HANNAH HEINEMAN, Mirror Contributing Writer
Agensys, a biotechnology company focusing on the development of drugs to treat cancer, has been operating in Santa Monica since 1997 at several locations. The firm wants to combine all its operations by building a headquarters at 1800 Stewart Street.
The community got a first glimpse of Agensys’ conceptual plans at a meeting at Virginia Avenue Park on January 19 thanks to a presentation by Executive Vice-President Paul Cannon. The approximately 4-acre site currently contains two buildings that are approved for entertainment production use. Agensys would like to demolish those buildings and construct a 138,000-square-foot project for its administrative offices, manufacturing areas, and research and development facilities.
Project details include housing, parking spaces, and a public park between the site and Bergamot Station, with a mural on the headquarters’ side facing the Station. Agensys also plans to develop a Traffic Demand Management Plan and design its project to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified. Construction is aimed to begin in 2011 and be completed by 2012.
Agensys would like to enter into a Development Agreement (DA) with the City, which entails providing public benefits in exchange for being permitted to develop the project within certain parameters (such as height) that are outside of the of the City’s zoning standards.
A 24-hour light rail maintenance facility is going to be built across the street from the Agensys project. Community concern regarding the impact this project and other nearby proposed projects will have on traffic flow were brought up. The City’s Director of Planning and Community Development, Eileen Fogarty, tried to reassure the community that all the proposed projects will be evaluated on a cohesive scale.
Community members were worried about how hazardous waste would be disposed of by the facility. Agensys explained that this waste would not be taken to the City yards but instead would be processed by vendors off-site.
The next step after this meeting will be for the City’s Planning Commission and City Council to decide whether they want to work with Agensys on a DA. The Planning Commission will review the project in February. Santa Monica’s lead planner for the project, Brad Misner, explained that they have been working closely with Agensys to ensure that their project complies with many of the elements described for new projects in the City’s Draft Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE).
Contact Hannah Heineman