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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Genentech Development in South San Francisco

New Colors for Old Paint Factory

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Phase 1 of "Britannia East Grand" Facility is underway, to be completed in 2008.

A new biotechnology campus will rise where a decrepit century-old paint factory once stood in South San Francisco, thanks to a recent RCRA brownfields agreement. California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reached a prospective purchaser agreement (PPA) with Genentech, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, to create an innovative 27-acre expansion of Genentech’s existing corporate campus. The PPA allows new construction while requiring that the known environmental contamination at the site is appropriately addressed to protect construction personnel as well as future occupants at the site.

Property Use and Cleanup History

W.P. Fuller and Company originally ran a paint and coatings manufacturing business at the site beginning in 1898. Paint manufacture resulted in extensive problems with lead in soil and in the former San Bruno Channel. The O’Brien Corporation, a paint manufacturer, purchased the site in 1967 and managed

Project benefits will include:
  • 784,000 square feet of new development with eight combined laboratory/office buildings, a fitness center, a childcare facility and two parking structures.
  • Jobs for an additional 1,800 to 2,000 highly compensated biopharmaceutical employees, further enhancing the Bay Area’s growing biotech industry base
  • Increased property and payroll tax revenues, currently estimated to be an additional $4.5 million per year
  • Millions of dollars infused into the local economy in construction costs for the tenant improvements
  • Substantial sales and use tax revenues
  • Considerable aesthetic benefit from the clearing away of abandoned industrial buildings from a beautiful stretch of coastline
hazardous wastes in drums, tanks and surface impoundments. O’Brien conducted closure of various RCRA units under the oversight of DTSC and EPA.

Genentech cleanup site

The site of the former O'Brien paint factory was industrialized since the turn of the twentieth century and was built on industrial fill.

Initially, EPA assumed supervision of corrective measures for the soils under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authorities, but since 2000, DTSC has held full regulatory lead at the site. Cherokee Investment Partners purchased the site in 1999 and commenced cleanup in preparation for redevelopment. The site was subsequently purchased by Slough SSF, LLC in 2000. Cherokee will complete the RCRA corrective action for groundwater, including assessment of contamination and any necessary cleanup. Slough will conduct all needed operation and maintenance activities, provide any financial assurances, and enter into a land use covenant to restrict most portions of the site to commercial use. Slough is constructing the facilities in phases over the next four years, and has contracted with Genentech for a mult-year long-term lease with an option to purchase. Genentech is expected to begin occupancy in late 2006.

drawing of Genentech campus

Artist's rendering of Genentech's new research campus, which will have two new parking structures and eight research and development buildings

The northwest corner of the property that had only limited industrial use is designated for a future childcare facility. This area has undergone extensive investigation, which included sampling and a health risk screening evaluation. DTSC has required that significant amounts of soil are removed and backfilled with clean soil in this location. After these actions are completed, DTSC has concluded that this area will be safe for use as a childcare center. For the property as a whole, site stabilization and cleanup included removal of contaminated soils where feasible and design of measures to protect future occupants and construction workers from areas of contaminated soil which are impractical to excavate. These protective measures include a carefully designed site management plan and placement of additional imported clean soil. In addition, a methane venting system may be installed at selected areas if warranted by further investigation. Although the property is deemed safe for occupancy, deed restrictions will be required to limit future property use to commercial. Upon completion of the remediation at the site for the childcare center, the deed restriction will be modified to allow for its construction. DTSC will continue oversight of all protective measures at the property.

What is a brownfield?

 leanup equipment at Genentech site

Corrective measures for soils were conducted in 2000. Approximately 16,000 cubic yards of soil were removed.

A brownfield is a site, or portion thereof, that has actual or perceived contamination and an active potential for redevelopment or reuse. Traditionally, state programs have taken the lead for environmental cleanup and land revitalization efforts under their “State Superfund,” Voluntary Cleanup and Brownfields programs. Recently, EPA and states also have achieved brownfields successes through Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) programs.

More Information

Ms. Wei Wei Chui (WChui@dtsc.ca.gov) of DTSC
(510) 540-3975

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