Monday, November 17, 2003

Genentech asking for room to expand

November 17, 2003

Genentech asking for room to expand

By Kevin Clerici/Reporter Staff

Genentech, the world's No. 2 biotech firm and one of Vacaville's largest employers, is asking the city of Vacaville for an additional 300,000 square feet of expansion space.

The request, if granted, would position the giant drug manufacturer to expand its roughly 427,000-square-foot biopharmaceutical facility off Interstate 505 and Vaca Valley Parkway.

At this time, the South San Francisco-based company has not filed an application to enlarge its local operation.

"This simply gives us the option to consider future growth," spokeswoman Amy Gartner said Friday.

Gartner added that Genentech has a "strong relationship" with the city.

"We are absolutely pleased with our decision to locate (in Vacaville)," she said.

In addition to the added space, Genentech wants the ability to increase the building height from 70 feet to 98 feet, planning documents show.

Vacaville's Planning Commission will consider the amendment request Tuesday. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall Chambers, 650 Merchant St.

Genentech came to Vacaville in 1995, inking an initial development agreement that paved the way for development of up to 661,000 square feet on roughly 100 acres.

Now, the company wants 950,000 square feet and a higher building height.

Vacaville is home to some of the largest and most successful life-science companies, including Genentech, Alza, Chiron and Large Scale Biology Corp. City officials have made it no secret they would like to see the companies expand. Genentech is one of Vacaville's top 10 employers, with some 600 people. Alza employs roughly 700 people, a city employment survey found.

"We are always interested in expansion for a company like that," Economic Development Manager Michael Palombo said. "This (amendment) makes it easier for Genentech to do something in the future."

Genentech is a leading biotech company with 12 protein-based products on the market for

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