Company looks up for Foster City expansion plans

Up seems to be the popular direction for buildings to go in Foster City lately, and the city’s largest company, Gilead Sciences, is following suit.

The 10th-largest public company in the Bay Area plans to double the square footage of its 17-building Foster City campus in the next 10 years. Though plans are preliminary, the company hopes to replace several of its lab and office buildings with taller buildings, some as tall as eight to 10 stories, Foster City Project Planner Kohar Shirikian said. If approved, the project would expand the campus from about 600,000 square feet to 1.2 million square feet.

The project is one of several developments the city is considering, a fact that has some worried about the seemingly rapid growth. It has several steps to go before it goes to the City Council for approval.

About 1,200 employees work in the Foster City offices, a figure the company expects to expand to about 3,000, said Leslie Carmichael, the city’s community development director.

“The cons of a project like this is of course the impact to traffic,” Carmichael said.

But the development will also bring more property taxes into the city’s coffers, as well as bring more people to local businesses, she said.

“Gilead is a major employer for the city, they have made major contributions to the economic well being of the city, and we would like them to stay,” she said.

But some find the series of rapid-fire growth projects alarming.

“We already have 27 buildings going up in town, and I think that’s scary,” said Linda Haskins, a resident who has been attending city meetings to keep tabs on growth.

“I mean, we like Gilead, certainly, but there are a lot of community pieces, like school districts and sewers, that need to fit together to make all this growth work,” she said.

kworth@examiner.com

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