OAKLAND -- With a setting sun over the Oakland estuary as the backdrop, city leaders made their pitch for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to build its new, secondary campus adjacent to Jack London Square.
Touting the location's numerous transportation links, its spectacular views and, most important, its approval for development, Oakland officials told leaders of the laboratory Wednesday that their best chance for a successful project is at Brooklyn Basin.
"It can be ready a year before any other site," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said. "We've looked at your other sites but this is the most beautiful site, this is the only site on which you can grow."
Oakland is one of six cities chosen by the laboratory for its planned expansion, which will consolidate a scattering of leased lab and office space currently spread among three cities from West Berkeley to Walnut Creek.
The laboratory wants a new campus to complement its overcrowded headquarters in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus. The new facility, dubbed LBNL 2.0, would include about 2 million square feet and must be located within a 25-minute commute from the headquarters.
The lab received dozens of proposals when it first sought ideas for a new location and selected six sites as finalists. In addition to Oakland, the laboratory is considering proposals from Alameda, Richmond, Albany, Berkeley and Emeryville.
Oakland officials said Thursday that building a second laboratory along the shores of the estuary will provide scientists the best opportunity to both further their research and their lives.
Along with Quan, City Council President Larry Reid and Councilmember Pat Kernighan spoke of Oakland's burgeoning dining scene, its diversity and its ease of access, from an Amtrak station just a walk away from the proposed laboratory site to an airport just a 15-minute drive away.
Most important, officials said, was the proposed site's previous approval for development, which took several years to gain.
Oakland is proposing the laboratory be built as part of the Oak to Ninth housing development that was first presented to the council about a decade ago but was delayed as the housing market crashed.
Oakland Harbor Partners, developers of Oak to Ninth, agreed to give up 25 acres of its housing project for the new laboratory. Mike Ghielmetti, president of Oakland Harbor Partners, said Wednesday that the acreage would provide enough space for the laboratory to be constructed as a true campus.
"We can accommodate all the lab's needs," he said. "We have all the required entitlements."
Oakland's presentation was the third pitch heard by laboratory officials. Three more presentations are scheduled for next month, after which the laboratory will select its preferred site.
Jim Krupnick, chief operating officer for the lab, said he hopes a location decision will be made by November. He thinks construction should begin by 2014.