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BioMarin submits plans for San Rafael expansion

BioMarin submits plans for San Rafael expansionThe BioMarin pharmaceutical company, which already occupies a sizeable office complex in downtown San Rafael, is poised to expand into the old 3-acre Pacific Gas and Electric Co. property on Third Street.

The company, which develops drug therapies for rare genetic disorders, has submitted conceptual design plans to the city for a 62-foot-high office building and separate five-story Vivalon senior center and housing complex at 999 Third St.

The plans, submitted by Los Angeles architects Johnson Fain and San Francisco architects Van Meter Williams Pollack, call for the BioMarin office building to front on Third Street, with the Vivalon building to sit on the west end of the property at Brooks Street.

If approved as presented, Vivalon would relocate its “active aging” center from its current spot at 930 Tamalpais Ave. at the downtown SMART rail station to the new location. The new building, developed under a partnership with Eden Properties, would include 54 units of senior housing on its top three floors and program rooms for yoga or other activities on the bottom two floors, said Yvonne Roberts, Vivalon’s development and marketing director.

“We won’t have our administrative offices there — we’ll probably just rent office space elsewhere,” said Roberts, adding she was “very excited” about the new building. “We want to have all that space for programs and activities.”

BioMarin spokesperson Debra Charlesworth said PG&E completed environmental cleanup and soil testing at the site last summer, allowing BioMarin to take possession of the property late last year.

“Demolition on the remaining building on the property is in progress and scheduled for completion by mid-February,” Charlesworth said in an email last week.

She noted that the state Department of Toxic Substances Control “is analyzing the results (of the soil tests), and should have a completed analysis in the next few months.”

PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said in an email that the utility company was not involved with BioMarin’s redevelopment plans but will “continue to monitor groundwater conditions at the site for several years to confirm the effectiveness of cleanup activities. BioMarin is responsible for the removal of on-site buildings and any cleanup of soil beneath those buildings.”

The former PG&E building is wrapped in protective covering to contain any dust or debris that could be shed during the demolition.

BioMarin occupies several buildings in the San Rafael Corporate Center area at Lincoln Avenue and Second Street in downtown San Rafael and numerous laboratories and manufacturing facilities in the Bel Marin Keys area of Novato.

The company also is “considering options” for constructing an office building at 755 Lindaro St. in San Rafael, Charlesworth said. The city granted approval for the company to build there in 2015.

BioMarin acquired ownership of the San Rafael Corporate Center campus in 2014 and is the sole owner and the largest tenant at the campus, where it maintains its corporate headquarters.

Roberts said she was told the next step in the new proposal would be a design review study session, likely in February.

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