Developer Connections - Second Quarter - 2017

Developer Connections - Second Quarter - 2017

Your partners in development

Our goal is the seamless and successful completion of development projects, because when development succeeds, we all succeed.

In early 2016 SMUD formed the Commercial Development team as a resource for our major developer customers in the planning, coordination and connection of their project to our grid. We are your go-to utility partner vital in the pre, during and post development of your project.

Our energy experts will help you navigate the energy landscape through all phases of planning and construction and will coordinate all the touch points within SMUD. We'll also serve as your liaison to coordinate with other utility services.

Developers of Sacramento: Merlone Geier Partners


Merlone Geier Partners and their predecessor, M&H Realty Partners, have invested in retail property on the West Coast for over 24 years. In that time, they’ve raised $4.3 billion in capital, representing over 25.5 million square feet across 147 acquired properties. Their focus on the development and redevelopment of retail and mixed-use properties in community and neighborhood shopping centers has drawn some attention in the Sacramento region lately, including 2 high-profile projects anchored in high traffic community and neighborhood areas – University Village and Delta Shores. Here’s a little more about these 2 key projects.


University Village, located in the East Sacramento Arden Arcade triangle of University Avenue, Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue, is undergoing extensive renovation to transform the high-profile neighborhood shopping into “The UV.” At the completion of the project, 14 new retailers will complement the remodeled and architecturally designed buildings, updated landscaping, large pedestrian courtyard with outdoor seating and public artwork, to create a space for the community to gather. Some of the confirmed stores and restaurants at this Safeway-anchored center include Bandera, Edge Studio, Zocolo, Buckhorn Grill and Pieology.

Delta Shores, located off of Interstate 5 at Cosumnes River Boulevard, is positioned for high traffic, with easy access from nearby communities and neighborhoods by I-5 and access by public transit via the new Regional Transit Light Rail Station just a short distance away. Delta Shores will be the region’s largest new retail development, with 1.3 million square feet approved for commercial development and almost 5,000 residential units. The project will include dining, hospitality, entertainment and large format retailers such as Wal-Mart, RC Willey, PetSmart, Party City and Dick’s Sporting Goods.


Developer satisfaction survey

In March of this year, SMUD’s Commercial Development team provided you a nine-question “Developer Satisfaction Survey.”

We sincerely appreciate your time in completing this important survey. Your overall comments and recognition of this newly-formed Commercial Development team have clearly illustrated that SMUD is on the right track, forging meaningful and interactive partnerships on your current and future development projects. We were glad to learn that over the past 6 months, 85% of survey respondents had engaged SMUD on a development project.

As a result of your responses and direct comments, we have identified one major theme: predictability. Generally, predictability is very real to the success of your projects. Specific themes in the survey related to predictability were, “timing, money and budget.” In fact, 74% of respondents noted that budgets and timing were their number one issue. And based upon our interactions with our SMUD colleagues and subject matter experts, predictability is crucial to our success, too.

To that end, our next steps include:

  • Identifying, and then fixing, specific “choke points” or bottle-necks in our internal processes, and creating new ways to streamline how we move your projects through from “project ideation to meter set and ribbon-cutting.”
  • Developing a useful infographic (or cheat sheet) that you and your team can follow. This tool will visually guide you through the various steps needed to ensure you have electric service for your new project.
  • Investigating, researching and implementing methods to help you address the financial impacts from SMUD to your projects.
  • Continuing our proactive outreach, ensuring that SMUD is out in front with you on your new project, thus avoiding potential delays and or financial surprises later down the road.
  • SMUD will work collaboratively with your team to identify potential costs, where possible, early in the project lifecycle to assist in budgeting for underwriting purposes.


Over the coming months, we'll keep you updated on our progress, and any new process changes or services that will be available to you. Additionally, we'll conduct our second “Developer Satisfaction Survey” in March 2018. Our goal is to continue improving our process and interactions with you. Your comments, feedback and insights are valued, and greatly appreciated.

Survey highlights:


  • 17% response rate to the survey (national average to any survey is 4%)
  • 65% of respondents are interested in renewable energy opportunities
  • 90% of respondents told us that involving SMUD early in their project is key to their success
  • 74% of respondents say that they are interested in any financing assistance from SMUD for SMUD-related costs to your project
  • 62% of respondents have never used the SMUD developer portal to apply for SMUD service


This survey was conducted among commercial development professionals from February 28 to May 1, 2017 and received 29 responses.

