Baylands touted as clean-tech epicenter

A major landholder in Brisbane hopes to take the Baylands, with its history of garbage, from the dirty to the clean.

Universal Paragon Corp., which owns the Baylands — the 660-acre site between Brisbane, Daly City’s Cow Palace and Highway 101 — wants to market the development of the region to the clean-tech industry. Brisbane could be the hub of clean technology akin to what South San Francisco is to biotechnology.

The clean-technology industry develops services, products and processes that reduce environmental impact, efficiently use natural resources and lower costs to businesses while enhancing performance.

Universal Paragon wants to develop up to 5 million square feet of commercial retail, office, hotel and light industrial development on 175 acres of the eastern portion of the site.

In addition to the Baylands development, Universal Paragon has a proposal to bring a 400-room resort and just as many luxury condominiums to Sierra Point.

The development company presented its idea to the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, city officials and other business interests at a luncheon July 24.

During the presentation, Jonathan Scharfman, the land development director for Universal Paragon, pointed to the ultimate decline in the availability of fossil fuels as well as the high level of pollution and growing business markets in countries like China and India as evidence for the potential growth of clean technology.

“I see this as a tremendous and deep market for U.S. knowledge, goods and services,” Scharfman said.

He said Brisbane facest competition from San Francisco in attracting clean-tech companies.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for Brisbane to step up” and become the center of the clean-tech industry, Scharfman said.

Maureen McEvoy, a senior account executive with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, applauded the presentation and the idea but said she thought there was enough business in the clean-tech sector to not try and limit it to one community.

“At the end of the day, I’d like to see enough go around to all of our communities,” McEvoy said. “If it starts here, great. If it expands, even better.

“Yes, it’s the Baylands in Brisbane, but it’s the San Francisco Bay,” she added.

dsmith@examiner.com

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