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BioMarin San Rafael planned expansion with senior housing clears design hurdle

BioMarin San Rafael planned expansion with senior housing clears design hurdleA proposed expansion of the BioMarin Pharmaceutical campus and creation of a senior housing center in downtown San Rafael cleared a crucial design hurdle Tuesday night, gaining conditional approval.

The Design Review Board voted unanimously to support the project at 999 Third St. It is set to have two 70-foot-tall, four-story BioMarin research and development buildings on a currently vacant lot of just over 3 acres.

The expanded BioMarin facility would include combined office and laboratory spaces on the ground floor with three stories of laboratory spaces above.

The project would also include and a 67-unit, 70-foot-tall, six-story building with a senior center and affordable senior housing. That would be built on about one-third of an acre.

The Whistlestop healthy aging campus would cater to low-income seniors, or those over age 62 who earn less than 60% of the area median income.

BioMarin made an in kind donation of $1.2 million to Whistlestop though a land exchange, handing over the 15,000 square foot parcel valued at $2.6 million in exchange for property at 648 Lindaro street in San Rafael owned by Whistlestop valued at $1.4 million according to Jennifer Golbus, marketing strategist at Whistlestop.

The planned housing would be a mix of one-bedroom and studio apartments. Also included are a community room, a courtyard, a computer center, exercise room and other amenities.

Golbus said an environmental review is ongoing that is expected to be completed in the fall. She added the San Rafael City Council is projected to approve the project by year’s end and the facility is expected to open in 2021.

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