Building gets going on ‘brownfield’ site

Genentech’s expansion is well under way.

A 27-acre, 784,000-square-foot business park, “Britannia East Grand Park,” for research and development is under construction on the old O’Brien Corporation property, a “brownfield” site that held a paint manufacturing facility and later a hazardous waste storage and management company. Half of the new office development on East Grand Avenue, built by developer Slough Estates, is expected to be available for the biotech giant by the end of this year, according to a spokeswoman with the company.

Genentech, one of the county’s largest employers, currently owns 43 buildings and leases five others in the area, and the project will add eight buildings to their lease total, spokeswoman Caroline Pecquet said.

When the project is completed it is expected to generate $4.5 million annually in property and payroll taxes for South San Francisco.

Because the project includes a day-care center, however, the developer is required by the California Department of Toxic Substances to seek public comment on the cleanup and remediation plans. The comment period extends from July 1 to Aug. 15 for concerned citizens to present their views.

In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a soil remediation plan for the site’s previous owner, Cherokee San Francisco, that included asphalt and concrete capping of contaminated soil to prevent exposure and excavation and disposal of more contaminated soil, as well as the backfilling of those excavated areas, according to Department of Toxic Substances documents.</p>

The entire brownfield site was put under a deed restriction limiting the land use to industrial or commercial, but the current owners of the property, Slough Estates, bought it and began developing it into a business park with a day-care center. They have conducted investigations into the levels of soil contamination and cleaned up further, meeting the environmental standards set by DTSC for unrestricted land uses.

The revisions to the plan would allow the day-care center to be built at the property’s northwest corner and include the installation of a methanemitigation system in the southwest portion of the property where methane gas concentrations were found in the soil.

Those wishing to comment should contact the DTSC at (916) 255-3649.

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