BERKELEY, CA-The halt in development in Berkeley has sparked a massive growth spurt for the neighboring City of Emeryville, which sports a population of 7,300, covers just 1.2 square miles.

Since the 1970′s, Emeryville has been open to all sorts of development, including office, retail and industrial, while its neighbor, Berkeley, placed harsh restrictions on development. Until the 1990′s though, nobody paid much attention.

Over the past 10 years however, the city’s general budget has increased from $11 million to nearly $26 million as more and more businesses have moved in to take advantage of the city’s development-friendly attitude.

The city has attracted firms like software maker Siebel Systems and biotech company Chiron, which in turn has sparked retail centers, tripling Emeryville’s sales tax revenue. Moreover, several new projects are expected to further boost the city’s economy.

Emeryville’s latest addition, the Bay Street shopping center, opened up this month next to the IKEA store. The brand new complex includes 400,000-sf retail and entertainment space, a 230-room mid-rise hotel, a 16-screen Cineplex, 284 apartments and 82 town homes. The $110 million project, developed by Madison Marquette, is expected to bring between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs to the city and $2.1 million in annual tax revenue.

In addition, Pixar, the famous animation company, which occupies a 400,000-sf campus in the heart of Emeryville plans to bring two new animation facilities, totaling 200,000-sf, to Emeryville’s Park Avenue, and Chiron is considering development of a new biotech lab on Hollis Street.

According to city officials, Emeryville owes its newfound success to the choosy ways of Berkeley, which fueled Chiron’s decision to build its lab in Emeryville. Chiron’s master plan includes a 14 building complex, containing over two million sf of research and office space, will be completed over the next three decades. The company plans to expand its existing campus within the next few years, bringing a new biotech lab to Hollis Street. The details of the expansion are not available but Emeryville officials say that it will be a significant growth for Emeryville.

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