Fourth Berkeley site proposed for LBL second campus

Marchant Building in promotional materials for East Bay Green Corridor.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received a fourth Berkeley proposal for a new campus – the old Marchant Building on San Pablo Avenue near Ashby Avenue.

Redico, a Michigan-based real-estate development company, suggested to the lab that the 540,000 square foot building on a 6.5 acre plot of land become its new second campus, according to a knowledgeable source who asked not to be named.

The Marchant Building, which was used by the University of California as a storage facility for 28 years, straddles Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland. The university vacated the building in 2010 and Redico has been promoting it since then as prime R&D and office space for the East Bay Green Corridor.

The lab received 21 proposals for a second campus from eight cities: Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, Alameda, Richmond, Walnut Creek and Dublin. Lab officials will whittle down the sites to four or five by April, and select a final site by June. The lab hopes to move into its new campus by December 2015.


Lab officials have not publicly announced which sites have been proposed, but word has been leaking out since the March 4 deadline.

The Marchant Building becomes the fourth lab site proposed for Berkeley. The others are:

  • A 12.5-acre parcel off Bolivar Drive near Aquatic Park. Michael and Steven Goldin, co-owners of Swerve, a modern furniture manufacturer, and the Jones family, who owns the land that once held American Soil, are joining their properties together for the proposal. This is raw land, so laboratory facilities would have to be constructed.
  • Wareham Development already leases hundreds of thousands of square feet of space to Berkeley Lab, including the Berkeley West Biocenter on Potter Street. Wareham apparently offered a Berkeley-based proposal, an Emeryville-only based proposal and a joint Berkeley-Emeryville proposal with properties scattered around the region, according to knowledgeable sources.
  • Golden Gate Fields: The Canadian owner of the 140-acre horse track, MI Development, has been trying to develop land adjacent to the track for years. The company will offer the land, which straddles Berkeley and Albany, to Lawrence Berkeley Lab. If the lab selects the site for its short-list, the company will consider tearing down the racetrack and moving horseracing related jobs to another northern California site, according to Dennis Mills, vice-chairman of MI Development.

Related:
Three Berkeley sites proposed for new LBL campus [03.04.11]
Lawrence Berkeley Lab issues wish list for new campus [01.04.11]