Deadline to Bid for Berkeley Lab Location Passes

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Friday marked the last day that developers and landowners in the East Bay could submit their bids for the construction of an immense new campus for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is seeking to consolidate its regional facilities.

While the laboratory has yet to release an official list of bidders or verify the number of bids placed, Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli said potential sites included Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda, Walnut Creek as well as Richmond - which already hosts the laboratory's Field Station, a 90-acre property owned by the University of California and which the lab had referred to as a paradigm for a new campus. Additional bids came from sites in Dublin, Oakland and Albany.

Bids for locations in Berkeley came from Wareham Development, which proposed two sites, "one located in Berkeley and one a mixture of Berkeley and Emeryville," Capitelli said. He added that other proposals came from the owners of the American Soil site and the Aquatic Park Center. According to an article on the blog Berkeleyside, the owners of the two contiguous properties - the Jones family and Michael and Steve Goldin - would combine their land holdings to form one bid. Capitelli also said that the owner of a racetrack site divided between Berkeley and Albany had also submitted a bid.

Proposals for sites in Oakland came from the Swig Company; KS Properties One, LLC; LBA Realty Group and Signature Development Group - in partnership with Reynolds & Brown - according to Aliza Gallo, economic development coordinator for the city of Oakland.

"The city of Oakland itself is not submitting a proposal," Gallo said. "We're supporting four developers that have submitted proposals to locate the lab."

Additional bids came from the Shadelands Business Park in Walnut Creek, according to Sandy Meyer, the city's community development director. In Dublin, Argent Development submitted a bid, according to Linda Maurer, economic development director for the city of Dublin.

In January, the lab issued a Request For Qualifications calling for interested landowners to submit detailed site proposals. Now that the bids are submitted, the laboratory will begin a review process, facilitated by committees of laboratory and university personnel, according to Jon Weiner, manager of communications and media relations at the lab.

From the responses, the lab will cull a short list of sites that would best fulfill its specific criteria - including a spacious location in a safe, attractive area not far from the Berkeley campus that could accommodate a state-of-the-art facility and two million square feet of laboratory, office and support space and that would provide "a location of choice for internationally recognized researchers."

By April, Gallo said, the lab will have identified a short list and will enter into negotiations with several of the sites so that by June 2011, a preferred site will have been selected and discussions with site developers will be underway.

According to Berkeley Lab's own schedule, the move-in date for the facility is set for December 2015. Gallo said this marks "Phase One" of occupancy, when 500,000 square feet - of the facility's anticipated total two million square feet - must be ready for use for office, laboratory and support space.

Although Capitelli said much of the lab's funding comes from the federal Department of Energy and the laboratory's Request for Qualifications specifies that the university will at least partially finance development, as of yet, funding for the new campus remains to be finalized.

"I don't think we can determine that until we determine the site," Weiner said.

Currently, the laboratory has facilities in several East Bay communities, including the Doe Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, the office of the lab's president in downtown Oakland, the Field Station in Richmond and the campus in the Berkeley Hills.


Nina Brown covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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