Biotech biz booming in South City

Opportunity for the biotech industry in South San Francisco is growing.

Several companies are poised to build new office parks or expand current operations, according to city officials.

The largest known project comes from Shorenstein Properties and SKS Investments, which has a memorandum of understanding with South San Francisco to improve 34 acres of waterfront property at Oyster Point.

The overall project would include the creation of a 2 million-square-foot life sciences campus containing laboratories and offices at the marina.

The 20-year plan to develop the land is in its early stages, but the overall proposal from the developers fits the city’s economic goals for the future, according to Mike Lappen, South San Francisco’s economic development coordinator. An environmental review of the project has already begun, he said.

In addition to the Shorenstein/SKS development, improvements that the city would contribute to the area that would benefit Oyster Point and the city-owned marina property would cost approximately $16 million, according to Marty Van Duyn, the city’s director of economic development. The investments would include street improvements, site remediation and marina improvements, he said. The money would come from redevelopment dollars expected to be repaid from increased revenue generated by the Shorenstein/SKS development, Van Duyn said.

When city council members approved the memorandum of understanding in May, Mayor Karyl Matsumoto was the one dissenting vote. She told The Examiner she felt the city should use its redevelopment funds elsewhere in South San Francisco, while encouraging the Shorenstein/SKS to still develop the land at Oyster Point they had purchased.

Steve Shanks, an associate with SKS, said the company is continuing to work on the plans and would be available to further discuss the project as more information became available.

The concept plan for the development would also connect it to a planned $51 million ferry terminal at the Oyster Point Marina.

Construction on the ferry terminal was launched in October with an official groundbreaking attended by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, Assemblyman Jerry Hill and members of the South San Francisco City Council. Dredging of the marina to allow for the larger commuter crafts is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 30. Ferry service to and from Jack London Square is anticipated to start in 2011, according to the state’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which projects that roughly 1,000 riders daily would use the ferry by 2025.

“It absolutely will help the overall area and serve business out of the East Bay with improvements that are going on at the ferry terminal,” Lappen said, adding that the expansion of the existing Oyster Point business park from Shorenstein Properties and SKS Investments will contribute to the expected use of the ferry terminal.

Additionally, a pharmaceutical company located on Shoreline Court in South City, one-half mile from Oyster Point, is also looking to expand its current space.

Actelion Pharmaceutical, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Switzerland, plans to expand operations at its South San Francisco office at 5000 Shoreline Court, according to real estate representatives for the company. The company has purchased the 138,000-square foot building it currently occupies and, as other tenants vacate, will expand from the 50,000 square feet they currently occupy.

Additionally, real estate development firm Chamberlin Associates is also looking to redevelop 300,000 square feet of office space on Gateway Boulevard for biotech purposes, Lappen said.

“The biotech industry is growing,” Lappen said. “And we are lucky we are a part of it.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

 

Big plans for the future

New developments in South San Francisco are expected to have a significant impact on the city’s economy.

$51 million
Anticipated cost of planned ferry terminal at Oyster Point

34 acres
Oyster Point Business Park and Oyster Cove Marina

2 million sq. ft.
Proposed life science and office space campus for site

403,917 sq. ft.
Flex/industrial space currently on site

235 berths
At Oyster Cove Marina

100,000
Daytime/work population of South San Francisco

1,000 riders
Daily anticipated ferry ridership by 2025

Sources: City of South San Francisco, Shorenstein, Water Emergency Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Harbor District

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