allows for limited residential uses south of the Transit Center on the south side of South Milpitas Boulevard Extension. This district is established in the City’s Economic Development Strategy and includes land adjacent to the Great Mall and parcels on both sides of Montague Expressway. The opening of the Milpitas Transit Center and the extension of regional BART service into the South Bay changes the outlook for the Milpitas Innovation District by giving it valuable direct transit access to other parts of the Bay Area.
The Fiscal Benefits of Employment Lands Study guides City policy towards a fiscally resilient future based on protection and preservation of employment lands, expansion and attraction of innovative and competitive businesses, and implementation of the Innovation District. The Innovation District, provides a vital opportunity to support the City fiscally and economically. This study is comprised of two phases:
Completed in October 2021, Phase I identifies potential benefits of The Innovation District, including the attraction of a large number of well-paying jobs and substantial positive fiscal impacts on the City’s General Fund. It also indicates current challenges associated with the economics of development that will need to be overcome in establishing the Innovation District.
Completed in June 2022, Phase II combines contextual and on-the-ground information and data concerning development opportunity sites within and around the Innovation District, case studies of other Innovation Districts, and the substantial efforts assessing a broad range of options and action items suitable for creating an Innovation District Action Plan.
The Innovation District will be an employment destination with modern office, research and development buildings and flexible space for people to interact through a well-connected Innovation District with proximity to public transit and public infrastructure including bike paths, pedestrian scale sidewalks, social gathering places, and high-speed fiber. The vision includes shaping Milpitas’ urban development practices to build a culture of creativity, innovation, inclusivity and equity, and agility to help advance opportunities for innovation. Innovation Districts typically include a combination of the following features:
- Advanced research institutions and medical campuses
- Major real estate developers and landowners
- Anchor companies
- Incubators, accelerators, and other economic cultivators
Examples of innovation districts in other communities include Mission Bay in San Francisco, Warm Springs in Fremont and Perry Park in Sunnyvale.
The Innovation District is guided by the following principles:
- Protect and preserve employment lands for greater long-term opportunities.
- Promote densification and intensification.
- Explore mixed-use opportunities with commercial development as primary and residential as secondary.
- Provide incentives to encourage development and creative alternatives to parking challenges.
- Encourage parcel assembly for highest and best use.
- Promote pedestrian-oriented streets and activate public spaces through connecting elements.
- Explore information technology infrastructure such as broadband and utilities.
The Innovation District provides the following benefits:
- Ensures the City’s fiscal sustainability with a diverse set of fiscal revenues
- Preserves and protects employment lands to retain and create higher paying technology sector jobs and higher paying employment uses near the Milpitas Transit Center.
- Encourages creative placemaking and strengthens connections to and from the Milpitas Transit Center.
- Leverages the City’s existing business ecosystem to attract new anchors to support the creation of the Milpitas Innovation District.
Incentivizing New Development
- Develop an Internal Working Group to Support the Implementation of the Innovation District Action Plan
- Develop Flexible Permitting Processes for Innovation District Developments
- Temporarily Reduce or Defer Building Permit, Plan Check, and Other Processing Fees
- Temporarily Defer Impact Fees for Innovation District Developments
- Removal of Parking Minimums for Innovation District Development
- Develop Development Agreement and Community Benefit Agreement Templates for Innovation District Developments
- Performing Technical Due Diligence for Innovation District Developments
Funding and Investing
- Exploration of Financing Tools (i.e., EIFDs and CFDs) for the Innovation District
- Funding for a Strategic Property Acquisition Revenue (SPAR) Fund
- Pursue Planning Grants and Technical Assistance for Innovation District Evolution
City Leadership, Outreach and Partnerships
- Develop a Branding Initiative for the Innovation District
- Promotion of Innovation District by City Leadership
- Directed Outreach to Businesses, Developers, and Landowners
- Cultivation of Partnership with Educational and Other Innovation-oriented Institutions
- Fiscal Benefits of Employment Lands Study Final Report & Innovation District Action Plan (PDF)
- Economic Development Strategy Implementation Actions (PDF)
- Metro Specific Plan Adopted February 7, 2023 (PDF)
- Fiscal Benefits of Employment Lands Study Slide Deck City Council Study Session 10-12-21
- Innovation District Action Plan Slide Deck - City Council Meeting 4-19-22