City of Richmond Gains Momentum as a Top Finalist for Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL) New Research Institute

Richmond, California (EastBayDaily) — Anticipation is growing in the City of Richmond as the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) continues to move forward with the site selection process for its second campus. The University of California, Berkeley-owned Richmond Field Station, one of LBNL’s remaining candidate sites, is being recognized as a shoreline campus location that would inspire researchers to continue to develop innovative energy solutions for the 21st century and beyond. The University of California, Berkeley has developed a Campus Concept Plan for this facility situated along San Francisco Bay that “presents a vision for a new research campus that embraces the existing unique and successful partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). An initial campus would combine an LBNL Energy and Life Sciences research cluster, and the existing UC Berkeley Engineering research cluster, on University-owned properties in the Richmond, California southern waterfront area.”

Meanwhile, Richmond city officials are enthusiastically sporting buttons that announce: I Heart LBNL. “We’re looking forward to making Richmond the ideal home for LBNL’s second campus and understand the positive economic impact that it would have on the Richmond community,” says City Manager, Bill Lindsay, a Haas Business School alum. “The natural beauty of the Richmond Field Station speaks for itself, and the city will do everything in its power to streamline the process for the developer and welcome the campus into the community.”

The facility will eventually accommodate up to two million gross square feet. These combined research and development clusters are expected to accelerate innovation, technology transfer, and commercialization, while creating jobs. Final selection for the Richmond Field Station developer is expected by early July and final selection of the site from among five other site locations being considered by LBNL is expected in early winter.

From its 32 miles of walkable shoreline trails to its revitalized downtown center, Richmond is a city on the rise, thanks to its competitive leasing rates, enterprise tax incentives and appealing amenities. Richmond already hosts a number of green and applied science businesses including LBNL spinoff Alion, Heliodyne, PAX Water, MBA Polymer and recently acquired Sunpower. And it’s attracting more.

“Moving to Richmond from San Francisco is the perfect fit for our company and our workforce,” says William ‘Billy’ Morrison site director of Hoefer, a division of Harvard Bioscience. The company, which manufactures gel electrophoresis equipment for testing DNA, scoured the Bay Area before settling on a location in Richmond and will relocate in early fall. “Cash is king and Richmond’s real estate prices were the most competitive. But even more important, the majority of our employees live in the East Bay and will now have a much easier and less expensive commute with nearby access to BART and I-580.”

Richmond’s village-like communities are also in motion, re-tooling neighborhoods street-by-street. Downtown revitalization efforts have spawned growing merchant associations and green-tech industry clusters. With a top Richmond site in contention for LBNL’s new second campus, the view is looking very good from Richmond.


Susan Ditz


Sue Kadlec