Three Berkeley sites being considered for Lawrence Berkeley Lab second campus

Aerial view of Lawrence Berkeley Lab/Photo: LBL

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has selected six sites in six East Bay cities as the possible location of a second campus, Berkeleyside has learned.

Three of the six sites are either in Berkeley or partly in Berkeley, according to knowledgeable sources who asked not to be named. They are:

  • The Richmond Field Station. The University of California already owns this land, and it is presumed to be the front runner for the second campus.
  • Golden Gate Fields — This 30-acre parcel sits mainly in Albany, although a section also sits in Berkeley.
  • The Goldin brothers/Jones family parcel off of Bolivar Drive near Aquatic Park in Berkeley. This 12.5 acre parcel is the site of the old American Soils property.
  • A 64 acre parcel known as the Brooklyn Basin along Oakland’s waterfront.
  • A portion of the old Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda. The city has offered this land for free to the lab as a way to quick-start development of the old base.
  • Wareham Development’s sites straddling Berkeley and Emeryville.

The lab received 21 proposals from eight cities interested in having the second campus. They included multiple sites in Berkeley, including the old Marchant Building, about four proposals in Oakland, one in Walnut Creek, one in Dublin, and a number in Richmond.

The lab will make a formal announcement later today about its short list.

UPDATE: 1 pm: Lab officials sent out a press release about its short list for a second campus and took the opportunity to say final selection won’t occur now until November. The lab had previously said it would select a new site in June. From the press release:

“We had tremendous response to our call for qualifications,” says Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. “We really want to thank all the cities and developers that presented their ideas. The large number of visionary responses created by so many communities in the East Bay is an impressive reminder of the value that our region places on science in service of society. And now that we have identified our top candidates, we look forward to working with them as we move closer to selecting a preferred site.”

Site finalists were chosen based on their ability to meet multiple criteria in the RFQ including a location within 20 to 25 minutes of the original campus, land capacity to accommodate potential future growth, and easy access to public transportation and other amenities.

Most of Berkeley Lab’s 4,200 employees work at its main site, but about 20 percent of them are dispersed in leased facilities around the East Bay, including at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, and the Lab’s life science facilities in Berkeley.

If this project were to move forward, a second campus would provide substantial scientific benefits by allowing researchers, presently scattered throughout the various off-lab sites, to interact more directly with each other and with faculty and students from throughout the UC system.

While the University’s original intent was to identify a preferred site by this summer, it became clear during this very competitive process that the next steps of due diligence, site inspections, and negotiations will extend that timeline.

A decision on a preferred site will likely occur in late November with occupancy scheduled for mid-2016.

After careful evaluation of the merits of each submittal, the sites being considered further are:


  • Alameda Point, in the city of Alameda;

·      Berkeley Aquatic Park West, located in West Berkeley;

·      Brooklyn Basin, located in Oakland;

·      Emeryville/Berkeley, (includes properties currently occupied by the Lab in Emeryville and West Berkeley);

·      Golden Gate Fields, spanning the cities of Berkeley and Albany;

·      Richmond Field Station, a site currently owned by the University of California.

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  • DL

    Golden Gate Fields should be used for something that the public can enjoy along the seashore. Public parks, athletics, recreation, cafes, waterfront restaurants, art, music. Keep LBNL out of the tsunami inundation zone!

  • Charles_Siegel

    As I have said, I think the Wareham site is best. It is on a transit corridor, and it is on a commercial street that needs to be revitalized by the additional people the lab would bring.

    The other sites are auto-dependent and have no nearby retail. They would have a greater environmental impact and would be less convenient. Think about lots of people driving to lunch each day, rather than having some nearby restaurants they can walk to.

  • I agree. Golden Gate Fields (Where the Bay comes to play!) can obviously do whatever they want with the land (within zoning restrictions) but putting a lab there seems like it would be a waste of some lovely shore-front property.

    Don’t forget, every Sunday is Dollar Day, where parking, admissions, programs, hot dogs, beers, sodas and more are just $1 each!

  • It’s too bad BART doesn’t come closer to any of the proposed locations. I wonder if LBL will set up some sort of shuttle-bus system to ferry employees to and from BART.

  • TN

    LBL already has a shuttle bus system that ferries staff around its various facilities and to BART.

    Its facility in West Berkeley was served this way. But I think it is now similarly served by the privately operated local shuttle.

  • Cool! Glad to see them make it easier for employees to use public transportation.

  • biodieselrabbit

    The Richmond Field Station seems to make the most logical sense at first glance since it is already owned by UC Berkeley and has more than sufficient space for growth. It would also be great to see that parcel and area revitalized for science progress but may be beneficial to consider the other sites through further inspection.

  • Mike Farrell

    Some day I hope the railroad right of way has an electrified commuter rail component.
    It’s so freaking obvious, but the railroads only want do move freight.
    Not in my lifetime, I’m afraid.