Two finalists employ advertising campaigns to compete for second LBNL campus

Both Alameda and Richmond will do just about anything to be chosen as the location for the second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, including displaying billboards and lawn signs all over their cities to make for stronger advertising campaigns.

The lab will be building a second campus to complement its original campus up in the Berkeley Hills, and the cities are two of six finalists that are competing for the top spot, after a seven month search that began in January. Approximately 20 percent of the lab’s facilities are situated across Emeryville, Berkeley and Walnut Creek — the future 2 million-gross-square-foot campus will consolidate these facilities, which include the Joint Genome Institute, the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Life Sciences Lab.

Other than Alameda Point in Alameda and Richmond Field Station in Richmond, the four other site finalists include Brooklyn Basin in the city of Oakland, Golden Gate Fields in the city of Albany, Emery Station in the city of Emeryville and the Aquatic Park in the city of Berkeley — all chosen in May, according to lab spokesman Jon Weiner.

Alameda is hoping that they will be given this opportunity to host the campus at the former naval base at Alameda Point, using about $20,000 from city funds, according to Jennifer Ott, deputy city manager.

“We believe we offer the right kind of balance in terms of existing amenities,” Ott said. “Within the community, our ad campaigns are being utilized, and staff and developers have talked to local citizens – there is a grassroots effort to gain momentum for the lab.”

On the other hand, Richmond has had a long term vision in mind for some time, what Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay believes is consistent with the lab’s overall scheme for the second campus.

“We have been trying to get the word out on why Richmond would be good community and we have a billboard space on Interstate 80,” Lindsay said. “It’s really been a long term process, starting with general plan and zoning to accomodate the use.”

As the competition heats up between the cities, the first of six public meetings will kick off tomorrow at the Auctions by the Bay Theater in Alameda. The lab will make its final decision for the site in late November.