Biotech proposal for Sierra Point dwarfs space in Brisbane

A proposed research and development facility by Slough Estates on Sierra Point would dwarf existing facilities in Brisbane.

Intermune, which occupies one-third of the approximately 180,000-square-foot Brisbane Technology Park, is the largest biotechnology company in the small north county city, city officials said.

The proposed facility at Sierra Point Parkway and Shoreline Court includes 540,185 square feet of research and development space in five buildings, 2,500 square feet of retail and 1,799 parking spaces, some of which would be in a six-level parking garage.

Slough Estates U.S.A., which couldn’t be reached for comment on the project, has built a number of such facilities just to the south in South San Francisco’s industrial area — the birthplace of biotechnology.

“This would be the biggest in the city and really the first one anywhere near its size,” said Bill Prince, Brisbane’s community development director.

Tonight, the Planning Commission will review a draft environmental impact report of the proposal, and while most impacts were shown in the report as “less than significant or mitigated,” the perceived transportation impacts to northbound U.S. Highway 101 and other segments of the highway were seen as “significant and unavoidable,” a city staff report said.

The zoning out on the 22-acre Sierra Point site only allows office space, and if the project were to go through, an amendment to the General Plan would needto be approved to permit research and development uses, including limited animal testing, Prince said.

There were some concerns with bringing in an increased biotech presence to Brisbane because of proper management and inspection of the facilities that utilize some animal testing, Prince said.

He added the city was trying to work with Slough Estates and other developers — there’s potential for another hotel to go across the parkway from the development site — to bring some enhanced public space to the small peninsula.

City officials said it wasn’t an active recruitment effort by the city to bring in more biotechnology inside their borders, but a “logical extension” north from South San Francisco.

“It’s a very logical extension of all that stuff that’s in South City,” Mayor Steven Waldo said. “[The property] has been there a long time and we’re looking forward to having that site developed.”

Randy Ackerman is the vice president of Opus West, the developer for landowner Sierra Point LLC. He said it was a good opportunity for Brisbane to bring economic benefit and additional jobs to the city.

Sierra point

A proposed biotech facility on a 22-acre Sierra Point site would include:</p>

» 540,185 square feet of research and development space

» Five buildings

» 1,799 parking spaces, including a six-level garage

» 2,500 square feet of retail

dsmith@examiner.com

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