Navy building to become clean-tech hub

An abandoned Navy warehouse is slated to be overhauled and reopened as a clean-tech incubation campus and local United Nations Global Compact headquarters.

The incubator would be established in southeast San Francisco as part of an effort to woo and foster job-providing companies operating in emerging environmental fields.

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced in July that the U.N. Global Compact would build an 80,000-square-foot clean-tech campus by 2012 at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, which is at the heart of sweeping redevelopment plans for the 702-acre site.

But the construction plans were never funded and were later nixed.

The Global Compact and emerging clean-tech companies will instead occupy a shipyard warehouse after the 260,000-square-foot, 62-year-old Building 813 has been restored and overhauled, according to Michael Cohen, Newsom’s chief economic development adviser.

The Global Compact is a decade-old joint venture between the United Nations and many of the world’s largest companies that focuses on issues of business and sustainability.

Clean tech is a broad and fast-growing sector that includes companies working in fields that help improve water and air quality and other environmental conditions.

Municipalities worldwide are competing to attract clean-tech companies and the diverse jobs they provide.

San Francisco has worked in recent years to attract such companies. A San Francisco Redevelopment Agency-funded study recently found that the shipyard is a prime location for a clean-tech incubator.

“The City has a high concentration of information technology, materials science, life science and financial services knowledge and industry — and this is powering the growth of clean-tech enterprises,” agency staff wrote in a memo to commissioners, who are scheduled to vote today on the Building 813 proposal.

“A clean-tech incubator could catalyze growth of this emerging industry in San Francisco,” the memo said.

Clean-tech companies could lease small spaces in the environmentally conscious campus and enlarge their digs as they grow, Cohen said. They could graduate to other shipyard buildings after outgrowing the incubator.

Reusing the robustly constructed warehouse will help accelerate the development of a clean-tech campus at the shipyard and avoid demolition of a sound building, according to Cohen.

“We’d like to see construction of the building start in a year or so,” Cohen said. “We’re looking at whether we can phase construction to start with the first floor, which could make it available sooner.”

A $7.5 million federal grant will provide initial funding for the $35 million project, redevelopment documents show.

 

Various fields in clean-tech sector

•Renewable-energy technology and generation
•Energy storage, including fuel cells and advanced batteries
•Energy efficiency and insulation
•Transportation
•Water treatment and conservation
•Air pollution emissions control
•Material sciences
•Advanced packaging and manufacturing controls
•Natural pesticides and aquaculture
•Waste recycling and treatment

Source: Cleantech Group

jupton@sfexaminer.com

businessHunters Point Naval ShipyardLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

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