Genentech to unveil 10-year plan

In the next 10 years, city officials hope Genentech’s complex east of U.S. Highway 101 will develop “true campus style” into something offering attractive architecture and public amenities.

When Genentech brings its next 10-year master plan to the city next month, a “key concern” to the city, senior planner Mike Lappen said, was an effort to bring a “fresh look” to the area through architecture, access to the Bay and public squares, among other attributes.

A focus while developing the master plan would be to turn “an area that was a warehouse area into something that has a lot of amenities that not only the employees but the public can feel good about,” Lappen said.

This shouldn’t be a problem for the biotech behemoth that rivals United Airlines as the largest employer in the city, employing 9,000.

Genentech spokeswoman Caroline Pecquet said the campus like environment is part of their corporate culture and aim to create a sense of community for employees.

“We feel like we already have a campus like environment,” Pecquet said.

Founded in one South City warehouse in 1976, Genentech now occupies 124 acres of a research and development district but plans to increase that to 160 acres over the next 10 years. Square footage for research and development would expand from 2.8 million to more than double that, at nearly 6 million square feet.

The additional 3.2 million square feet will include office, research and development, amenities buildings such as day care centers, manufacturing space and parking garages.

Lappen said the city also has the same general concerns about the 2006 master plan as it did about Genentech’s 1995 master plan: water, sewage and traffic.

“We just don’t want a repeat of what happened at Oracle,”Lappen said, referring to the dot-com-era traffic jams that used to result on the company’s Redwood City campus. “We want to make sure we can handle it,” he added.

Vice Mayor Rich Garbarino said this was all just part of the city’s historical progression from a “rough and tough cattle town” to an industrial city to the “city of innovation and research.”

“I see [the area east of 101] as an opportunity for growth,” Garbarino said. “We’re going to do it right and do it tastefully.”

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