Cities Enter Bids To Become Headquarters of Stem Cell Institute
California cities on Wednesday submitted proposals to the state Department of General Services to become the headquarters for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the Sacramento Bee reports (Mecoy, Sacramento Bee, 3/17).
The Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, established by Proposition 71, will hold public hearings on the proposals before choosing between the cities on May 6. ICOC Chair Robert Klein and Vice Chair Ed Penhoet in a joint statement encouraged cities to post their bids on Web sites to allow the public full access to the proposals (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17).
An ICOC subcommittee will consider recommendations by DGS and visit sites before making a recommendation to the full committee (Hall/Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).
According to the Union-Tribune, "All the proposals that have been disclosed so far offer a range of amenities" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17). Cities were asked to provide proposals that included at least 17,000 square feet of office space, sufficient parking, meeting facilities, accessibility to airports and other research institutions in the general vicinity, at little or no cost for a decade (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).
A bid submitted by Los Angeles would provide rent-free office space for four years with negotiable rent thereafter and $1 million in foundation grants for administrative startup costs, among other perks such as occasional private jet service.
Under San Diego's proposal, a real estate company would donate office space including rent free-of-charge, utilities, upgrades and janitorial services for 10 years. San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy called the city's proposal a "remarkable effort in philanthropy," adding, "We just felt that this was a very important statement to make. San Diego is the life-sciences center of America, and we are going to do everything we can to keep us on the map" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17).
The city of Sacramento and the Angelo Tsakopoulos family made a bid that is valued at $7.3 million and includes rent-free offices, parking free-of-charge and conference space, according to the Bee. The offer also includes up to $800,000 for tenant improvements. Bob Burris, Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization deputy director, said, "This is going to be the new epicenter of activity for life sciences. It will dramatically increase the visibility of any area that gets this headquarters operation" (Sacramento Bee, 3/17).
A number of other cities also submitted proposals.
Bay City Council CEO Jim Wunderman said, "Collectively, I don't think there is any comparison between the Bay Area and any other regions. We've got more [biotech] companies, we've got more history, we've got more research institutions, we've got the venture capital."
Matt Bender, a spokesperson for DGS, said he could not identify specific cities entering bids (Johnson, San Jose Mercury News, 3/17).
Zach Hall, interim president of CIRM, said, "Any number of locations would be suitable for this site. But we are delighted to see that we are so desirable. This process has elicited a wonderful outpouring of civic pride and competition" (Sahagun/Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 3/17).