Ambitious plans to build a major research facility on Richmond’s waterfront took a significant step forward last week after the UC Board of Regents signed off on a proposal to expand collaborations between UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and private industry, according to UC Berkeley.
The proposal includes bringing “sorely needed employment opportunities to surrounding communities,” the university said in a statement Thursday, a factor that is very important to Richmond-area residents.
The regents last week approved the Long Range Development Plan and environmental impact report, a “major hurdle of unpredictability” for the 5.4 million-square-foot campus, project development manager Terezia Nemeth said in the statement.
Last fall, Richmond was chosen out of 20 cities to be the future home of the research facility, known as the Richmond Bay Campus. The research center, located on land already owned by the University of California (at 1301 S 46th St.), will reportedly bring in more than 800 jobs along with millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city.
Horst Simon, Berkeley Lab’s deputy director, told regents last week the shared campus site would be a “beacon of inspiration” in the region and beyond.
Due to federal budget cuts, however, the Lab lost $130 million in funding for the first phase of construction. But all the partners involved remain committed to identifying funding and following through on the project, the university said.
“Berkeley Lab officials continue to see a long-term need for expansion of their facilities, and have affirmed their ongoing commitment to partner with UC Berkeley in creating the Richmond Bay Campus,” the university’s stated.