Friday, February 25, 2005

Restrictions Eased in HQ RFP

Contra Costa Times readers may have been the only ones in the state to receive the latest news this morning on plans for the permanent headquarters of the California stem cell agency.

Reporter Sandy Kleffman said Daly City, San Diego and Sacramento were among cities “monitoring” the committee meeting on the specifications for the headquarters, which are scheduled to be issued formally on Feb. 28 with a decision by May.

She also wrote:

“As they debated what to include in their list of preferences, committee members sought to avoid the perception that they had pre-selected a site by making requirements too restrictive.

“The initial draft of documents said preference would be given to locations within 45 minutes of four or more leading universities or research hospitals. It also said weight would be given to sites with a nearby pool of at least 25,000 biomedical professionals, as long as the majority of them were not engaged in the production of medical devices.

“But some people complained that this left too many cities out of the running. So committee members decided to simply give preference to cities near major universities and a biomedical talent pool, without specifying numbers.

“Preference will also be given to cities that can provide space for major stem cell conferences and that have ready access to Sacramento by plane, train or car. Institute leaders said their staff members will communicate frequently with state officials and they want to minimize travel time.”

draft RFP also contained a provision that the HQ should be within two hours of the state Capitol. A technical reading of that would bar San Diego, given that it takes more than two hours from the time you enter the San Diego airport to arrive in Sacramento because of the need to clear security. It is not known whether that provision remains in the RFP.

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