Novato makes plans to expand the biotech campus

Novato makes plans to expand the biotech campus

Novato is looking to increase its status as a North Bay biotech hub as part of a proposal that could double the footprint of its life sciences campus near the Bel Marin Keys.

The city’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors have continued to expand since 1997 at the Novato Industrial Park, home to companies such as Ultragenyx, BioMarin, Sutter Instrument, Karuna Corp., Raptor Pharmaceuticals, and Marin Biologic Laboratories.

City officials and a group of companies have been working since 2016 to plan further expansion on the 200-acre campus along Highway 101 northbound near Ignacio Boulevard. A proposal that is expected to be presented to the City Council on May 24 would allow for larger and taller warehouses, laboratories, offices and production buildings than are currently allowed.

More than 22% of the industrial park, or approximately 575,000 square feet, is used by biotechnology and life science companies. The plan would allow for an expansion of 300,000 square feet in the industrial park and possibly up to 500,000 square feet if traffic problems can be resolved.

“This is great news for us because it recognizes that we are in a place where biotechnology and these campuses are taking off,” said Kirit Patel, director of business development at Marin Biologic Laboratories. “Encourage innovation and bring more people into the community as jobs will be created.”

The Novato Town Planning Commission voted unanimously on Monday to recommend the City Council approve the plan.

“We are uniquely located in Novato to truly welcome and promote this type of development,” said Curtis Havel, a member of the commission. “It’s an opportunity that I think benefits the city and is in a position that won’t have any significant impact on the environment.”

On Friday 13 May 2022, one of the Ultragenyx buildings stands at the end of Corte Leveroni in the Bel Marin Keys industrial park in Novato. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

City regulations limit the width and usable surface of company buildings. The plan would allow these companies to expand their footprint by creating more structures or taller buildings. The building height limits would be increased to 68 feet, with an additional 8 feet allowed for rooftop installments.

The city would allow for a maximum of 500,000 square feet of additional expansion with these larger developments. The plan would only cover the Hamilton and Ignacio sections of the industrial park. The southern section, known as Bel Marin Industrial Park, would not have been included due to its proximity to Los Robles Mobile Home Park.

However, city staff said the most realistic expansion limit would be around 300,000 square feet due to potentially significant traffic issues that could result beyond that expansion area.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.