South City aims to win biotech race

Residents and business owners in the Industrial City should expect continued growth next year despite challenges from other metropolitan areas to attract biotechnology away from South City, the birthplace of the industry.

Mayor Richard Garbarino, in his State of the City speech to local business leaders Tuesday, said the success of local biotech companies like Genentech, Amgen, Exelixis and Elan has other cities and metro areas gunning to attract biotech business.

Garbarino said he and other council members attended an international biotech conference several weeks ago in Boston. They went in with a simple message focusing on South San Francisco as the “hub of the biotech industry,” he said.

The mayor said that in Boston the group sought to differentiate itself from its more glamorous cousin to the north, San Francisco, hinting at a growing rivalry. South San Francisco has made plain its desire to attract business from the high-priced markets in The City, and major developments at Oyster Point and on Sierra Point in Brisbane are being discussed.

“Biotechnology began and flourished in South San Francisco, not in San Francisco as [Mayor] Gavin [Newsom] would have you believe,” Garbarino said to laughs Tuesday.

In a previous interview, Council Member Karyl Matsumoto, who accompanied Garbarino to Boston, said a more difficult challenge was separating South City from San Francisco in the minds of businesses, which might consider South San Francisco a portion of the City and County of San Francisco.

“They see us as the southern tip of San Francisco,” Matsumoto said.

At the luncheon Tuesday, Garbarino said city staff was working with a biotech consultant to develop a survey for biotechnology and life science companies. The resulting report would summarize the economic benefits of the biotech cluster in South San Francisco, he said.

Additionally in his speech, the mayor spoke of a “stabilizing” hospitality industry expected to generate $250,000 more this year from transit-occupancy tax, a tax on hotel rooms, than it did the previous year. Revenues from other areas like sales tax, franchise fees, property taxes and building and fire permits were all estimated to increase for the second year in a row.

dsmith@examiner.com


How can South San Francisco attract business?

Share your comments below.

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A lab worker from the Medical Examiner’s Office was arrested with an evidence bag of methamphetamine in August. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Audit over lab worker meth arrest finds medical examiner is missing drugs

An audit of the Medical Examiner’s Office prompted by the arrest of… Continue reading

City officials argue that the dominance of a few third-party delivery services gives them disproportionate leverage against restaurants. (Courtesy photo)
Cap on food delivery app fees may remain until indoor dining allowed at full capacity

Proposal seen as financial relief for restaurants struggling in pandemic

A voting station will be open in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown from Oct. 31 until Nov. 3 to let residents drop off ballots and provide assistance to SRO residents. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown voting station to help SRO residents make their voices heard

In a bid to boost voting access for single-room-occupancy tenants in Chinatown,… Continue reading

Public observation pier at the new Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline.
New regional park officially opens next to Bay Bridge toll plaza

The East Bay Regional Park District opened a new shoreline park Wednesday,… Continue reading

Most Read