About 700 residents packed into the Richmond Auditorium to help convince lab representatives that this city is in the midst of a turnaround, and urge them to build their planned second campus here.
The new campus, which is expected to accommodate more than 800 workers and generate more than $200 million in spending impacts, is the first project in recent memory to unite all corners of the city in support.
Richmond leaders took advantage of its town hall meeting, a requirement for each of the six finalists, to tout the city's successes in luring green industry and restoring local landmarks such as the Richmond Plunge.
"We really are a city in transformation," Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said, "and we think that's why we're such a great fit."
Residents, many wearing brightly colored T-shirts announcing their union, corporate or nonprofit affiliations, cheered their way through an hour of presentations from lab and city representatives.
Some residents, such as Eleanor Thompson, have lived in the city for decades, and are weary of seeing children and grandchildren off to field trips at the Berkeley Lab.
"I want them to have something to be proud of right here," Thompson said.
Cathy Koshland, vice provost of facilities at UC Berkeley, also spoke in support of the Richmond site.
Earlier this month, the university selected SKS Investments, a San Francisco firm, as the developer for the Richmond Field Station, which the University of California already owns.
The city hosted a kind of pep rally ahead the meeting with local performers, free food and a greeting line of young "police explorers" in uniform.
It all seemed to make the desired impression. Lab Director Paul Alivisatos began his presentation on the Berkeley Lab's accomplishments by telling the crowd he was "awestruck" and "humbled."
The city has also rolled out banners, buttons and even a billboard off Interstate 80 as part of its charm offensive.
Lab representatives expect to make a choice by November and begin construction in 2014.
Contact Hannah Dreier at 510-262-2787. Follow her at Twitter.com/hannahdreier.
Each of the six finalists are holding receptions. Alameda hosted its event
Schedule of upcoming town halls:
Brooklyn Basin: 7-
9 p.m. July 27, Jack London Aquatic Center, 115 Embarcadero, Oakland.
Golden Gate Fields: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Aug. 3, Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany.
Aquatic Park West: 7-9 p.m. Aug. 4, Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St., Berkeley.
Emeryville/Emery Station/Berkeley: 7-9 p.m. Aug. 8, Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park Ave., Emeryville.