Development aims to lure biotech 

More than 22 acres of South San Francisco’s industrial space will be redeveloped over the next 10 years and made into office space to accommodate the ever-growing biotech industry.

Mike Lappen, South City’s economic development coordinator, said he is anticipating more biotech companies to relocate to the area, and redevelopment projects like this will accommodate the growth.

“They will knock down existing buildings and replace it with six-story structures,” he said. “We have room to grow here.”

Lappen said the city works to attract biotech to the area by building roads and improving the sewer system, making it easier for businesses to build. South City currently is home to about 70 biotech companies.

Lappen said Chamberlin Associates plans to redevelop 22.6 acres of property off Oyster Point and Gateway boulevards, known as the Gateway Project, through a 10-year master plan to redevelop the site into a high-tech campus.

The project will increase office space from the current 300,000 square feet to an estimated 1 million square feet. It will also bring an estimated 2,500 permanent jobs to the area, Lappen said, plus an addition 5,000 temporary jobs.

Representatives from Chamberlin could not be reached for comment.

The Gateway Project was recently approved by the redevelopment agency, Lappen said. Though no start date was provided for the project, Lappen said, it will most likely break ground by the end of 2011.

“The economy’s bad right now,” he said. “We’ve got about a 7 percent vacancy rate. I don’t expect things to start to rebound for another year or two. But once it does, we’ll see lots of building.”

South City is also working with another developer to improve a property in the southern part of the city. That project, known as Centrum Properties’ SFO Logistics Center, will redevelop a 26-acre plot to add up to five new, one-story buildings for a total of 52,000 square feet of office space on the 623,948-square-foot industrial facility site. The project is estimated to cost $23 million.

Lappen said South San Francisco is aiming to stay ahead of the game by attracting more biotech companies and startups to the city.

“Now we need to look at other businesses associated with biotech,” he said. “We need to stay ahead of the curve, like Silicon Valley and how it constantly reinvents itself — we need to be doing that.”


Gateway Project

22.6 acres Size of property

1 million Square feet of office space

2,500 Permanent jobs

5,000 Temporary jobs

Source: South San Francisco Economic and Redevelopment Agency

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