After careful consideration, officials at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have whittled the list of locations for its coveted second campus down from 21 potential sites to six finalists. And they are:
1. Alameda Point: Who could resist an offer of a large tract of free land just begging to be developed? The strong bid by the city to redevelop the former Naval Base surely earned it a right at the finalist board.
2. Berkeley Aquatic Park West: Up near the West Berkeley entrance into Aquatic Park is a tract of underdeveloped land. This site, along with a number of plots around it, could serve as the new home for the campus. The site being named a finalist comes at a convenient time, as the Berkeley City Council is currently considering rezoning the district to allow for more expansive projects of this nature.
3. Brooklyn Basin: One of the four bids from Oakland, this site is part of a 64-acre waterfront development by Signature Development Group and Reynolds & Brown.
4. Emeryville/Berkeley: Emeryville is surely the Palo Alto of the East Bay, so its inclusion on the short list is obvious. The Emeryville City Council has by and large supported high-tech development, and there is infrastructure and land in place to accommodate the campus. It would also include land in West Berkeley owned by Wareham Developers, which is spearheading the project.
5. Golden Gate Fields: Right now it's a horse track, but the large iconic stadium along the Bay in Albany could well be transformed into a bustling tech hub.
6. Richmond Field Station: Last but certainly not least, this site is already in the hands of UC Berkeley, which means free land for the lab if its selected. The site was also considered about five years ago when the lab first considered expanding.
East Bay cities as far as Dublin and Walnut Creek placed bids for the second campus, which will surely bring hundreds of high-paying jobs and serve as an incubator for high-tech spin-off — not to mention that scientists like good grub, a boon for local retail to boot. Officials were concerned with a number of criteria, among them proximity to the main lab in Strawberry Canyon, access to public and alternative transportation, and potential to accommodate future growth.
The grand finalist is expected to be announced by November 2011, with occupancy by 2016 .