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  • Writer's pictureVannesa Vasquez

In the News: Transforming the Bay Area: UC Berkeley, Foster City, and South San Francisco Lead the Charge in Innovation and Science

Innovation Unleashed: South San Francisco's Terminal Court to Become a Life Sciences Powerhouse

South San Francisco is on the brink of a major transformation with the development of the Terminal Court Research Campus, a groundbreaking project set to convert the former Golden Gate Produce terminal into a cutting-edge hub for innovation and life sciences. Spearheaded by Steelwave, with design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and landscaping by Carducci Associates, this ambitious project at 131 Terminal Court aims to erect six buildings offering 1.7 million square feet of leasable area, alongside ample parking solutions including two nine-story garages and additional surface spots, totaling 3,049 stalls.

With a vision to provide 2.4 million square feet dedicated to research and development, the campus aspires to become a beacon for life sciences companies. The tallest building within the campus will stand at approximately 113 feet, contributing to the area's dynamic skyline. The initiative underscores South San Francisco's commitment to fostering innovation, with the draft Environmental Impact Report currently open for public comment.

Steelwave's acquisition of this site and an adjacent property for $85 million sets the stage for further development, including a two-building life science campus at 101 Terminal Court. This related project will feature a 669,014 square foot R&D complex with additional amenities aimed at enriching the campus environment. The comprehensive development plan highlights the city's evolving role as a key player in the biotech and life sciences industry.

Foster City Embraces Innovation: Gilead Sciences to Expand with a New R&D Building

Foster City's planning commission recently gave the green light to Gilead Sciences, Inc., for the construction of a new research and development building within its campus at 331 Lakeside Drive. The approved project involves replacing an existing office structure with a 190,000 square foot, five-story building dedicated to life science research laboratories and office functions. Designed by Gensler with landscaping by Petersen Studio, the building is part of the Gilead Master Plan campus, spanning 72 acres in Vintage Park.

The new R&D facility aims to foster innovation in medicine development, featuring laboratory suites, research equipment spaces, biological material handling areas, and collaborative workspaces. The design also includes a "Research Quad," intended to enhance local ecology with drought-tolerant native plants and support a diverse pollinator community, despite incorporating some non-permitted plant species.

Wendy Gifford, Gilead's VP of Corporate Engineering, Facilities, and Operations, emphasized the company's longstanding contribution to Foster City and its commitment to advancing life-saving medical research. The planning commission's approval marks a significant step for Gilead in continuing its mission, with the decision standing unless appealed to the city council. This development not only underscores Gilead's role in the community but also highlights Foster City's support for scientific advancement and job creation.

UC Berkeley's Bold Leap: An Innovation Zone to Transform Downtown Berkeley

UC Berkeley has announced a groundbreaking plan to create an "innovation zone" in downtown Berkeley, aiming to cement its status as a leading center for scientific research and development. This ambitious project includes the construction of two large laboratory buildings, offering a combined 486,000 square feet of advanced research facilities, with a spotlight on genome engineering. The development, covering nearly two acres close to campus, involves the demolition of several university-owned properties, including two landmarked buildings currently hosting small businesses.

Scheduled to start by the end of 2024, the project is part of Berkeley's strategic effort to expand its research footprint, complementing other life sciences developments in West Berkeley. The innovation zone will feature an eight-story North Building, primarily for the Innovative Genomics Institute led by Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna, and a yet-to-be-defined South Building. Despite the loss of historical structures, UC Berkeley is committed to providing relocation assistance to affected businesses and conducting an environmental impact study.

Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson has proposed rezoning to encourage more research and development spaces city-wide, aiming to retain startups and jobs within Berkeley. This initiative reflects a broader vision to transform Berkeley into a dynamic hub for scientific research, balancing university-led development with city-wide growth and opportunity.

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