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City to consider bid for new Lawrence Berkeley Lab campus

Submitted by on 1, January 18, 2011 – 12:02 amNo Comment

Photo from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's website.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is looking for a new home for scientists who now work at three satellite labs scattered across the East Bay. And city leaders are hoping they can bring that new campus to Alameda Point.

City staffers are assembling a bid for the campus, and they’ll be offering a potential site location to the City Council for their consideration on February 2. The bids are due by March 4, and the University at California, which operates the lab, plans to have a short list of preferred sites in April.

The university already has a potential lab site in Richmond, but they are seeking proposals from cities to determine whether another site might better meet their needs.

The university expects to pick a site in June. They want to begin construction in July 2013 and move in by December 2015.

They are looking for a site that can accommodate up to 2 million square feet of research and development space for the lab’s future needs, that is a maximum 25 minute commute from the Blackberry Gate entrance of the main lab facility in the Berkeley hills.

The university also wants their new site to be in a safe community with access to multiple modes of public transit and safe bicyclist access; near restaurants and banks, post offices, child care, gyms and other amenities; with access to cheap utilities; with little to no environmental remediation needs, or a funded plan to address existing needs; and outside of a liquefaction or flood zone.

“The second campus should be located in a welcoming community with a positive civic expression of interest in development of the site and the resulting creation of high quality jobs,” the university’s request for qualifications says.

Cities that seek to work with the university are being asked to partner with a developer to build the new lab; it could be funded by the university, though they say they are also open to third-party financing. City officials say they’ll begin searching for a development partner in February.

City officials are hoping the lab, which holds a prime contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, can jump-start redevelopment efforts at the Point and bring additional lab and office space demand for the Point and the Island’s business parks. They also anticipate the lab would bring high-paying jobs and increased sales tax revenue from employee spending, according to a report authored by Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott to be presented to the City Council tonight.

They expect to spend between $20,000 and $25,000 to put the bid for the new lab in place, the report says.

The first phase of lab development would merge Lawrence Berkeley’s Joint BioEnergy Institute, Joint Genome Institute and much of the lab’s Life Sciences Division onto the new second campus. The lab’s strategic directions include energy efficiency and sustainable energy, climate change and environmental sciences, photon science, computational science, matter and force in the universe and biological sciences for energy research.

The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, and will also be broadcast on Cable Channel 15 and webcast on the city’s website.

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