Bayer HealthCare will hold its second virtual community meeting Wednesday evening on proposed changes to the company’s West Berkeley campus that, if approved, would see the site add 651,000 square feet of work space, erect taller buildings and potentially hire 1,000 more employees.
The series of meetings aims to address any questions neighbors might have as the pharmaceutical company’s 30-year development plan works its way through the city of Berkeley’s review process.
The plan would tear down older or underused buildings, consolidate new buildings into four big “blocks,” and add six more acres of green and open space for workers to bike or walk around in. The plan would also move many of the site’s parking lots underground, including under buildings, and add green space along both Dwight Way and Seventh Street that could be used by passersby.
Bayer hopes to make these changes by building upward, not outward. Certain parts of the campus are allowed to grow to up to 80 feet tall, but the company has said the current lines of sight will be preserved.
At the first community meeting, on Sept. 23, Bayer representatives pitched the development plan as a project that would improve the neighborhood for everyone, not just the company’s employees. A planned plaza on Seventh Street would be for employees and neighbors, said Jennifer Cogley, Bayer’s deputy director of community relations.
Many attendees’ questions focused on environmental impacts — like water use, solar energy and native plantings — that Bayer’s representatives said would be better answered at tonight’s meeting.