Friday, November 4, 2011

Checking the List Twice for Berkeley Lab

The decision-makers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are undoubtedly finalizing their selection of the location for the Lab’s second campus.  They are expected to make their decision by the end of November.

Looking over the list of features that all the short-listed applicants offer, I noticed Alameda has some unique advantages.

Economic Sense –Setting up shop at Alameda Point would allow the University of California (the operator of the Lab) to save money (the land is free) while preserving the land it already owns in Richmond for other university programs.

Vigorous Planning for the Future The Navy has announced it will transfer 918 acres to the City of Alameda at no cost to aid in economic development of the former Naval Air Station.  The Department of Defense has awarded Alameda $225,000 to prepare an economic development strategy for Alameda Point.  A detailed transportation strategy for Alameda Point has already been prepared.  The Lab would break ground around the same time as the Veterans’ Clinic. 

Opportunities for Synergistic Growth The Lab would benefit from the additional small businesses and manufacturing facilities that come to Alameda Point as a result of specific development incentives the federal government is offering:  

SBA Hub Zone - Alameda Point is a qualified Hub Zone, giving federal contracting preferences to small businesses that obtain HUB Zone certification.

LAMBRA - The Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area provides numerous tax incentives for companies that locate at Alameda Point.

Foreign Trade Zone - Alameda Point is designated a Foreign Trade Zone, wherein no U.S. Customs duty or excise tax is levied on imported/exported merchandise.

Partnership Growth Potential — High quality research and development office space is already available at nearby Marina Village for companies that want to provide supplies or services to the Lab or develop and market products invented at the Lab.

√ Proximity to Airport — Closest location to the Oakland Airport where visiting scientists and scholars will often arrive.  

The Bottom Line — Electricity costs are substantially lower and greener than in the surrounding areas.  Alameda’s utility portfolio is typically over 80% clean and renewable, derived from geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, landfill gas, and solar facilities.  Alameda is the lowest greenhouse-gas-emitting community in Alameda County and one of the lowest in California.  An ideal fit for the Lab as it compliments the Lab’s goals of inventing the future of energy.

After checking the list twice, the decision to choose Alameda Point for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s second campus should be an easy one for the Lab to make. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Update on Second Campus Selection Process Presented to Berkeley Lab Community Advisory Group

On Thursday, September 22, 2011, the Community Advisory Group for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab received an update on the selection process for the Second Campus.  Here is an excerpt from a report published in Richmond Confidential:
"In Simon’s summary, Richmond had three major advantages – the land, the welcome from the city, and enough room to accommodate a possible 3,000-foot structure. Some sites, including both in Berkeley, lack room for the larger building.
"But he noted several drawbacks: the Richmond Field Station is relatively far from the main LBNL campus, there is bad traffic along 580, and UC Berkeley might have to find a new home for the programs currently occupying the site.
"In Simon’s presentation, Alameda’s site had very similar advantages and disadvantages: the city wants the new campus, is offering the land – part of the Alameda Point former Naval Air Station — for free, and has room for the large building. Alameda has proposed its own additional development along the waterfront, but the site, like Richmond’s, is also relatively far from the main LBNL campus."
Conceptual drawing showing Berkeley Lab Second Campus
at Alameda Point next to Enterprise Park.
Seaplane Lagoon is in the background.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sea Level Rise Not A Big Issue For Alameda Berkeley Lab Site

Proposed Berkeley Lab site at
Alameda Point.  Red area is Phase 1.
According to a September 23 news article in the Alameda Journal, the Lab expressed concern about the potential impact of sea level rise on the proposed Alameda site.  A look at the coastal sea level rise maps prepared by the Pacific Institute suggest that sea level rise at the proposed Lab site at Alameda Point would be minor and easily addressed.  One way to address the issue would be to reorient the layout of the Lab site, something city negotiators have flexibility to do.

There are other reasons that sea level rise will not likely undermine longterm planning for the Lab in the dock area of Alameda Point:

WETA maintenance and admin building (approved). 
> The Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA) will soon be constructing a maintenance building and dock directly adjacent to the Lab site.  They've already looked into this matter.

> The US Maritime Administration has a long term contract with Alameda to dock their Ready Reserve ships at the dock next to the Lab site.  This corner of Alameda Point would be on a high priority list to receive funding should there ever be a need for sea level rise geotechnical work.

As for the Enterprise Park area on the southern waterfront adjacent to the proposed Lab site, under the worst case scenario this would become wetlands and marsh.

The Alameda Point site is essentially at the same elevation as the Richmond Field Station, one of the other finalists in the Lab Second Campus selection process.  You can view and navigate the Richmond/East Shore area by going to this Pacific Institute map.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore Makes the Case for Bringing Berkeley Lab to Alameda Point

Alameda is offering the land for free, giving the lab 45 acres of prime shoreline property with unobstructed panoramic bay views. While the Richmond field station, another site finalist, is already a part of the University of California's real estate portfolio, our offer allows UC to retain its Richmond asset for future development.
Third, the lab can control the pace of development, as the project unfolds and funding becomes available -- something only a public landowner can provide.
Excerpt from Friday, September 23, 2011, Alameda Journal My Word commentary.