Thursday, November 20, 2003

Genentech given approval to expand

November 20, 2003

Genentech given approval to expand

By Kevin Clerici/Reporter Staff

Genentech, one of the world's leading biotech firms and one of Vacaville's largest employers, would be allowed to more than double the size of its current facility under an amended development plan approved Tuesday.

The endorsement by Vacaville's Planning Commission positions the giant drug manufacturer to expand its roughly 427,000-square-foot biopharmaceutical facility off Interstate 505 and Vaca Valley Parkway.

Although no formal expansion plans have been submitted to the city, Genentech has the property that would enable it to increase floor space to some 950,000 square feet.

The South San Francisco-based company owns some 96 acres in the vicinity.

In addition to the added space, Genentech would be allowed to increase the building height from 70 feet to 98 feet.

"This sets the stage for expansion," said Ron Rowland, Vacaville's deputy city manager.

Rowland presented an illustration that indicated new buildings would be built on the north and south sides of the existing facility.

As a condition of a new deal, any expansion plans would have to comply with land-use regulations of the nearby Nut Tree Airport, officials said.

"You (Genentech) are an important part of this community," Commission chair Chuck Dimmick said, speaking to company representatives in the City Hall audience. "I would love to see you grow. This is a real plus for Vacaville."

Genentech came to Vacaville in 1995, inking an initial development agreement that called for development of up to 661,000 square feet.

Today, Genentech is a leading biotech company with 12 protein-based products on the market for serious and life-threatening medical conditions and numerous projects in the pipeline, officials said. It is one of Vacaville's top 10 employers, with some 600 people, Rowland said.

Besides Genentech, Vacaville is home to other successful life-science companies, including Alza, Chiron and Large Scale Biology Corp. Alza employs roughly 700 people, a city employment survey found.

Kevin Clerici can be reached at

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