Land use partnerships


The Distributed Energy Resources Community Partnership (DERCP) team at SMUD is reaching out to landowners in our community to determine interest in partnering with SMUD to provide land to develop solar or other distributed energy projects, such as energy storage. The DERCP team seeks to identify an initial set of candidate properties located in SMUD’s service territory. Solar projects developed in the community could support SMUD’s expansion of products available to our customers through our community solar program, Solar Shares℠. Through a Request for Offer (RFO) of land, we'll identify optimal sites for hosting solar and/or energy storage projects to determine whether there are opportunities for partnership.

SMUD will use a phased screening process to determine optimal sites and functionality. Initially, sites will be analyzed and screened for solar suitability, interconnection, topography, environmental and other land use constraints. Successful sites from this screening will then be assessed for technical and financial feasibility. If properties are found to be both financially and technically viable, SMUD would look to execute short-term options with the land owner, to reserve the use of the land. After additional evaluation of site benefits, SMUD would look to secure longer term options and ultimately leases or, in some cases, purchasing the site from the owner, in order to complete the development of the projects on the selected properties.

Property owners wishing to partner with SMUD in this effort will need to complete a Site Submission Form and Letter of Interest. See our Use your Land for Renewables page for more information. Further details about the property review and selection process can also be found at the DECRP Portal.

SMUD looks forward to working with the commercial development community to identify properties that may provide for beneficial partnership opportunities.

Building for a living future


What does the future hold? While none of us can predict it with perfect certainty, it's easy to see that growing numbers of investors, customers, religious leaders, policy makers and importantly, our kids, recognize the threat of global climate change and expect action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment.

Buildings – and all the resources required to construct and operate them – are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. Improving building design and function is an important opportunity to shape the future of our community and the health of the planet. And, as with any long-term investment, building with a low-carbon future in mind can impart a significant advantage in a competitive market.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Building and Community Challenges have the potential to significantly transform the built environment, well beyond the progress made by existing green building programs. They're building certification frameworks that will inspire the technology innovation and market shifts needed to create truly regenerative spaces and make ambitious regional and state climate action plans achievable. Filled with natural light and healthy ventilation, ILFI buildings (whether they're offices, multi-family or single family homes) are also beautiful and productive spaces in which people like to live and work.

Earlier this year, the Sacramento region’s first Living Future building – a renovation of the California office of architectural firm Arch-Nexus – was completed on R Street in downtown Sacramento. Boasting a roof full of photovoltaic panels, onsite sewage and water treatment, non-toxic materials and highly efficient building systems, the building is truly groundbreaking for its methods of construction, operation and occupancy. Arch-Nexus staff report that demand for building tours is high, with groups of up to 60 people regularly visiting and learning about the innovative office space. Final certification with ILFI requires one year of building performance following occupancy, proving that the ambitious design actually works in practice and achieves the goals of the ILFI framework.

Certified Living Buildings are fossil-free, all-electric structures with onsite renewable power generation, both of which support SMUD’s plans for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable, distributed power resources. Growing the market for these buildings will reduce their costs over time, making them feasible for a wider range of building types and accessible to more SMUD customers. Studying them – and how they interact with the electric grid – will help SMUD better plan for the buildings of the future.

SMUD’s ILFI Accelerator Program

To encourage the construction of new Living Future buildings in its service territory, SMUD is offering a 10% Savings by Design bonus incentive for projects that undertake the ILFI Building Challenge. Eligible projects must complete the application process for the Savings by Design program and be approved to receive the ILFI bonus incentive. In addition, beginning in late summer 2017, program participants will have access to technical support and scheduled group information sessions with staff from SMUD, ILFI and Arch-Nexus. Participants will be surveyed during and after the program and case studies or other information about their experiences with the ILFI framework will be shared to increase local knowledge and awareness of best practices.

This program is an opportunity to learn about the ambitious ILFI frameworks, leverage the knowledge and experience of the growing community of Living Future practitioners in the Sacramento region, have some fun, and demonstrate true green building leadership along the way. We welcome your participation.

For more information about SMUD’s ILFI Accelerator Program, please contact the Commercial Development team at 1-916-732-5448.

For more information about the International Living Future Institute, please visit