UC Davis, the city of Sacramento and project developer Wexford Science and Technology celebrated a milestone in the university’s Aggie Square project with a ceremonial groundbreaking in February. Construction begins this spring on the project’s first phase, which includes two buildings designed for science, technology and engineering, and a Lifelong Learning Building dedicated to classrooms and public programs.

Located on UC Davis’ Sacramento campus, Aggie Square is an innovation hub that brings together university research and teaching, industry, and the community to create opportunities for communities across the region. It will be home to research programs, private industry partners, classrooms, student housing, and public-facing programs that engage local communities and entrepreneurs.

“Aggie Square is the ultimate ‘innovation ecosystem.’ It’s part laboratory, classroom, workplace, business incubator and community gathering place,” said UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. “We’re building a place where companies, researchers, students, faculty and community advocates work side by side, where leading-edge UC Davis research powers innovative companies, and where UC Davis provides training for up-and-coming industries and for residents who live in surrounding neighborhoods.”

Aggie Square is designed to leverage UC Davis’ strengths in life sciences, technology, engineering, food, health and social impact — driven by talented faculty, students and staff, and aligned with the university’s public service mission and desire to be a community partner.

“I’m proud that our city has partnered with both UC Davis and our community to make Aggie Square a reality,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We are creating an economic center with thousands of new jobs, and the people in our neighborhoods will be the primary beneficiaries. Aggie Square stands as an example of what is possible.”

Aggie Square will address the need for additional research space in Sacramento, especially “wet lab” space for both academic and industrial use, and is expected to help attract both government and private research funding to Sacramento and UC Davis. The mixed-used innovation district will ultimately have 1 million square feet of research, wet labs, and commercial space.

Aggie Square aerial view

An economic impact report completed in 2020 estimated that Aggie Square would add nearly $5 billion a year to the economy of the Sacramento region and generate 25,000 jobs. The construction phase will deliver an additional $2.6 billion in one-off economic impact and 15,000 job-years.

Those jobs will benefit the local community. In April 2021, UC Davis, Wexford and the city of Sacramento agreed on a Community Benefits Partnership Agreement based on three years of input from local residents. The agreement directs $50 million toward affordable housing in the neighborhood, thousands of jobs in construction and in the completed project, improvements to the Broadway and Stockton Boulevard corridors, and annual funding for community projects.

In January 2020, Aggie Square announced that the Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education would be the project’s first tenant. UC Davis has also launched an immersive undergraduate program, Quarter at Aggie Square.

Learn more: aggiesquare.ucdavis.edu