Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Much of the construction work for the massive expansion - which will double the size of Genentech's plant

Biotech bonanza jointly praised

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer TheReporter.Com

Ten years ago this month, the ink was just beginning to dry on the city's initial agreement to bring Genentech to Vacaville.

Tuesday night, the final steps were taken amending the city's development pact with Genentech to expand the biotechnology giant's Vacaville facility to 950,000 square feet.
It's been a long, rewarding road, said City Manager David Van Kirk.

"It's a partnership we started 10 years ago and it just seems to keep growing and getting better," Van Kirk said during Tuesday's regular meeting of the Vacaville City Council, which unanimously approved the development agreement amendment.

Much of the construction work for the massive expansion - which will double the size of Genentech's plant - is under way. In December 2003, the council approved the actual expansion. Tuesday's action memorialized the incentives granted to Genetech for continuing to develop its land in the Vaca Valley Business Park.

Clint Holdsworth, Genentech's director for Vacaville facility services, said the ceremonial final beam being used in the expansion construction will be laid into place Tuesday, just hours after ground breaks on Kaiser Permanente's new hospital just down Vaca Valley Parkway.
Mike Palombo, the city's economic development director, said that when Genentech first came to Vacaville in the mid-'90s, the company promised to grow here if things went well.
Palombo said the expansion, which will make Genentech's Vacaville plant the largest of its kind in the world, demonstrates that things have gone well.

Holdsworth said the company is currently licensed to produce four products in Vacaville. More will be on the way once the expansion is complete - all in order to improve human health, he said.

"These are clearly exciting times for Genentech, and we hope also for Vacaville," he said.
Mayor Len Augustine said the speed with which Genentech's roots are digging into the Vacaville landscape is exciting.
"I've driven by there a few times and I can't believe the progress that's been made out there," Augustine said.

While many of the incentives may look like the city is "giving them the farm," Councilman Chuck Dimmick said it's important to understand just how much Vacaville will get back from the relationship with Genentech.
"What this company will bring to Vacaville far outweighs what we're paying out right now," he said.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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