Schematic design from the August presentation of Aquatic Park West second campus site, one of three with Berkeley footprints

Cities and developers eagerly awaiting a decision on the second campus for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are going to have to wait a little longer. When the lab announced its program to find a second campus, the choice among the six shortlisted sites — three with footprints in Berkeley — was scheduled for this month. Today the lab announced it expected the decision in early 2012.

“We have been working diligently over the past months since announcing our list of finalists,” said Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos in the lab’s notice of the delay. “We need a bit more time to fully evaluate our options and to confer with stakeholders in order to arrive at the best possible decision.  We have a number of excellent options before us. Our goal now is to complete this phase of the process and announce a preferred site as soon as we can.”

“We had really good responses with a lot of data that we have to evaluate,” said Jon Weiner, spokesman for the lab. He said it was both the volume of information and the complexity of the decision that led to the longer timeline for decision.

The original request for qualifications from the University of California, which runs the lab for the Department of Energy, yielded 20 applications. This was winnowed to six in May. The six shortlisted sites are Alameda Point, Berkeley Aquatic Park West, Brooklyn Basin in Oakland, Emeryville/Berkeley, Golden Gate Fields (which spans Berkeley and Albany), and Richmond Field Station.

Vocal campaigns have been mounted for the second campus in Alameda and Richmond in particular. The city of Berkeley, with three sites in its borders, did not campaign for any one of the sites. Although the lab pays no taxes — a point of contention for the small number of critics who spoke at public meetings in Albany and Berkeley — city economic development departments see the second campus as a powerful magnet to attract technology businesses and to foster spin-off companies from lab research. The scientists on staff are also a source of spending for local restaurants and retailers.

Berkeley Lab holds meeting for Emeryville/Berkeley site [08.09.11]
Live from Berkeley Lab’s Aquatic Park West meeting [08.04.11]
Live from Berkeley Lab’s Golden Gate Fields meeting [08.03.11] 
Berkeley sites for Lab’s second campus in spotlight [08.03.11]
Berkeley bids for Lab’s second campus fly under radar [07.15.11]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...